This paper is aimed at designing a class of model based extremum-seeking feedback controllers (ESC) for the on-line optimization of biomethane production rate in continuous anaerobic digestion (AD) processes. The ESC scheme is based on the modelling error compensation approach coupled with a first-order gradient estimator. The feedback control law is able to keep the concentration of volatile fatty acids (VFAs) near the unknown optimal setpoint while the methane production rate is maximized. Unlike other ESC algorithms applied to AD processes, the proposed control scheme includes a continuous uncertain estimator and avoids excessive oscillations in the control action. Numerical simulations compare the performance of the proposed ESC controller with traditional perturbation-based and sliding mode based approaches.

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