Proportional integral and derivative (PID) controllers are the most popular technique used in the power plant industry for process automation. However, the performance of these controllers may be affected due to variations in the power plant operating conditions, such as between startup, shutdown, and baseload/part-load operation. To maintain the desired performance over the full range of operations, PID controllers are always retuned in most power plants. During this retuning process, the operator takes control of the manipulated variable to perform a standard procedure based on a bump test. This procedure is generally performed to characterize the relationship between the manipulated variable and the process variable at each operating condition.
After the bump test, the operator generally applies basic guidelines to assign new parameters to the PID controller. In this paper, the Model Reference Adaptive Controller (MRAC) control technique was implemented to update the PID controller parameters online without performing the bump test procedure. This approach allows updating the controller response on-the-fly while the power plant is running and without using the standard procedure based on a bump test. The MRAC was developed and demonstrated in the gas turbine hybrid cycle at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) to retune a critically damped mass flow PID controller into an over-damped response. Results showed stable performance during mass flow setpoint steps and also a stable update of the controller parameters.