Novel heat-pump-assisted extractive distillation for bioethanol purification

Hao Luo, Costin Sorin Bildea, Anton A. Kiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The purification of bioethanol fuel involves an energy-intensive separation process to concentrate the diluted streams obtained in the fermentation stage and to overcome the azeotropic behavior of the ethanol-water mixture. The conventional separation sequence employs three distillation columns that carry out several tasks, penalized by high-energy requirements: preconcentration of ethanol, extractive distillation, and solvent recovery. To solve this problem, we propose here a novel heat-pump-assisted extractive distillation process taking place in a dividing-wall column (DWC). In this configuration, the ethanol top vapor stream of the extractive DWC is recompressed from atmospheric pressure to over 3.1 bar (thus to a higher temperature) and used to drive the side reboiler of the DWC, which is responsible for the water vaporization. For a fair comparison with the previously reported studies, we consider here a mixture of 10 wt % ethanol (100 ktpy plant capacity) that is concentrated and dehydrated using ethylene glycol as mass-separating agent. Rigorous process simulations of the proposed vapor recompression (VRC) heat-pump-assisted extractive DWC were carried out in AspenTech Aspen Plus. The results show that the specific energy requirements drop from 2.07 kWh/kg (classic sequence) to only 1.24 kWh/kg ethanol (VRC-assisted extractive DWC); thus, energy savings of over 40% are possible. Considering the requirements for a compressor and use of electricity in the case of the heat-pump-assisted alternative, it is possible to reduce the total annual cost by approximately 24%, despite the 29% increase of the capital expenditures, for the novel process as compared to the optimized conventional separation process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2208-2213
Number of pages6
JournalIndustrial and engineering chemistry research
Volume54
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2015

Fingerprint

Bioethanol
Distillation
Purification
Ethanol
Pumps
Distillation columns
Vapors
Reboilers
Ethylene Glycol
Water
Ethylene glycol
Vaporization
Fermentation
Atmospheric pressure
Compressors
Energy conservation
Electricity
Hot Temperature
Recovery
Costs

Cite this

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title = "Novel heat-pump-assisted extractive distillation for bioethanol purification",
abstract = "The purification of bioethanol fuel involves an energy-intensive separation process to concentrate the diluted streams obtained in the fermentation stage and to overcome the azeotropic behavior of the ethanol-water mixture. The conventional separation sequence employs three distillation columns that carry out several tasks, penalized by high-energy requirements: preconcentration of ethanol, extractive distillation, and solvent recovery. To solve this problem, we propose here a novel heat-pump-assisted extractive distillation process taking place in a dividing-wall column (DWC). In this configuration, the ethanol top vapor stream of the extractive DWC is recompressed from atmospheric pressure to over 3.1 bar (thus to a higher temperature) and used to drive the side reboiler of the DWC, which is responsible for the water vaporization. For a fair comparison with the previously reported studies, we consider here a mixture of 10 wt {\%} ethanol (100 ktpy plant capacity) that is concentrated and dehydrated using ethylene glycol as mass-separating agent. Rigorous process simulations of the proposed vapor recompression (VRC) heat-pump-assisted extractive DWC were carried out in AspenTech Aspen Plus. The results show that the specific energy requirements drop from 2.07 kWh/kg (classic sequence) to only 1.24 kWh/kg ethanol (VRC-assisted extractive DWC); thus, energy savings of over 40{\%} are possible. Considering the requirements for a compressor and use of electricity in the case of the heat-pump-assisted alternative, it is possible to reduce the total annual cost by approximately 24{\%}, despite the 29{\%} increase of the capital expenditures, for the novel process as compared to the optimized conventional separation process.",
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Novel heat-pump-assisted extractive distillation for bioethanol purification. / Luo, Hao; Bildea, Costin Sorin; Kiss, Anton A.

In: Industrial and engineering chemistry research, Vol. 54, No. 7, 25.02.2015, p. 2208-2213.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

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AU - Bildea, Costin Sorin

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N2 - The purification of bioethanol fuel involves an energy-intensive separation process to concentrate the diluted streams obtained in the fermentation stage and to overcome the azeotropic behavior of the ethanol-water mixture. The conventional separation sequence employs three distillation columns that carry out several tasks, penalized by high-energy requirements: preconcentration of ethanol, extractive distillation, and solvent recovery. To solve this problem, we propose here a novel heat-pump-assisted extractive distillation process taking place in a dividing-wall column (DWC). In this configuration, the ethanol top vapor stream of the extractive DWC is recompressed from atmospheric pressure to over 3.1 bar (thus to a higher temperature) and used to drive the side reboiler of the DWC, which is responsible for the water vaporization. For a fair comparison with the previously reported studies, we consider here a mixture of 10 wt % ethanol (100 ktpy plant capacity) that is concentrated and dehydrated using ethylene glycol as mass-separating agent. Rigorous process simulations of the proposed vapor recompression (VRC) heat-pump-assisted extractive DWC were carried out in AspenTech Aspen Plus. The results show that the specific energy requirements drop from 2.07 kWh/kg (classic sequence) to only 1.24 kWh/kg ethanol (VRC-assisted extractive DWC); thus, energy savings of over 40% are possible. Considering the requirements for a compressor and use of electricity in the case of the heat-pump-assisted alternative, it is possible to reduce the total annual cost by approximately 24%, despite the 29% increase of the capital expenditures, for the novel process as compared to the optimized conventional separation process.

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