(185j) Molecular Tracking: An Alternative Computer-Aided Concept for Multi-Component Distillation Column Design
This study first analyzes in detail the influence of thermodynamic properties and operational conditions on molecular tracking by demonstrating the concept on a simple binary distillation unit. This is followed by an industrial case study of a high purity methanol distillation unit consisting multi-component methanol and water feed with trace levels of ethanol. In this case study, molecular tracking is employed to find the optimal location of the column side draw. The analysis is based on thermodynamic and operational information gathered column with classical column configuration (only a distillate and bottoms). The generated results are then compared with results obtained from a validated process simulation and industrial observations. Finally, this work will discuss in detail the pros and cons of the concept of molecular tracking, its coordinates in relation to existing computer-aided process design tools and the future developments required to exploit in full its potential.