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The Synthesis of Thermally Coupled Distillation Flowsheets for Separations of Five Component Mixtures

The Synthesis of Thermally Coupled Distillation Flowsheets for Separations of Five Component Mixtures

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Computers& ChemicalEngineering
Computers and Chemical Engineering 24 (2000) 247-252www.elsevier.com/locate/compchemeng
The synthesis of thermally coupled distillation flowsheets forseparations of five-component mixtures
Ben-Guang Rong *, Andrzej Kraslawski, Lars Nystriim
Department of Chemical Technology, Lappeenranta University of Technology, P.O. Box 20, Fin-53851 Lappeenranta, Finland
The thermally coupled distillation flowsheets for separation of five-component mixtures are studied based on the total annualcosts. Fourteen simple column sequences and some feasible thermally coupled configurations with side strippers and/or siderectifiers are considered. The costs of the flowsheets are calculated and compared for several real five-component mixtures withvarious relative volatility distributions and a wide range of feed compositions. Several heuristics are proposed for the synthesis ofmulticomponent thermally coupled distillation flowsheets. 0
Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Synthesis; Thermally coupled distillation flowsheets; Five-component mixtures; Heuristics
1. Introduction
such complex distillation flowsheets in design and syn-thesis of multicomponent distillation flowsheets.The task of optimal design and synthesis of multi-component distillation processes is an important andchallenging issue. In many cases, the very popular heatintegration approach is impractical due to some limita-tions of heat flows and process operations. Then, anovel design of new distillation configurations isstrongly desired. Among all possible new schemes formulticomponent distillation process, the thermally cou-pled distillation schemes are very promising for bothenergy and capital cost savings (Petlyuk, Platonov &Slavinskij, 1965; Smith, 1995). However, due to thecomplexity, research on these complex distillationconfigurations is only restricted to three-componentmixtures, for only a few promising flowsheets can beconstructed for ternary mixtures (Tedder & Rudd,1978; King, 1980; Glinos & Malone, 1988). Much detailwork has been contributed on some specific ternaryconfigurations aiming at the performance analysis andindustrial applications (Triantafyllou & Smith, 1992;Wolff & Skogestad, 1995; Agrawal & Fidkowski, 1998;Mutalid & Smith, 1998). However, the lack of experi-ence and knowledge on four or more components ther-mally coupled distillation flowsheets has largelyrestricted the designers to consider the applications ofIn this paper, we extend the design and synthesis ofthermally coupled distillation flowsheets to the separa-tion of five-component mixtures. When five-componentmixtures are separated with systems of complexcolumns, the following characteristics have appeared.First, the scope for heat-integration may be increased.Second, many more possible new configurations can beconstructed as compared with ternary mixtures, andthird, this type of flowsheets that uses four columns toproduce five products can extend the utilization ofthermally coupled distillation systems in practical in-dustrial processes.The synthesis of thermally coupled distillation alter-natives is based on the economic evaluation of bothsimple column sequences and configured thermally cou-pled distillation flowsheets. Several real five-componentmixtures with different relative volatility distributionswere selected. For each mixture, a wide range of feedcompositions is studied. Some heuristics are concludedfor the synthesis of the thermally coupled distillationsystems for the separation of five-component mixtures.2.
The feasible thermally coupled configurations
Corresponding author.
For ternary mixtures, there are only three feasible
E-mail address:
benguang.rong@lut.fi (B.-G. Rong)
thermally coupled configurations called the side-strip-
0098-1354/00/$ - see front matter 0 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.PII: SOO98-1354(00)00466-X
B.-G. Rong et al. /Computers and Chemical Engineering 24 (2000) 247-252
ping column, the side rectifying column and the fullythermally coupled column or Petlyuk column, respec-tively. For five-component mixtures, there are a largenumber of possible configurations. For such a compli-cated problem, it would be difficult to parametricallystudy all possible configurations at the outset. First,little experience and knowledge are available to con-struct a complete superstructure. Second, even if therewere such a superstructure, it would be difficult to getthe optimal scheme through a mathematical optimiza-tion algorithm due to nonconvexity and computationalissues (Christiansen, Skogestad & Lien, 1997). The flex-ibility and controllability of a system heavily dependson its complexity. In consequence, the simple configura-tions are more promising for practical applications.Thus, in this work we focus on the configurations withside strippers and side rectifiers, while a configurationhas the same number of column sections as a simplecolumn sequence. We consider the fully thermally cou-pled configurations (Petlyuk column types) for five-component mixtures to be too complex for applicabilityat first stage.In our previous work, for the development of short-cut design procedure for such complex distillation flow-sheets, we defined four types of units for constructionof feasible configurations for five-component thermallycoupled distillation flowsheets. They are called maincolumn (MC), side stripping column (SSC), side rectify-ing column (SRC) and simple column (SC), respec-tively. With these four types of units, we obtained fourtypes of thermally coupled distillation flowsheets forseparations of five-component mixtures based on someprescribed constraints (Rong, Kraslawski & Nystrom,2000). (1) Complex flowsheets with side columns con-nected in parallel as in Fig. la; (2) complex flowsheetswith side columns connected in both series and parallel;(3) complex flowsheets with simple columns in it; and
@IFig. 1. Complex distillation flowsheet and its thermodynamic equiva-lent scheme.
(4) complex flowsheets with side columns connected inseries.A shortcut design methodology was developed forsuch distillation systems which is based on the thermo-dynamically equivalent schemes (Carlberg & Wester-berg,1989) of the original thermally coupledconfigurations as shown in Fig. lb. There are severalunits in a system for separations of five or more compo-nent mixtures, thus the configuration is usually a com-plex distillation flowsheet (CDF).3.
Synthesis methodology3.1.
The pertinent aspects for synthesis of CDFs
We have studied the thermally coupled distillationflowsheets for separations of five-component mixturestaking into account the following issues:1. the detailed operating and equipment parametersare calculated for the flowsheets;2. the real five-component mixtures are used for theparametric studies;3. the concerned thermodynamic properties are calcu-lated rigorously by suitable equations of state;4. the total annual costs are used as the objectivefunction to compare the flowsheets;5. a wide range of feed compositions and relativevolatilities are included in the parametric studies;and6. some practical engineering problems are considered,e.g. pressure distribution in a system, pressure dropsin units, and optimal minimum temperature ap-proach in condensers and reboilers.3.2.
Selected representative conjigurations of CDFs forjive-component mixtures
The performance analysis of CDFs is based on theeconomic evaluation of the total annual costs of CDFs.Fourteen simple column sequences for five-componentmixtures are included. Since it is difficult to construct asuperstructure to embed all the feasible alternatives, toextend the synthesis spectrum of multicomponent distil-lation separations, in this work some representativeconfigurations of CDFs are selected for the preliminaryparametric study of thermally coupled distillation sys-tems for separations of five-component mixtures. Tofacilitate the construction of feasible configurations, anetwork representation of multicomponent thermallycoupled distillation schemes was presented in our previ-ous work. Considering the four types of possibleconfigurations of CDFs illustrated in Section 2 and thecombinatorial computational work, eight CDFs areconfigured as shown in Fig. 2, which are seen as simplebut typical types of CDFs for the initial parametricstudies.
B.-G. Rong et al. /Computers and Chemical Engineering 24 (2000) 247-252249
SC(A) - MC(B,E)SRC;?@)
Fig. 2. Eight thermally coupled distillation flowsheets for five-compo-nent mixtures.Table 1Characteristics of the selected mixturesMixtures Characteristics Volatility distributions
NBP difference
ATj x
Even distributionATij z 10°C
One difficult splitA/B
Uneven distributionB/CC/DD/E
Two difJicult splitsWC, D/E
Uneven distributionA/B, C/D
Lz,j z
nij z
1.3a&5 1.2a, x 2.0tlh 2 1.2a, x 2.0
In any given network, a line represents a connectionbetween two units. A node is one of the four types ofunits of MC, SSC, SRC, and SC. Units of the sametype in a flowsheet are distinct by their orders. Sub-groups in bracket are the products of that unit corre-sponding to its node, to main column and simplecolumn, the former in the bracket is the distillate, whilethe latter is the bottom product. The connected loca-tions for the side columns in a flowsheet are identifiedaccording to their products. For example, there arethree side-rectifying columns SRCl, SRC2, and SRC3in flowsheet (Fig. la) with B, C, and D being theirproducts, respectively. According to their relativevolatility of B, C and D, SRCl is connected with the upcolumn section of the main column, SRC2 in themiddle section and SRC3 in the bottom section of themain column.3.3.
Selection of the five-component mixtures
To understand the performance of CDFs, it is veryimportant to calculate and analyze rigorously the flow-sheet parameters by separating the real mixtures.Meanwhile, a wide range of relative volatilities shouldbe studied for various mixtures. Thus, taking into ac-count the above considerations, the following real five-component mixtures are selected as shown in Table 1 (iand j are adjacent, a, and tli, indicate easy and difficultsplits).3.4.
Cases of feed compositions
According to the heuristics for the synthesis of simplecolumn sequences, the feed composition distribution isa primary factor influencing the synthesis of simplecolumn sequences. Therefore, a wide range of feedcompositions is selected in this work for studying theperformance of multicomponent thermally coupled dis-tillation flowsheets. The cases of selected feed composi-tions are shown in Table 2. In this work, all feed casesare mole fractions.
Table 2Cases of feed compositionsFeed cases Mole fraction of feed compositionsA BCDE1 0.20
2 0.60
0.10 0.10 0.104 0.10 0.10
0.100.105 0.10 0.100.10
0.60 0.10
60.100.10 0.10 0.10
I 0.50
0.20 0.20 0.10 0.1090.500.10 0.10 0.20 0.1010 0.50 0.100.10 0.10 0.50130.100.20 0.10 0.10 0.5014 0.200.10 0.10 0.10 0.5015 0.35 0.25 0.13 0.1417 0.350.13 0.13 0.25 0.14180.350.13 0.13 0.14 0.2519 0.25 0.13 0.130.3521 0.140.13 0.25 0.13 0.3522 0.140.13 0.13 0.25 0.3523 0.250.17 0.16 0.17 0.2524 0.300.13 0.13 0.14 0.3025 0.350.10 0.10 0.10 0.3526 0.400.07 0.07 0.06 0.40

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