A novel type of equipment for reactive distillation: Model development, simulation, sensitivity and error analysis



A simulation study of heterogeneously catalyzed reactive distillation experiments carried out with the D + R tray, a novel type of laboratory equipment, is presented. One advantage of the D + R tray is that reaction and distillation are alternating stage-wise, in a well-defined way that can be modeled straightforwardly. An equilibrium stage model is used to describe the distillation and a plug flow reactor model to describe the catalyst bed reactors. The model parameters are derived from a systematic experimental characterization of the D + R tray both as a reactor and as a distillation unit. A validated physicochemical fluid property model is used. The primary experimental data are reconciled. Results from the predictive simulations are in good agreement with the experimental results. The influence of errors in the input parameters on the simulation results is investigated by means of a sensitivity and error analysis. © 2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 59: 1533–1543, 2013