This paper presents results on performance limitations for direct fired coal power plants. A specific feature of this system is the existence of a very large input delay between one of the inputs, namely coal flow, and the two outputs, load and vapour pressure. This problem motivates the main theoretical question addressed in this paper: To examine tracking performance limitations in one process variable when another process variable is constrained. Our main result makes explicit the performance trade-off between the two conflicting objectives, and also links the achievable performance to the delay structure of the plant. These results give insights into the benefits of MIMO control for power plants and into the necessary trade-off between fast tracking of load step changes and the need for minimizing the variations of the vapour pressure around its nominal value. The results provide a benchmark against which practical controller designs for power plants can be assessed.
17th World Congress of the International Federation of Automatic Control. Proceedings of the 17th World Congress of the International Federation of Automatic Control (Seoul, Korea 6-11 July, 2008) p. 8437-8442