(283d) Modeling and Experimental Study of a Dividing Wall Column

Authors: 
Roach, B. - Presenter, The University of Texas at Austin

Originally patented in 1949, the dividing wall distillation column (DWC) is gaining renewed attention in the United States. (1)  The benefits of a DWC are significant, including an estimated energy savings of thirty percent over traditional separation technologies.  Despite these advantages, there are minimal open literature experimental studies of DWC’s.   

The University of Texas and industrial partners have constructed a 6 inch diameter pilot scale DWC.  The UT research program utilized a ternary alcohol feed with experiments conducted at various compositions and operating conditions. The experimental results were compared to literature data for a 2.4 inch diameter column. (2) 

In addition to the mass transfer studies, air-water experiments were conducted to fundamentally characterize the column hydraulics. These studies included the quantification of the vapor split using pressure drop and liquid load across the dividing wall section. 

Both study results were incorporated into a steady state AspenPlus model.

  1. Wright, O. R. Fractionation Apparatus. U.S. Patent 2.471.134, 1949.
  2. Niggemann, Gerit, Christoph Hiller, and Georg Fieg. "Experimental and Theoretical Studies of a Dividing-Wall Column Used for the Recovery of High-Purity Products." Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 49.14 (2010): 6566-577.