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Major No.

2 – Design Problems for the Acetone Production
Facility
October 16, 1998

Background
Recommendations regarding the debottlenecking of the new Acetone Process (Unit 400) were
forwarded to the client several weeks ago. It was decided that the scale-up of the front end of
Unit 400 can take place at the current reactor conditions, 350°C and 90% conversion of IPA,
with the use of an additional heat exchanger. The client has given the go ahead for the addition
of a new heat recovery exchanger (E-409) to be placed in the reactor feed and effluent streams.
The remaining equipment in the reactor section of the process are to remain. The client suggests
that the new heat exchanger be sized to maximize the incremental net present value (NPV) of the
additional equipment and associated utilities that are affected by the new exchanger. Therefore,
the costs that are to be included in the NPV are the installed cost of the new exchanger (CTM),
plus the utilities associated with H-401, E-402, and E-403. The exchanger that maximizes the
NPV will be the optimum size for this design. The following economic parameters should be
used:
Internal hurdle rate = 15%
Operating life of the process = 10 years
Assume that E-409 is bought at the end of year 0 and that utilities are charged at the end of years
1 – 10
Do not take into account the effect of taxes and depreciation.
In addition, the client has requested that the separation section of the process, shown in Figure 1,
be reinvestigated for the new scaled-up case. It has already been determined that the Acetone
Recovery Column, T-402, is adequately sized for the scale-up, and that the reboiler and
condenser for that column, E-404 and E-405, are adequate. However, the client has some
concerns that with the current design of the IPA column, T-403, will not be adequate, and that
considerable retrofitting must be done or new equipment must be purchased in order to make the
column perform properly. As a guide to help you in this task, the equipment summary and the
flow summary tables for Figure 1 are provided as Tables 1 and 2. Note that the designs and
flows are for the original design case and must be scaled-up by approximately 1.33 (a 33%
increase.)
Process Description of the Separations Section
The bottom product from the Acetone Stripper, T-401, is combined with the liquid from the
phase separator, V-402, to form Stream 9. This stream, containing acetone, water, and unused
isopropanol (IPA), is fed to the Acetone Recovery Column, T-402. This column produces a top
product, Stream 11, containing 99.9mol% acetone. The bottom product from this tower, Stream
12, is sent to the IPA column that contains 19 sieve trays. In this tower, excess water is taken off

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Table 1: Preliminary Equipment Summary Table for Acetone Process
Equipment

V-404

T-403

MOC

Carbon Steel

Carbon Steel

Diameter (m)

0.43

0.40

Height/Length (m)

1.30

11.7

Orientation

Horizontal

Vertical

Internals

-

19 SS Sieve Plates
@ 18" Spacing

Operating Pressure
(bar)
Maximum Operating
Pressure (bar)

1.2

1.4

4.0

4.5

Equipment

E-4061

E-4071

E-408

Type

Fixed TS
Condenser

Float. Head
Reboiler

Double Pipe

Duty (MJ/h)

720

740

174

Design Area (m2)

5.1

10.3

1.4

Area Built

5.6

10.8

1.6

Oper. Temp
(oC)

83.0

109.0

109.0

Operating Pressure
(bar)

1.2

1.4

1.4

Max. Pressure

4.0

4.5

4.5

Phase

Cond. Vapor

Boiling Liq.

L

MOC

Carbon Steel

Carbon Steel

Carbon Steel

(m2)
Shell Side

(bar)

Tube Side
Oper. Temp
(oC)

40.0

160.0

40.0

Operating Pressure
(bar)

4.0

6.0

4.0

Phase

L

Cond. Steam

L

MOC

Carbon Steel

Carbon Steel

Carbon Steel

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Table 2: Flow Summary Table for Separations Section of Unit 400 (Figure 1)

Stream No.
Temperature (oC)

9
22.0

10

11

12

131

141

151

16

61.0

61.0

90.0

83.0

83.0

109.0

36.0

Pressure (bar)

1.63

1.2

1.2

1.4

1.2

1.2

1.4

1.7

Vapor Fraction

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

1.0

Mass Flow (tonne/h)

2.79

4.22

1.88

0.92

0.55

0.27

0.65

0.24

Mole Flow (kmol/h)

74.02

72.51

32.29

41.73

12.0

5.85

35.88

38.60

Hydrogen

0.00

-

-

-

-

-

-

34.78

Acetone

32.43

72.46

32.27

0.16

0.33

0.16

-

2.51

Isopropyl Alcohol

3.84

0.05

0.02

3.82

7.77

3.79

0.03

0.02

Water

37.75

-

-

37.75

3.90

1.90

35.85

1.29

Component Mole Flow
(kmol/h)

Utility
Equipment
Temperature
In (°C)
Temperature
Out (°C)
Flow (tonne/h)
1

cw
E-406
30

lps
E-407
160

cw
E-408
30

40

160

40

17.14

0.34

4.16

These numbers are from the ChemCad simulation of Tower T-403.

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as the bottom product, Stream 15, and the top product which contains close to the azeotropic
amount of IPA in water is recycled to the front end of the process in Stream 14. Operating
temperatures and pressures are given in Tables 1 and 2.
Vapor-Liquid Equilibrium
At the pressures and temperatures used in the existing process, the IPA and water form a
constant boiling point azeotrope containing approximately 88 wt% (≈ 68 mol%) IPA. This nonideal behavior is accurately modeled using the UNIQUAC thermodynamics package for K values
and the latent heat enthalpy option..
Process Notes
Some design calculations for the separations process are given in the Appendix. These include
hand calculations for and T-403 and rating calculations for E-406 through E-408.
Assignment
Your assignment is to prepare a written and oral report summarizing your findings and
recommendations. The written report is due by 9:00 am, Monday November 3, 1998. The oral
reports will follow during the week of November 3 - 7. You should read carefully the guidelines for
written and oral reports and Chapters 22 and 23 in the book “Analysis, Synthesis, and Design of
Chemical Processes.” These chapters cover the required guidelines for written and oral
presentations. The written report should not exceed 10 pages of double-spaced text, plus figures
and tables. All relevant calculations should be included in a well-indexed appendix. These
calculations should be neat and legible but may be hand written. The form of the report should be
an executive summary (same organization as a long report but without section headings), which
clearly and succinctly presents your major findings, explanations, conclusions, and
recommendations. The following information must appear in the main body of the report:
a. A computer-generated process flow diagram (PFD) showing the configuration of equipment for
your recommended case.
b. A flow summary table showing the amounts and conditions of the streams shown in the PFD
and the conditions of all streams affected by the addition of the new heat exchanger E-409.
c. A list of all new equipment with purchase and bare-module costs and design details of all the
new equipment. For E-409, you should give the heat exchange area and the shell and tube
configuration needed, i.e., number of shell and tube passes.
d. A list of modifications to the IPA column, T-403, and associated equipment.
e. A signed copy of the confidentiality statement. This should be the very last page of the written
report.
Please provide the written report in a 3-ring, spiral or riveted binder (not oversized). You must
bring a hard copy of your slides to leave behind after the oral presentation.

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Appendix

Design Calculations

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T-403 IPA Column
Based on desired compositions from Table 2 we must convert Streams 12, 14, and 15 to acetone
free basis, since we will use McCabe-Thiele construction for the binary pair IPA-Water.
Stream 12 (feed) xf = 3.82/(3.82+37.75) = 0.0918
Stream 14 (top product), xD = 3.82/(3.82+1.90) = 0.668
Stream 15 (bot product), xB = 0.004
Locate these compositions on x-y diagram on next page
From construction of minimum reflux ratio we get, xD/(1+Rmin) = 0.33 ⇒ Rmin = 1.02
Use R=2 Rmin since we have quite a tight top specification.
New y-intercept = xD/(1+R) = 0.668/(1+2.04) = 0.219 ∴ Draw top op. Line through (0, 0.219)
and (0.668,0.668)
Drawing feed line and bot op. line on diagram and stepping off stages we get
Number of trays = 12 (theoretical)
10 above the feed and 2 below (+1 for partial reboiler)
From simulation output we get 14 stages with 2 below feed (in Chemcad the condenser and
reboiler are both numbered as stages) and a reflux ratio of 2.08. Thus agreement is very good
and the design uses 12 theoretcial trays.
Tray efficiency is 65% for this system thus we need 12/0.65 = 19 trays with feed on tray 16.
Column Diameter – Approximate Sizing
Approximate sizing gives (ref [1] page 253) uρ
(m/s)

0.5

= 1.5 where u = superficial vapor velocity

Vapor density (kg/m3), ρg = 1.92 top and 0.807 bottom
Superficial velocity = 1.08 m./s (top) and 1.67 m/s (bottom)
Volumetric flow of vapor = 429 m3/h (top) and 419 m3/h (bottom)
Use a 12% downcomer area ratio on tray
π 2
d col [1 − (0.12)(2)]u = V&
4
(419)(4)
dcol =
= 0.34 m
π (0.76)(1.67)(3600)
dcol =

(429)(4)
= 0.43 m
π (0.76)(1.08)(3600)

bottom
top

limiting condition is at the top of the column design with diameter = 0.43 m

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4

0.6

3

5

Operating Line at Minimum Reflux
7

6

y, Mole fraction of IPA in vapor

8

0.5
9

0.4

0.3

Operating Line at 2Rmin
10

0.2

0.1
11

12

0.0
0.0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

x, mole fraction of IPA in liquid

McCabe-Thiele Construction for IPA Column, T-403

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Use the following more accurate design for trays
Downcomer area ratio = 12% per downcomer this gives an active area of 76%
Use sieve trays with ¼ inch (6.25 mm) holes
Open area = 10% of active tray area
Tray spacing = 18 inch = 458 mm
At Top of Column
Liquid Flow, L = 545 kg/h
Vapor Flow, G = 824 kg/h
Average Molecular Weight = 45.9
ρl = 744 kg/m3
ρg = 1.92 kg/m3
L
G

ρg
ρl

=

545 1.92
= 0.034
824 744

For 18 inch tray spacing, this gives a flooding factor, Kv = 0.28
.5

0.5
 ρg 
 744 − 1.92 
(
0
.
28
)

=
K v = U flood 
U

flood
 1.92  = 5.50 ft/s = 1.678 m/s
 ρ l − ρ g 
design for 75% of flooding
U = (0.75)(1.678) = 1.258 m/s

G=

π 2
824 4
1
1
d col [1 − (2)(0.12)]Uρ g ⇒ dcol =
= 0.398 = 0.40 m
4
3600 π (1.258)(1.92) 0.76

At Bottom of Column
Liquid Flow, L = 980 kg/h
Vapor Flow, G = 338 kg/h
Average Molecular Weight = 18.1
ρl = 951 kg/m3
ρg = 0.807 kg/m3
L
G

ρg
ρl

=

980 0.807
= 0.084
338 951

For 18 inch tray spacing, this gives a flooding factor, Kv = 0.26

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Insert or refer to Figure 12.3 from King, C. J., Separation Processes, 2nd ed., McGraw Hill, New
York, 1980. Any similar tray tower flooding correlation will suffice.

10

.5

0.5
 ρg 
 951 − 0.807 
K v = U flood 
= 9.27 ft/s = 2.83 m/s
 ⇒ U flood = (0.27) 
 0.807 
 ρ l − ρ g 
calculate the % flooding with a column diameter of 0.40 m
G
(338)(4)
U=
=
= 0.747 m/s
2
π 2
π
(
3600
)(
)(
0
.
4
)
d col
4
0.747
(100) = 26%
% Flooding =
2.83

This is below the weeping limit, so reduce active area below feed to 50%. This will increase the
% flooding to (0.76.0.50)(026) = 40%, which is low but should be OK.
This gives 75% flooding at design conditions on the top plate and 40% of flooding at the bottom
of the column.
Column height, hcol

= (19)(0.458) + 2 (for liquid accum’n at bottom) + 1 (vapor space at top)
= 11.7 m

Overhead Reflux Drum, V-404
Basis use L/D = 3.0 and a liquid hold up of 5 minutes based on a half-full drum.
Vdrum =

π 2
D
d drum L = (2)(5)(60)(1 + R)
ρl
4

π 2
3π 3
(270)
d drum L =
d drum = (10)(60)(1 + 2.04)
= 0.184 m 3
4
4
(744)(3600)
d drum = 0.43 m and L = 1.3 m
Overhead Condenser, E-406
Duty, Q = 720 MJ/h = 200 kW
Top Temperature = 83°C

E-406
DTlm = (40-30)/ln[( 83- 30)/(83 -40)]
= 47.8°C

83

40
30
Q

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Overall heat transfer coefficient = 825 W/m2°C - equal resistances on process and cooling water
sides
Area, A = Q/[(U)( ∆Tlm)] = 5.1 m2
Reboiler, E-407
Duty, Q = 740 MJ/h = 206 kW
Bottom Temperature = 109°C
Throttle low-pressure steam to give a ∆T = 10°C
∆Tlm = ∆T = 10°C
U = 2000 W/m2°C - assume equal resistances on boiling and condensing sides.
For small changes in ∆T (up to 20°C) assume U is constant.
Area, A = Q/[(U)( ∆Tlm)] = 10.3 m2

E-407
119

109

Q
Wastewater Cooler, E-408
Q = 174 MJ/h = 48.3 kW

109

45

40

30

Q

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∆Tlm = (109-40-45+30)/ln[(109-40)/(45-30)] = 35.4°C
U = 1000 W/m2°C – assume equal resistances for utility and process streams
F=1 (use double pipe exchanger – pure counter current flow)
Area, A = Q/[(U)(∆Tlm )] = (48300)/[(1000)(35.4)] = 1.4 m2
Reflux Pump, P-405

T-403

FIC

11.0 m

E-406

V-404

LIC

4.5 m

0.5 m
P-405
Discharge Side
Flowrate through pump = (1+R)D = (1+2.04)(270) = 821 kg/h = 1.1 m3/h = 0.31 L/s
Discharge line = ½” Sch 40 = ID = 0.622 inch = 0.0158m
Velocity in discharge line = (0.00031)/[(3.142)(0.0158)2/4)] = 1.58 m/s
Liquid viscosity = 4×10-4 kg/m⋅s
Re = (1.58)(0.0158)(744)/( 4×10-4) = 4.64×104
e/d = 0.046/15.8 = 0.0029
f = 0.0075
for discharge piping Leq = 14.5 (vertical run) + 3.5 (for fittings) + 10m (horizontal run) = 28.0 m
∆Pf,discharge = 2f Lequ2ρ/d = 49.4 kPa
P top, col = 1.2 bar = 120 kPa
∆PE-406 = 0.1 bar = 10 kPa
PV-404 = 1.1 bar = 110 kPa
P top plate = 1.2 bar = 120 kPa
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Static head = (11)(744)(9.81) = 80.3 kPa
Total head across pump not including control valve = (120 – 110) + 80.3 + 49.4 + 17.6
= 157.3 kPa
Use ∆PCV = 30 kPa
Total head at design flow = 187.3 kPa see pump curve attached
Suction Side
for suction side
use ½” Sch 40 and Leq = 4.5 (vertical run) + 2.0 (fittings) + 3.5 (horizontal run) = 10.0 m
∆Pf,suction = 17.6 kPa
NPSH Calculations
NPSHA = PV-404 + hρg + ∆Pf,suction – P*sat = 1.1×105 + (4.5)(744)(9.81) – 17600 – 1.1×105
= 15.2 kPa = 2.1 m of liquid
NPSHR = 1.2 m - shown on pump curve on next page
Cavitation is not a problem!

References
1. Turton, R., Bailie, R.C., Whiting, W.B., and J.A. Shaeiwitz, Analysis, Synthesis, and Design
of Chemical Processes, Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle, NJ (1998).

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Pump Curve for P-405 A/B - Overhead Reflux Pumps

Differential Head Across Pump, kPa

250
Design Flow = 0.31 L/s
200

150

100

50

0
0.0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

Flowrate of IPA/Water Azeotrope at 83oC, L/s

Net Positive Suction Head Required, NPSHR,
(m of liquid)

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Design Flow = 0.31 L/s
3

2

1

0
0.0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

Flowrate of IPA/Water Azeotrope at 83oC, L/s

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