Challenge of the PSC2017

Biogas can be fed to block-type thermal power stations (CHP) to produce heat and electricity required on-site the fermentation plant. Surplus electricity is exported to the national grid. This local usage of the biogas does not require expensive gas cleaning (see PSC 2016), but it has the disadvantage that the storage capacities for gas as well as for electricity are extremely limited. Hence, a control structure is required to handle surplus production of gas and limits in the intake capacity of the national grid.

In PSC2017, two possible disturbances to a steady state operation of the CHP’s are evaluated. Scenario 1 considers a slow but continuous increase in the fermenter's gas production while in scenario 2 a sudden shutdown of one of the three CHP’s is simulated. The goal is to optimize the controller settings so that the amount of gas sent to the flares is minimized (scenario 1) and an opening of the safety valve is avoided or at least kept as short as possible (scenarios 1&2).

In the reference case, all controller parameters have been left in their default setting (PB = 100% / TI =1 min / TD = 0 min). This leads to an accumulated loss of gas of 36.2 kg via the flares. The safety valve does not open at any time.

Find controller parameters so that even less gas must be burnt in the flares, but don’t forget to keep a look at the safety valve!



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Important Dates

3 March 2017: Launch of the PSC2017 at the Symposium Teaching Process Simulation in Berlin

1st day of each month, 00:00:01 (UTC/GMT+1): Announcing a Monthly Winner of the previous month.

16 February 2018, 23:59:59 (UTC/GMT+1): Submission closing day for PSC2017.

23 February 2018: Launch of the PSC2018 at the Symposium Teaching Process Simulation in Berlin with Award Ceremony of PSC2017

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 students only. Full and part-time students qualify for the 'Student Ranking'. All other participants qualify for the 'Practitioner Ranking'. 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 organisation (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 highest exergetic efficiency wins.
  6. If more than one contestant submits parameters which lead to the highest exergetic efficiency, 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. All winners 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 Award Ceremony in Berlin 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 Award Ceremony in Berlin.
  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.


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.

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