Fault Detection and Fault Tolerant Control
A Portuguese space company has developed a system to enable performance improvement and reduction of Operation & Maintenance costs of dynamic systems based on advanced, proven Fault Detection & Isolation (FDI) methods and Fault Tolerant Control (FTC) methods. They are interested in commercial/manufacturing agreements with power plant and smart grid operators; wind turbine/electronic system manufacturers; control system developers for power plants or other of dynamic systems.
Innovations & Advantages
As the dynamics of the plant get degraded, the ability of a fixed controller (or Passive Fault Tolerant Controller - PFTC) to stabilize the system and yield superior levels of performance is diminished. As a consequence, controller reconfiguration is necessary at a certain degree of fault severity (Active Fault Tolerant Control - AFTC). In certain plants, a complete restructuring may be possible. For example, shutting down the entire system may be a solution in cases like wind turbines.
In case of reduced fault severity, the accommodation of the faults is, in general, preferable, as it allows for a smooth compensation. If, however, reconfiguration is necessary to attain the required levels of performance, it may be advantageous to switch to a low-performance high-robustness controller when a fault is detected and until it is isolated and identified. From that moment onwards, a high-performance reconfigurable controller is used. This leads to performance profiles where the detection of the fault and the switching to a high-robustness controller avoids severe performance degradation, while the isolation (or diagnosis) of the fault helps retrieve performance levels close to those of nominal operation. The rule of thumb adopted is that a controller can only be connected to the plant if it is guaranteed to render the closed-loop stable.