In this paper a “virtually controlled observer” (VCO) is proposed to estimate simultaneously the influent substrate concentration and unmeasured state variables in continuous anaerobic digestion processes. The hypothetical (unmeasured) influent substrate concentration is updated by a feedback control, which is regulated by the estimation error of a measured output. The proposed approach is firstly illustrated upon a simple continuous bioprocess. Then, the performance of the observer is tested via numerical simulations in a continuous anaerobic digestion model. Results showed that it is possible to estimate both, the influent substrate concentration and unmeasured states in the digester in the face of parametric uncertainties.

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