16. Reactive Distillation for the Biorefinery

  1. Shri Ramaswamy2,
  2. Hua-Jiang Huang2 and
  3. Bandaru V. Ramarao3
  1. Aspi K. Kolah,
  2. Carl T. Lira and
  3. Dennis J. Miller

Published Online: 4 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118493441.ch16

Separation and Purification Technologies in Biorefineries

Separation and Purification Technologies in Biorefineries

How to Cite

Kolah, A. K., Lira, C. T. and Miller, D. J. (2013) Reactive Distillation for the Biorefinery, in Separation and Purification Technologies in Biorefineries (eds S. Ramaswamy, H.-J. Huang and B. V. Ramarao), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118493441.ch16

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA

  2. 3

    Department of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering, Empire State Paper Research Institute, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, New York, USA

Author Information

  1. Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 11 FEB 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470977965

Online ISBN: 9781118493441



  • biorefinery;
  • reactive distillation;
  • separation technology


Reactive distillation is a unit operation in which chemical reaction and distillation occur simultaneously in a single piece of equipment. The reaction can be either homogeneously or heterogeneously catalyzed. The subset of heterogeneously catalyzed reactive distillation processes are commonly referred to as catalytic distillation processes. The most common properties of reaction or separation that drive use of reactive distillation are given in this chapter. Simulation calculations for reactive distillation are based on either equilibrium stage modeling or rate-based modeling. The feasibility of reactive distillation as a process option is best explored with initial simulation of the process using modern software packages such as CHEMCAD and AspenPlus. Such simulations require significant effort to characterize the physical properties and reaction rates of the species present, and choose the appropriate model for the process design. Reactive distillation is a commercially established process intensification technology that has significant applications in the emerging biorefinery.