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Title: Synthesis and design of reactive distillation columns
Author: Dragomir, Ramona Manuela
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2004
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During the past decades, reactive distillation has received intensive attention due to the well known benefits of integrating distillation with reaction in a single unit. Significant capital savings, improved conversion and selectivity, avoidance of azeotropes, together with heat integration are some of the main advantages of using reactive distillation. Many applications have proven to be economically advantageous by using reactive distillation (e.g. MTBE and TAME synthesis, production of methyl-acetate, manufacture of di-isopropyl-ether, oligomerisation of linear butenes and others). Whereas there are many procedures available for the synthesis of non-reactive columns or reactive-separation systems, the synthesis of reactive distillation columns is still a challenge, due to the complexity and the high number of design parameters involved. Available conceptual design methods generally address three (or four) components and fully reactive columns, but there is still a lack of systematic conceptual design methods for more general column configurations and for multi-component systems. The aim of this work is to develop a methodology to identify promising column configurations and to obtain column design parameters (number of reactive and non-reactive stages, reflux and reboil ratios, feed condition) for a given feed mixture and a set of desired products. A new systematic design method for reactive systems reaching equilibrium allows the analysis of the impact of different configurations (fully reactive or hybrid columns) and feed policies (single- or double-feed columns) on column performance. The methodology is extended to account for kinetically-controlled reactions in synthesis and design of reactive distillation columns. Systems with two degrees of freedom (according to the Gibbs phase rule) were considered for equilibrium reactions, and ternary and quaternary systems for kinetically-controlled reactions. Reactive distillation column designs generated by the methodology are presented as illustrative examples. Their predicted performances are shown to be in good agreement with those predicted by rigorous simulation using HYSYS. The approach can easily be automated and typically generates multiple designs, allowing a design engineer to efficiently compare various design options including hybrid and fully reactive columns, single- and double-feed configurations, and different sets of operating parameters for a given column configuration. The new methodology developed in this work facilitates a stepchange in conceptual design practice, offering a systematic and easy to use tool for the synthesis and design of reactive distillation columns.
Supervisor: Jobson, Megan; Smith, Robin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Reactive Distillation Columns