Challenge of the PSC2015

In a production facility for oleo chemical products, a pretreatment step is used to condition raw feed oils for downstream processes.

In a two-step distillation process, light ends and heavy ends are removed using two columns.

two-step distillation process in CHEMCAD

During the change from one feed oil to the other, the process leaves the steady state condition. The conditioned oil produced meanwhile does not achieve the downstream process requirements and must be recycled or discarded.

Minimize the changeover time in CHEMCAD

Thus, production time, energy and feed are wasted during the feed change. Minimizing the changeover time reduces these losses.

PSC2015's goal is to find optimal trajectories for the operation parameters in order to minimize the changeover time for a given feed change and with given product specifications in a defined two-step distillation process.

Find the entire process and a more detailed description of the challenge in our scientific paper!

Read the Blog to get the latest information on the competition!

 

Download the summary of the task here.

Download Summary

 

Download the scientific paper here.

Download Paper in German Download Paper in English Download Paper in French Download Paper in Spanish Download Paper in Italian Download Paper in Polish Download Paper in Japanese

 

Download the CHEMCAD flowsheet here. 

Download Flowsheet

 

Download CHEMCAD here.

How the CHEMCAD Job interacts with MS-Excel

The CHEMCAD Job is set up in a way that the dynamic calculation ends automatically when all product specifications are met. The decision variables can be controlled via the Data Map “Design Variable Control”. To open the Data Map MS-Excel file in CHEMCAD, go to the menu Tools -> Excel Data Map -> Edit Data Map.

Select “Open” for access to the ramp parameters. Change the values in the green cells. To run the simulation, go back to CHEMCAD and klick the “Run Dynamic Simulation” button.

Process Simulation Cup 2015 - MS-Excel parameters for CHEMCAD flowsheet

If the run terminates successfully, the product changeover time is transferred back to MS-Excel. The parameters that you enter in the web interface will be processed in the same way. Thus, be careful not to change the original simulation file, as you might get different results which cannot be reproduced by Chemstations.

Make a copy of the original simulation file to play around with and to get a better feeling of the dynamic process behavior. In your copy, deactivate the Data Map function for editing the parameter directly in CHEMCAD via menu Tools -> Excel Data Map -> Execution Rules.

To determine the winner of the Process Simulation Cup, the parameters you specify are run on a Chemstations server and in our original simulation file. The parameter set which leads to the shortest changeover time wins. In the case where the same changeover time is calculated, Chemstations will reduce the simulation step size to determine a more accurate changeover time.

Be aware of the plant constraints! Runtimes (minutes) in which the available condenser duties are exceeded (3 MW and 0.5 MW as described in table 4 of the scientific paper) are added to the final changeover time ("penalty minutes").

Important Dates

27 February 2015: Soft-Launch of the PSC2015 at the Symposium Teaching Process Simulation in Berlin

1st day of each month, 00:00:01 (UTC/GMT+1): Monthly winner of the past month gets a certificate for the best result

5 February 2016, 23:59:59 (UTC/GMT+1): Submission closing day for PSC2015.

19 February 2016: Award Ceremony at the Computer-Aided Process Optimization Symposium

26 February 2016: Launch of the PSC2016 at the Symposium Teaching Process Simulation in Berlin

 

Submit your Design Variables

The parameter set which leads to the shortest changeover time wins.

Rules of the Process Simulation Cup

All competitions have rules, here are ours:

  1. All contestants must use the CHEMCAD Suite software to optimize their process.
  2. If your university/ college does not have CHEMCAD Suite, Chemstations sponsors an Academic Program offering this software free of charge. Request a trial license here.
  3. The competition is open to all full and part-time students studying a science, technology, engineering or math related subject at the graduate or post-graduate level enrolled in a recognized university/ college. Employees of Chemstations and their families are excluded from the competition. High school students are admitted upon request.
  4. Submitted design variables must be submitted via the Process Simulation Cup website and include full name of contestant and of their university/ college.
  5. To determine the winner of the Process Simulation Cup, the parameters you submit are run on a Chemstations server and in our original simulation file. The parameter set which leads to the shortest changeover time wins.
  6. If more than one contestant submits parameters which lead to the shortest changeover time, the earliest submission is the sole winner. The winner may notify us via email. if he/ she has worked on a team with another contestant who has submitted the same result. In this case each team member will get a personal certificate but only one prize will be awarded.
  7. Chemstations reserves the right to declare the contest void if the submitted parameters do not fulfill eligibility requirements.
  8. All entries will become the property of Chemstations.
  9. The winner will be announced on the Process Simulation Cup website, including the university/ college. Chemstations reserves the right to publish or distribute the winning parameters and photos of the winners, the runner-up and their supervising or advising faculty member through any electronic and physical form.
  10. The winner must present their work at the Computer-Aided Process Optimization Symposium in English. Non-attendance implies renunciation of the prize.
  11. If a team submits a winning entry, no more than two of the winning team’s members will attend the Computer-Aided Process Optimization Symposium.
  12. If required, the student(s) and their supervising or advising faculty member are responsible for their own visa arrangements, but the cost of the visa(s) will be reimbursed by Chemstations.
  13. There will be no financial or monetary rewards of any kind.
  14. For situations not covered herein, Chemstations will rule, considering as top priority, equal opportunity of winning for all participants. All decisions of Chemstations are final. By participating in the competition, contestants accept and will be bound by these competition rules.
  15. This competition is void where prohibited by law.

FAQ

As often as you like. All your submissions will be recorded in the highscore table. Maybe not as an overall highscore...

No. Participation is individual. You may work together on the optimization task and each team member can submit your (the same) result under his name. In case you win, each team member will get a personal certificate.

We will limit this rule to a maximum team size of 2. Drop us a note if you really need an exception from this rule.

Should more than one person qualify for a prize, we will conduct a very, very challenging interview with all persons in parallel to find out if you really came up with identical results independently.

We want to minimise abuse. We will manually check for authentic human beings.

No. Chemstations support is available for our customers only. And it would be unfair to give hints to participants of the contest.

Use Tutorials and Videos on Chemstations website to learn how to use CHEMCAD.

Use Tutorials and Videos on Chemstations website to learn how to use CHEMCAD.

Yes, of course! Play with it, enhance it, drive it to the limits. But bear in mind that you may only submit the design variables we ask for, not your modified job.

No. We feel it is fair to students to limit the contest this way. But we will publish your solution in the high score table "out of competition" - so please register!

Yes. Request a free CHEMCAD trial for your University and we will contact you with the details.

The problem has several local optima. Revealing the design variables gives very valuable information to participants about other participants' solutions. For the time being, we are not disclosing the design variables of each participant.

Penalty Minutes are added to the changeover time. Please check the Submit Design Variables page or the My Account page to see changeover times and Penalty Minutes for the design variables that you previously submitted.

The plant has constraints. Runtimes (minutes) in which the available condenser duties are exceeded (3 MW and 0.5 MW as described in table 4 of the scientific paper) are added to the final changeover time as "Penalty Minutes".

Rule 3 of the Process Simulation Cup states that the challenge is open to students. We have proactively received answers from engineers who do not qualify for the contest - these are mentioned as taking part outside of the competition.Try to find these variables - and you will be the winner!

The University name must be unique to be able to count participants in the university category. Therefore, we manually review the data you enter upon registration and correct it. After our correction, it can not be changed any more.

Register as Participant

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The PSC2015 has ended!

PSC2015 was the first edition of the Process Simulation Cup.

It has ended on 5 February 2016. The highscore table is still available here.

The second edition of the Process Simulation Cup has started. Have a look at PSC2016!