Economic comparison of reactive distillation (RD) to a benchmark conventional flowsheet: Regions of RD applicability and trends in column design

L. J. Noll*, A.G.J. van der Ham, S.R.G. Oudenhoven, A.J.B. ten Kate, G. Bargeman, S.R.A. Kersten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
34 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

A novel methodology for the techno-economic assessment of Reactive Distillation (RD) is presented. The developed methodology benchmarks reactive distillation (RD) to a conventional reactor + distillation train flowsheet (R+D) on a cost-optimized basis, with the optimization being performed on the process unit level (reactor sizing, number of stages, feed point(s)) and the internals level (reactive tray design). This methodology is applied to the ideal quaternary system A+B↔C+D with the conventional boiling point order of TC < TA < TB < TDAD = 4, αBD = 2, αCD = 8). From this pool of data, a regime map of RD vs. R+D is established in which the attractive regions of either flowsheet option are identified in terms of the chemical reaction rate and chemical equilibrium. It is found that RD can arise as the cost optimal option for a large range of residence time requirements by virtue of overcoming the external recycle requirements of R+D. This is achieved through optimized reactive tray design. Contrary to conventional distillation design practices, it was found that the preferred use of bubble-cap trays over sieve trays to allow elevated weir heights and designing the column diameter below 80% of flooding become relevant design choices when accommodating high liquid holdup.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-537
Number of pages17
JournalChemical Engineering Research and Design
Volume200
Early online date2 Nov 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Keywords

  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Process design
  • Reactive distillation
  • Reactive tray design
  • Techno-economical assessment
  • Optimization

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