Economic and environmental reasons have led to process intensifications in the process industries. Reactive distillation is the most prominent example. However, often it is a challenge to satisfy the requirement for sufficient catalyst volume for the reaction while providing the interfacial area needed for mass transfer. The combination of a reactive distillation column with a pre-reactor is a valuable alternative. This paper presents an approach to identify promising designs for such flowsheets and the optimum distribution of the reaction extent between the pre-reactor and the reactive distillation column. The methodology uses a boundary value method for the design of the column; chemical equilibrium is assumed. The column usually consists of a reactive "core", two rectifying sections, and one stripping section. The methodology will be demonstrated for the production of ethyl-tert-butyl- ether (ETBE). © 2007 American Chemical Society.
- Mass transfer
- Reactive distillation