Synthesis of ethyl tert-buty ether (ETBE), a high-performance fuel additive, through reactive distillation (RD) is an attractive route, while its operation and control are exceptionally difficult due to its functional combination and complex dynamics. Modern control technology greatly relies on good process models, while a reasonable RD model is too complex for control design. Moreover, RD contains considerable uncertainties that cannot be well described in process modelling. Alleviating the model requirement, this work aims to maintain the product purity in RD of ETBE through developing a pattern-based predictive control (PPC) scheme. Process dynamics, control structure, nonlinear transformation, feature pattern extraction, and pattern-based prediction and its incorporation with a conventional linear controller are discussed. Case studies show the effectiveness of the proposed method.