A two-level distillation design method

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Recently, Lucia et al. have used a distillation line method to develop the concept of shortest stripping line distance approach to minimum energy designs of distillation columns and multiunit processes. It is well known that distillation line methods can be very sensitive to specified product compositions. A two-level distillation design procedure is proposed for finding portfolios of minimum energy designs when specifications are given in terms of key component recoveries. Thus, product compositions are not specified but calculated, ft is shown that the proposed two-level design procedure is flexible and can find minimum energy designs for both zeotropic and azeotropic distillations. It is also shown that the two-level design method encompasses Underwood's solution but can find minimum energy designs when Underwood's method fails. Numerical results for several distillation examples involving ternary and quaternary mixtures are presented to support these claims, and geometric illustrations are used to elucidate key points. © 2008 American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

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AIChE Journal