(106c) Dynamic Intensification of Separation Processes

Yan, L., McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin
Edgar, T. F., McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin
Baldea, M., The University of Texas at Austin
Process intensification (PI) has captured significant attention as a set of innovative design principles that can dramatically enhance process performance, reducing energy/capital cost and increasing process efficiency1. PI technologies usually integrate multiple coupled phenomena into one physical device to optimize mass, heat transfer and reduce equipment size. However, the advantages of PI, including reduced holdups, increased safety and more nimble operation come with some drawbacks and operational barriers. These include a reduction in the number of degrees of freedom (DOF) available for control, as well as a narrower window for optimization compared to conventional process equivalents2.

In this paper, we will introduce a new dynamic operation paradigm that can be applied to existing intensified equipment to further enhance process performance. In particular, we study the use of periodic operation to manipulate and hijack the competing phenomena present in an intensified system to the benefit of economic indicators such as energy efficiency and yield. We refer to this approach as “dynamic process intensification.”

Motivated by their large energy consumption across the chemical and petrochemical industries, we focus specifically on the dynamic intensification of distillation systems. Using the canonical model of a binary distillation column, we demonstrate theoretically the benefits of dynamic intensification. We then carry out extensive dynamic optimization and simulation studies to confirm the results of the theoretical findings and quantify the magnitude of the economic benefits available in a system of practical relevance.


[1] Creative Energy. European Roadmap for Process Intensification. 2007

[2] Schembecker, G.; Tlatlik, S. Process Synthesis for Reactive Separations. Chem. Eng. Process. 2003, 42, 179-189.