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Fundamentals of

Distillation Column Control

by Terry Tolliver
Standards
Certification
Education & Training
Publishing
Conferences & Exhibits
ISA Automation Week 2011
PRESENTER Terry Tolliver

Terry is a retired Senior Fellow from Solutia/Monsanto and presently


provides contract engineering at ConocoPhillips Wood River refinery.
He has 40+ years of experience in process control, simulation,
operations, troubleshooting and optimization.
Terry graduated from the Missouri University of Science and
Technology with BS, MS & PhD ChE and was recently inducted into
their Academy of Chemical Engineers in 2009. He was inducted into
the CONTROL Automation Hall of Fame in 2002.
He has received several ISA awards including the Distinguished Society
Service Award in 1997, the E. G. Baily Award in 1993 and the
Excellence in Documentation award in 1987.
Terry has been an adjunct professor for Washington University from
2004-2008, a Lehigh University Biannual Lecturer from 1974-1986, an
ISA Fellow in 1990, an AIChE Fellow in 2000 and a PE since 1974.

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DISTILLATION CONTROL TOPICS

Levels of control
Classification and pairing of variables
Control objectives and constraints
Dynamic responses
Material and energy balances
Separation
Pressure control
Material balance control
Temperature control
References

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DISTILLATION CONTROL

BASIC
Inventory Control
Composition Control

SUBOPTIMIZING
Feedforward Control
Two Point Composition Control

OPTIMIZING
Floating Pressure
Maximum Profit

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CLASSIFICATION and PAIRING of VARIABLES

CONTROLLED P
VARIABLES
La Y
distillate composition Y
bottom composition X
accumulator level La
sump level Ls
column pressure
P

Ls X

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CLASSIFICATION and PAIRING of VARIABLES

MANIPULATED Qc

VARIABLES
distillate flow D
B R D
bottom flow
reflux flow R
reboiler duty Qr
condenser duty Qc

Qr

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CLASSIFICATION and PAIRING of VARIABLES

DISTURBANCE
VARIABLES W
feed flow F F
feed composition Z
Z
feed temperature q
reboiler heat supply q
S
condenser cooling
W
supply and weather

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CLASSIFICATION and PAIRING of VARIABLES

CONTROLLED MANIPULATED DISTURBANCE


VARIABLES VARIABLES VARIABLES

distillate composition distillate flow feed flow


bottom composition bottom flow feed composition
accumulator level reflux flow feed temperature
sump level reboiler duty reboiler heat supply
column pressure condenser duty condenser cooling
supply and weather

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CONTROL OBJECTIVES

Total Operating Cost

$/F Cost of Energy

Cost of Product Lost

RECOVERY

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COLUMN CONSTRAINTS

Reboiler
Flood
Condenser
Boilup rate

Weep

Vessel Limit

Column Pressure

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COLUMN INTERNALS

TRAYS
SIEVE TRAYS
VALVE TRAYS
BUBBLE CAP TRAYS
DUAL FLOW TRAYS

PACKING
RANDOM PACKING
STRUCTURED PACKING
LIQUID & VAPOR DISTRIBUTORS

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COLUMN DYNAMICS

RELATIVE RESPONSE TIMES


VAPOR - FAST
LIQUID - MEDIUM
COMPOSITION - SLOW
Response

time

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MATERIAL & ENERGY BALANCES

MATERIAL BALANCE
F = D+ B
D/F = (z-x)/(y-x)
zF = yD + xB

ENERGY BALANCE
hF + Qreb = hD + hB + Qcond

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SEPARATION

TOTAL REFLUX

n = [y(1-x)]/[x(1-y)]

NORMAL OPERATION

S = f (, N, N , V/F, z, E)
F

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MATERIAL BALANCE and SEPARATION EFFECTS

1.0

Increasing S y
Light Key Mole Fraction

X
Increasing S

0
0 D/F 1.0

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MATERIAL BALANCE CONTROL

FC FC
LC

FC
TC

FC

LC
FC

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SEPARATION CONTROL

FC FC
LC

FC
TC
NOT
RECOMMENDED

FC

LC
FC

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PRESSURE CONTROL

VENT

PI

FC FC
LC

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CONDENSER DUTY

Tp

Qcond = UA(Tp-Tc)
COOLANT

Tc

VENT

CONDENSATE

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BLOCK & BLEED PRESSURE CONTROL

INERTS

BLEED VALVE
VACUUM SOURCE

BLOCK VALVE

PC

FC FC
LC

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MATERIAL BALANCE CONTROL - TYPE 1

FC FC
LC

FC
TC

FC

LC
FC

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MATERIAL BALANCE CONTROL - TYPE 2

FC FC
LC

FC
TC

FC

LC
FC

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MATERIAL BALANCE CONTROL - TYPE 3

FC FC
LC

FC
TC

FC

LC
FC

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MATERIAL BALANCE CONTROL - TYPE 4

FC FC
LC

FC
TC
response

FC

LC
time
FC

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PROCESS SIMULATION

STEADY STATE
PARAMETRIC CASES
CONTROL STAGE LOCATION
SENSITIVITY ANALYSIS
DISTURBANCE ANALYSIS

DYNAMIC
STUDY CONTROL RESPONSE
STARTUP AND SHUTDOWN

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CONTROL STAGE LOCATION

Benzene-Toluene Column Temperature Profiles

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Stage Number

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9 +1%D/F
8

4 -1%D/F
3

0
70.0 75.0 80.0 85.0 90.0 95.0 100.0 105.0 110.0 115.0 120.0
Tem perature, DegC

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TEMPERATURE SENSITIVITY

DISTILLATE PRODUCT
COMPOSITION, wt%

BOTTOM PRODUCT

CONTROL STAGE TEMPERATURE, degF

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DISTURBANCE ANALYSIS

Benzene-Toluene Column Load Effects

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Tray Number

0
-5.0 -4.0 -3.0 -2.0 -1.0 0.0 1.0 2.0 3.0
Delta Tem perature, DegC

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REFERENCES

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REFERENCES

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