Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Chemical and Biomedical Engineering

Committee Chair

Fernando V Lima

Committee Co-Chair

Debangsu Bhattacharyya

Committee Member

Urmila M Diwekar

Committee Member

David J Klinke

Committee Member

Mario G Perhinschi


A biologically inspired optimal control strategy, denoted as BIO-CS, is proposed for advanced energy systems applications. This strategy combines the ant's rule of pursuit idea with multi-agent and optimal control concepts. The BIO-CS algorithm employs gradient-based optimal control solvers for the intermediate problems associated with the leader-follower agents' local interactions. The developed BIO-CS is integrated with an Artificial Neural Network (ANN)-based adaptive component for further improvement of the overall framework. In particular, the ANN component captures the mismatch between the controller and the plant models by using a single-hidden-layer technique with online learning capabilities to augment the baseline BIO-CS control laws. The resulting approach is a unique combination of biomimetic control and data-driven methods that provides optimal solutions for dynamic systems.;The applicability of the proposed framework is illustrated via an Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) process with carbon capture as an advanced energy system example. Specifically, a multivariable control structure associated with a subsystem of the IGCC plant simulation in DYNSIMRTM software platform is addressed. The proposed control laws are derived in MATLAB RTM environment, while the plant models are built in DYNSIM RTM, and a previously developed MATLABRTM-DYNSIM RTM link is employed for implementation purposes. The proposed integrated approach improves the overall performance of the process up to 85% in terms of reducing the output tracking error when compared to stand-alone BIO-CS and Proportional-Integral (PI) controller implementations, resulting in faster setpoint tracking.;Other applications of BIO-CS addressed include: i) a nonlinear fermentation process to produce ethanol; and ii) a transfer function model derived from the cyber-physical fuel cell-gas turbine hybrid power system that is part of the Hybrid Performance (HYPER) project at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). Other theoretical developments in this work correspond to the integration of the BIO-CS approach with Multi-Agent Optimization (MAO) techniques and casting BIO-CS as a Model Predictive Controller (MPC). These developments are demonstrated by revisiting the fermentation process example. The proposed biologically-inspired approaches provide a promising alternative for advanced control of energy systems of the future.