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Keywords:

  • reactive distillation;
  • feasibility analysis;
  • conceptual design;
  • double-feed columns;
  • reactive extractive curve

Abstract

A new approach for the feasibility analysis of reactive distillation processes based on the reactive extractive curve maps (rExCM) concept is introduced. A method dedicated to reactive distillation feasibility analysis, and design has been developed in our team since 1999. From minimal information concerning the physicochemical properties of the system, three steps lead to the design of the unit and the specification of its operating conditions. Currently, the procedure permits the conceptual design of hybrid reactive column configuration with one or two feed plates, for any number of equilibrium reactions (provided that the degree of freedom of the system is equal to 2) occurring in liquid or vapor phase. This contribution focuses on the most recent developments: the generalization of the feasibility analysis step to double-feed processes thanks to the introduction of the rExCM concept. This methodology is illustrated through two examples: the emblematic methyl acetate example and the production of dimethyl methyl glutarate. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 58: 2346–2356, 2012