(441f) Synthesis of Optimal Hybrid Separation Processes
In this work, we extend the use of the building block representation approach for the design and synthesis of hybrid distillation-based separation schemes incorporating membrane and adsorption technologies. For a given design problem, the proposed approach starts with identification of the separation tasks that need to be accomplished. These problems can belong to either completely new process designs or part of an existing flowsheet. Identification of the separation tasks also helps into define targets for improvement. One major target for the hybrid scheme is that all the incorporated separation techniques operate at their highest efficiencies and none of them alone can do the same task better than the hybrid one. After the design targets are set, building block-based superstructure is formed for a hybrid scheme involving distillation, membrane, adsorption, etc. and solved as a synthesis-design-intensification problem addressing the identified separation task and design targets with the optimal design and operating conditions. This is facilitated by solving a mixed integer nonlinear programming (MINLP) problem describing the building block superstructure. To demonstrate the applicability of the proposed approach, optimal membrane-based schemes are synthesized for several hybrid separation schemes intended for solvent recovery applications. An adsorption-based hybrid distillation scheme is also designed for a cryogenic air separation to reduce the high energy input required especially for achieving >95% purities for non-hybrid distillation schemes. The resultant optimal solutions featuring hybrid schemes are examples of intensification that create special hybrid modules for use in processing routes where similar separation tasks exist.
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