Panel Discussion | AIChE

Panel Discussion

RVT Process Equipment´s development of a high-capacity structured packing family was
launched in 2014 with the RMP SP 250 structured packing. Distillation tests ran at the
Separation Research Program (SRP) pilot plant (ID428 mm) with the C6/C7 system at that time
showed excellent performance compared to state-of-the-art high-capacity packings with the
same surface area. For all tested operating pressures: 0.165, 0.33, 1.65 and 4.14 bara, RMP SP
250 achieved a remarkable reduction in pressure drop accompanied by the consequent increase
in capacity while delivering the expected mass transfer efficiency level (HETP) typical for 250
m2/m3 high-capacity structured packings [1].
In the light of these very promising results, the FRI membership chose the RMP SP 250 for the
Category 1 packing in 2020 using FRI´s 1.22 m diameter industrial size column. RVT proposed
testing the packing with the C6/C7 system and the two related standard pressures of 0.31 and
1.62 bara, as well as the ortho/para-Xylene system operated at 0.1 and 1.0 bara. In order to save
unit time loss related to the liquid distributor change required when shifting within both test
systems, RVT designed and delivered a multistage trough type distributor capable of working
with the required extremely wide reflux loads, ranging from 2.5 m3/m2h to 40 m3/m2h (6.5-
The distillation measurements ran with RMP SP 250 at FRI show very good performance results
for both systems and operating pressures. Mass transfer efficiency levels achieved with both
C6/C7 and o/p-Xylene system are in good agreement with data obtained with state-of-the-art
high-capacity 250 m2/m3 packings at the same facility. On the other side, specific pressure drop
proved to be again significantly lower which allowed for significantly higher hydraulic
capacities in both systems and operating pressures. These two key performance parameters
combined in the form of the pressure drop per theoretical stage show that RVT´s RMP SP 250
packing clearly delivers the best (lowest) values of all 250 m2/m3 high-capacity packings tested
at FRI.
The total reflux distillation measurements ran with the RMP SP 250 at FRI´s industrial column
confirm the excellent performance results previously obtained at SRP pilot plant as well as
already available practical on-site experience in different industrial columns in which the RMP
SP 250 has already been installed.
[1] “Distillation performance characteristics of RMP-type standard and high capacity structured packings”,
2016 AIChE Spring Meeting, Advances in Distillation Packing Technology, Houston (TX, USA)