(2e) Preliminary Design and Cost Analysis of a Distillation Column for Separation of Methanol, Water and a High Boiling Point Inorganic Acid

Felgenhauer, N. L. - Presenter, Cal Poly Pomona University
Thompson, R. R. - Presenter, Cal Poly Pomona University
Firouzain, M. - Presenter, Cal Poly Pomona University
Singh, S. - Presenter, Cal Poly Pomona University

Cal Poly Pomona Chemical Engineering Team has undertaken a combined experimental/design and economic distillation study for the recovering of methanol from an aqueous mixture of inorganic acid and methanol. This recovered methanol will be reused in other operation or will be resold to outside vendors. The design will also help the team meet strict environmental regulations. To recover the entire methanol in the feed and to meet the environmental regulations, the methanol concentration of the bottoms product cannot exceed 0.1 wt% and the concentration of water in the distillate is not to exceed 5 wt%. In this investigation, both a pilot and commercial scale distillation column are being designed. A series of batch distillations have been performed to determine the extent to which the inorganic acid will appear in the distillate. The team is using PRO/II software to determine size and energy requirements for the distillation system. The design study includes investigations of alternative phase equilibrium relationships and column efficiency models. The effects of process parameters such as reflux ratio, number of trays, feed tray location, and material flow rate is being studied in order to optimize the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the distillation column design.