Modelling of heat integrated reactive distillation column (r-HIDiC): Simulation studies of MTBE synthesis

Ahmed, Sofia Anjum; Ahmad, Syed Akhlaq


In the present study, heat integrated distillation column is modelled and simulated for the production of Methyl tert-Butyl Ether (MTBE) from methanol and isobutylene using ASPEN PlusĀ®. Also, the objective of this study is to have comparative analysis between the reactive distillation process and an alternative intensified process (r-HIDiC) to produce MTBE.
Rigorous simulation study has been conducted to compare the optimal flow sheet of the above two designs. Temperature and composition profiles are studied and compared for both the models and found that the temperature at the last stage of the stripping section in r-HIDiC is 406 K while that of the stripping section in RDC is 427.24 K. This reduced temperature decreases the composition of methanol in bottom product in stripping column in case of r-HIDiC as methanol forms a homogenous azeotrope with MTBE at 408.53 K. Also, it is found that, although with nominal increase in TAC i.e. 16.56%, in r-HIDiC design as compared to the reactive distillation column design which is caused due to the high cost of the additional compressor needed in the vapour compression, however, the r-HIDiC design can save reboiler and condenser heat duties to a considerable amount i.e. by 35.06% and 36.65% respectively.


Heat Integrated Distillation Column; Process Intensification; Reactive Distillation

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