Systems Theory and Automatic Control

Systems and Control Seminar in the Winter Semester 2014/2015

Application of Second Order Sliding Modes to Bioprocesses: Two Case Studies


Alejandro Vargas
Instituto de Ingeniería
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Time and Place

The seminar talk takes place on October 20, 2014 at 4.30 p.m. in building 09, room 211 at Universitaetsplatz 2.


The use of second order sliding modes, namely the generalized super-twisting algorithm or one of its variants, is illustrated for two applications in bioprocesses. Both the theoretical framework and some practical aspects are discussed. Two applications are considered: the design of a variable-gain super-twisting observer to robustly estimate the reaction rate in a bioreactor, and the proposal of a pseudo-super-twisting controller that maximizes the product output rate for a simplified model of a bioprocess. The case studies are the on-line estimation of the nitrogen quota in a microalgae bioreactor, and the maximization of biogas production during anaerobic wastewater treatment.

Information about the Speaker

Alejandro Vargas obtained his Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering (Control) from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in 2002. During his studies he was recipient of a DAAD sandwich scholarship that took him to the University of Stuttgart, Germany, for two years, later returning for a post-doctoral position in 2003-2004. After his return to Mexico he has been researcher at the Institute of Engineering of UNAM, first in Mexico City and since 2007 at the Laboratory for Research on Advanced Water Treatment Processes, located at the Academic Unit Juriquilla of the same Institute, in the city Querétaro. Recently, in 2012-2013 he held a visiting position at the University of Mons, Belgium. His main research interests are in the field of bio-process control applications, especially for wastewater treatment and resource recovery from wastes in the context of bio-refineries. He is the author of more than 60 papers, including conference proceedings and SCI journal articles, and is active in teaching and as supervisor for several graduate students.

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