(64g) Design Guidelines for Chemical Treatments in Distillation Columns

Kolmetz, K., KLM Technology Group
Blaschke, M., Baker Petrolite, a Division of Baker Hughes
Ng, W. K., Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences
Gray, J. N., KLM Technology Group

Distillation is the application and removal of heat to separate hydrocarbons by their relative volatility or boiling points. This necessary addition of heat normally in the feed stream or at the tower bottoms via a reboiler can also lead to other unwanted consequences such as polymerization, corrosion and reverse solubility. The removal of heat can lead to sedimentation, solubility effects, corrosion and precipitation. The concentration of certain constituents by the distillation process can cause corrosion and flow phenomena effects.

A properly designed distillation column can reduce the effects of these consequences, but in certain applications the polymerization, corrosion and other effects are very prominent leading to reduced separation efficiency in the column. This reduced separation efficiency increases the need for column maintenance and unit down time. In these applications a review of tower internal design and process chemical treatments should be initiated. Previously a review of tower internal design for fouling services was published, whereas this article will discuss the proper application and best practices of chemical treatments in distillation columns.