Model-based optimal and robust control of renewable hydrogen gas production in a fed-batch microbial electrolysis cell

Muhammad Zia Ur Rahman, Mohsin Rizwan, Rabia Liaquat, Victor Leiva, Muhammad Muddasar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Microbial electrolysis cell (MEC) is a fundamental type of bio-electrochemical system. MEC is a novel and emerging renewable energy technology that is based on biomass. The behavior of the MEC system is highly nonlinear due to the complexity of its dynamics. For the desired optimal production of hydrogen, feedback control of MEC processes is necessary. Due to the novelty of MEC, limited research is available on its control. Studies on linear model-based robust control of MEC processes are missing. In this article, we develop a nonlinear dynamic model for MEC, linearize this model, and calculate a linear time-invariant transfer function. Based on this linearization, a fixed-structure, optimal and robust controller is proposed to achieve a fast-settling time exhibiting no overshoot and having zero steady-state error. The robustness of the developed controller is evaluated for parameter uncertainty, measurement noise, and disturbance rejection. Batch biomass processes are fed only at the start of each process cycle. The output does not follow the desired response when the substrate or biomass is consumed. Then, the error accumulates, and it causes the control effort to increase unboundedly. The existing literature on control of fed-batch MEC processes does not consider this integral windup phenomenon. In this article, we also develop an anti-windup control strategy to eliminate the integral windup error and to avoid any possible instability or destruction. The overall conclusion of our study is that the developed robust controller achieves a faster and more robust response than the existing controllers. We provide an anti-integral windup solution to eliminate windup errors in feedback control of fed-batch MEC processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30685-30701
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number79
StatePublished - 15 Sep 2023


  • Fixed structured controllers
  • H Control,non-smooth H Optimization
  • Microbial electrolysis cell
  • Renewable energy
  • Robust control


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