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Model based health monitoring of heat-exchangers in a pulp mill

Publicerad 2018-10-11

Om uppdragsgivaren
The Future Energy Center of Mälardalens University is one of Sweden´s strongest environments in process optimization targeting the process industry and the energy sector. We develop innovative solutions and tools within the areas of energy, building and environmental engineering.

The Future Energy Center has good relationships with both companies and recognized national and international centers, including several Chinese universities. The profile comprises nine professors, a further fifteen senior researchers and more than forty graduate students.

Beskrivning av examensarbetet
The pulp and paper industry converts cellulosic fibres, generally wood, recycled paper, and agricultural residues into pulp and various types of paper products. Depending upon the final product, a pulp and paper manufacturing operation can be divided into two entities: pulp mill and paper mill. Pulp mill and paper mill may exist within an integrated plant or as separate plants. Typically, the production of pulp from the raw materials take place in the pulp mill; while in the paper mill, the manufactured pulp is used to produce different paper products.

One of the important component of a pulp mill are heat-exchangers. Even though most process heat exchangers are installed with a margin of design heat exchange capacity, gradual fouling of the exchanger surfaces reduce the effectiveness of heat transfer, requiring more energy consumed and more heat rejected to the environment. In some cases, severe fouling can result in increased exchanger pressure drop reducing the capacity of the unit by reaching hydraulic limits of the pump in the loop and thus increases the power consumption.

Therefore, there is a acute need of health monitoring tool that will be able to give early warning about the maintenance requirement. Here, a model based approach will be develop within the scope of this thesis. Strong collaboration potential exists with the BillerudKörsnas- Gavle pulp and paper mill.

Thesis task
The theme of this thesis work lies within process modelling and model based diagnostics. At FEC, we work a lot with the mathematical modelling of pulp digesters and fibrelines. In this thesis, the focus will on the development of diagnostics oriented heat exchanger model. This includes literature study, developing mathematical model, analysing plant measurements, parameter estimation, model validation, sensitivity analysis etc. The preferred modelling tool will be open-source Modelica-based modelling and simulation environment OpenModelica. Finally, we want to know how this model can be used to health monitoring of the real life heat exchanger. Depending on the interest from the student Model Predictive Controller MPC development for the heat exchanger and controller performance analysis also can be included in this work.
This work will be a part of EU European Union funded Horizon 2020 project known as FUDIPO. Well known pulp and paper industry Billerud-Korsnäs, Gavle is one of the main partner of the FUDIPO project.
Previous experience with modelling tools like Dymola/ OpenModelica/ MatLab will be very useful but not mandatory. This will be a unique opportunity to get hands-on experience in process modelling and advance process control and diagnostics. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions. We are also very open to hear about your ideas.

Expected results
- The writing of a Thesis.
- Participation in writing a scientific article for a journal or a conference.
Practical information
Group size: 1-2 students Preferably 1
Credits: 15hp or 30hp
Duration: 10 or 20 weeks

Application procedure:
- If you are interested in the topic, please sent a short email to with explaining why you want to do this thesis and a list of programming tools that you have used before.

Moksadur Rahman
Högskoleplan 1 (Box 1020)


Future Energy Center at MDH


Sista ansökningdag

FUDIPO Website

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