A DRL agent was trained on a cut-down AVEVA Dynamic Simulation of the MEG separation column and subjected to a large variety of normal and upset conditions from the point of feed loss hand-over from procedural automation, stabilizing the column in total reflux automation and restarting the column upon re-introduction of feed while also minimizing the unit s energy usage. The resulting agent was rigorously tested on a version of the Operator Training Simulator and compared to operator benchmark data. The agent s performance was, in the majority of cases, highly satisfactory and in some cases capable of maintaining the process in tighter control than the operator benchmark. The result of this project shows that DRL agents are an extremely promising addition to process control technology to bring safe, reliable, and repeatable operation during complicated events, thereby reducing the operator workload and the vulnerability to lost production.
Celine Thomerson, Principal Consultant, Simulation Delivery: Celine is the technical lead on the Scotford MEG Simulator project, logging over 700 hours working with MEG operators and operations engineer. Over the last 15 years, she has completed more than a dozen simulation project, provided training for panel operators and been a panel operator herself. The simulation projects include both engineering studies and operator training simulators. She earned BS and MS degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Houston.