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Novel packing-enhanced distillation separation of isoamyl alcohol isomer: Experimental and pilot scale study



Separation of isoamyl isomers by means of internally enhanced ordinary distillation was investigated in this work. Because of very close boiling points between the target components of the mixture, a novel paralleling spiral packing of extremely low HEPT was experimentally developed with success for this purpose. A coupled scheme of pilot scale was subsequently setup separating 2-methyl-butanol and 3-methyl-butanol from fusel oil, usually low-class byproduct of fuel bioethanol manufactures. Basically, batch distillation is used to remove light ends and the continuous partner to separate 2-methyl-butanol and 3-methyl-butanol. Operating results satisfactorily suggested that the concentration of 2-methyl-butanol was over 99 wt % with the yield over 80%. Computational flowsheet simulation was also done with the outcome in good agreement with the tested onsite to facilitate industrial design. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2011