Synthesis and design of energy efficient distillation

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Date of Original Version



Batch and continuous distillation and crystallization have been the workhorses for separations in the petroleum, chemical, pharmaceutical, and other industries for many years. These unit operations will remain the primary means of separation in many industries for many years to come. However, distillation and crystallization consume significant amounts of energy even when compared to the US GNP. Lucia and Taylor have presented a geometric methodology for finding exact boundaries in separation processes, e.g., azeotropic distillation, crystallization, and reactive distillation, and show that for ternary mixtures all separation boundaries are given by locally longest residue curves that run from a given unstable node to all reachable stable nodes. A discussion covers the conjecture that local maxima in line integrals, surface areas, and volumes represent the most difficult and therefore the least energy efficient separations in a given separation region; quantifying the conjectures; locally longest and shortest line integrals for residue curves, which are shown to correspond to the most and least difficult separations; synthesis, design, and retrofitting of energy efficient finite separators; improving energy efficiency; and theoretical development, numerical experimentation, and validation. This is an abstract of a paper presented at the 2006 AIChE Spring National Meeting (Orlando, FL 4/23-27/2006).

Publication Title

2006 AIChE Spring Annual Meeting

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