Application of multivariate virtual reference feedback tuning for wastewater treatment plant control

José David Rojas, Xavier Flores-Alsina, Ulf Jeppsson, Ramón Vilanova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this paper is to apply the Virtual Reference Feedback Tuning (VRFT) to Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) control strategies in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). Using the Benchmark Simulation Model No. 1 (BSM1) as a case study, the proposed data-driven approach provides reduced-order controllers only using a batch of input-output data points (i.e. manipulated variable-controlled variable), obtained from an open-loop experiment. The methodology also includes a pre-processing step that subtracts the impact of influent variability and sensor noise from the output signals. The possible interactions amongst different control loops are handled using a decoupling approach where each control signal is computed depending on the error signal of all the loops at the same time. In order to test the methodology, several control strategies are evaluated via simulation. The results show that substantial improvements in the plant performance can be obtained when controllers are implemented. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-510
JournalControl Engineering Practice
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2012


  • BSM1
  • Control of WWTP
  • Data-driven control
  • MIMO control
  • Virtual reference feedback tuning


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