(377a) A Method for Multicomponent Distillation Sequences with Fewer Columns
The synthesis of optimal distillation sequences for a given application is a challenging problem in process design. Several researchers have provided solutions for the problem of synthesizing the complete search space of distillation configurations that use exactly (N-1) columns to separate a zeotropic feed mixture into N product streams. However, the search space of all possible distillation configurations that use less than (N-1) columns for an N?component separation has not been completely explored. In this work, we develop a systematic procedure to quickly synthesize the complete search space of distillation configurations using less than (N-1) distillation columns to separate any zeotropic N?component feed into N product streams. We demonstrate the utility of the method to achieve energy savings by applying it to a four-component case study.