(55f) Development and Application of Simulation Models for Improvement of Highly Non-Ideal and Coupled Distillation Systems

Gopalakrishnan, M., SABIC Americas, Inc.
Pathath, P., SABIC
Merenov, A., SABIC Americas, Inc.
Al-Ghamdi, M., SABIC
An organic acid-water mixture is separated using an entrainer which forms an azeotrope with water. The mixture also contains smaller amounts of other components which are separated in downstream distillation columns. The system is highly non-ideal with significant recycle between these columns.

After the startup, desired separation was not achieved resulting in the loss of organic acid. A simulation model was developed to represent this system consisting of 5 coupled columns. Several case studies were run to understand the impact of impurities and other operating parameters. These case studies helped to stabilize and improve the performance of the columns.