You are on page 1of 1

130

Choice of Reactor III – Reactor Configuration These reactions can be reversed in a stripping column. The input of heat in the stripping column releases the hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide for further processing. The monoethanolamine can then be recycled. 5. Moving-bed catalytic reactors. If a solid catalyst degrades in performance, the rate of degradation in a fixed bed might be unacceptable. In this case, a moving-bed reactor can be used. Here, the catalyst is kept in motion by the feed to the reactor and the product. This makes it possible to remove the catalyst continuously for regeneration. An example of a refinery hydrocracker reactor is illustrated in Figure 7.7a. 6. Fluidized-bed catalytic reactors. In fluidized-bed reactors, solid material in the form of fine particles is held in suspension by the upward flow of the reacting fluid. The effect of the rapid motion of the particles is good heat transfer and temperature uniformity. This prevents the formation of the hot spots that can occur with fixed-bed reactors. The performance of fluidized-bed reactors is not approximated by either the mixed-flow or plug-flow idealized models. The solid phase tends to be in mixed-flow, but the bubbles lead to the gas phase behaving more like plugflow. Overall, the performance of a fluidized-bed reactor often lies somewhere between the mixed-flow and plugflow models. In addition to the advantage of high heat transfer rates, fluidized beds are also useful in situations where catalyst particles need frequent regeneration. Under these circumstances, particles can be removed continuously from the reactor bed, regenerated and recycled back to the bed. In exothermic reactions, the recycling of catalyst can be used to remove heat from the reactor, or in endothermic reactions, it can be used to add heat. One disadvantage of fluidized beds, as discussed previously, is that attrition of the catalyst can cause the generation of catalyst fines, which are then carried over from the bed and lost from the system. This carryover of catalyst fines sometimes necessitates cooling the reactor effluent through direct contact heat transfer by mixing with a cold fluid, since the fines tend to foul conventional heat exchangers. Figure 7.7b shows the essential features of a refinery catalytic cracker. Large molar mass hydrocarbon molecules are made to crack into smaller hydrocarbon molecules in the presence of a solid catalyst. The liquid hydrocarbon feed is atomized as it enters the catalytic cracking reactor and is mixed with the catalyst particles being carried by a flow of steam or light hydrocarbon gas. The mixture is carried up the riser and the reaction is essentially complete at the top of the riser. However, the reaction is accompanied by the deposition of carbon (coke) on the surface of the catalyst. The catalyst is separated from the gaseous products at the top of the reactor. The gaseous products leave the reactor

close to steady state. However, if frequent regeneration is required, then fixed beds are not suitable, and under these circumstances, a moving bed or a fluidized bed is preferred, as will be discussed later. Gas–liquid mixtures are sometimes reacted in catalytic packed beds. Different contacting methods for gas–liquid reactions have been discussed in Section 7.3. 4. Fixed-bed noncatalytic reactors. Fixed-bed noncatalytic reactors can be used to react a gas and a solid. For example, hydrogen sulfide can be removed from fuel gases by reaction with ferric oxide: Fe2 O3 + 3H2 S hydrogen sulfide ferricoxide −− −→ Fe2 S3 + 3H2 O ferricsulfide

The ferric oxide is regenerated using air: 2Fe2 S3 + 3O2 − − 2Fe2 O3 + 6S −→ Two fixed-bed reactors can be used in parallel, one reacting and the other regenerating. However, there are many disadvantages in carrying out this type of reaction in a packed bed. The operation is not under steady state conditions, and this can present control problems. Eventually, the bed must be taken off line to replace the solid. Fluidized beds (to be discussed later) are usually preferred for gas–solid noncatalytic reactions. Fixed-bed reactors in the form of gas absorption equipment are used commonly for noncatalytic gas–liquid reactions. Here, the packed bed serves only to give good contact between the gas and liquid. Both cocurrent and countercurrent operation are used. Countercurrent operation gives the highest reaction rates. Cocurrent operation is preferred if a short liquid residence time is required or if the gas flowrate is so high that countercurrent operation is difficult. For example, hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide can be removed from natural gas by reaction with monoethanolamine in an absorber, according to the following reactions6 HOCH2 CH2 NH2 + H2 S hydrogen monoethanolamine sulfide −−→ HOCH2 CH2 NH3 HS −− ←−− monoethanolamine hydrogen sulfide HOCH2 CH2 NH2 + CO2 + H2 O monoethanolamine carbon dioxide −−→ HOCH2 CH2 NH3 HCO3 −− ←−− monoethanolamine hydrogen carbonate