Influence of Solvent and Acid Properties on the Relative Volatility and Separation Selectivity for Extractive Distillation of Close-Boiling Acids

T. Brouwer, R. Van Lin, A. J.B. Ten Kate, B. Schuur*, G. Bargeman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

The increasing need for sustainable processes stimulates the production and recovery of renewable organic acids. The purification of these acids is often difficult because of similar acid volatilities but can be improved through extractive distillation. Generic insights into solvent effects on the separation efficiency for close-boiling acids are however lacking. This study provides insights into the effect of acidity, the acidity difference between the acids, the hydrogen-bonding strength of the solvent, and the solvent-to-feed ratio on organic acid separation efficiency. For an acetic acid-formic acid (AA-FA) mixture, the addition of high-boiling organic acids increases the relative volatility of FA over AA significantly. The addition of a Lewis base reverses the relative volatility, which depends on the applied solvent-to-feed ratio and the Lewis base BF3 affinity. For several binary acid mixtures (such as AA-FA and monochloroacetic acid-dichloroacetic acid), where the acids have a relatively big difference in acidity (ΔpKa ≥ 1), the separation selectivity appears practically independent of the acid strength of the individual acids and increases with increasing BF3 affinity of the Lewis base. For acid mixtures with a lower ΔpKa, a lower separation selectivity is obtained, as observed for separation of the pivalic acid-butyric acid and valeric acid-2-methyl butyric acid mixtures. When one of the acids in the mixture contains a secondary ketone group (i.e., levulinic acid in a levulinic acid-octanoic acid mixture), the strongest acid based on pKa is not necessarily attracted most by the added Lewis base. This, at first sight, unexpected behavior is most likely the result of complex intra- and intermolecular interactions and is quantitatively in line with COSMO-RS-based selectivity predictions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7406-7416
JournalIndustrial and engineering chemistry research
Volume60
Issue number19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2021

Keywords

  • UT-Hybrid-D

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