(756e) A Novel Methodology to Correctly Compare the Energy Efficiency between Membranes and Distillation
However, this conclusion is not well supported since it has been mainly derived from comparisons made only with respect to distillation operated with heat, ignoring other operation modes that could be more energy efficient. Apparently, there is a widespread confusion in considering distillation as an absolute heat driven device, which sometimes requires a high amount of thermal energy input at the reboiler. The comparison between work driven membranes and heat driven distillations often leads to inaccurate conclusions. In reality, it is feasible to operate distillation solely with work input without requiring any external heat , and for many cases, this operating mode drives into an important improvement of the energy efficiency.
The current research work centers on the development of a consistent procedure to compare the energy performance between membranes and distillation. In this methodology, membranes and distillation are compared in terms of the same energy basis (electrical work). In addition, both separation technologies are optimized as an attempt to evaluate them at their best operating conditions. The proposed methodology is applied to the analysis of two important separation cases; p-xylene/o-xylene and propylene/propane.
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