Conceptual methods for synthesis of reactive distillation processes: recent developments and perspectives

Anton A. Kiss, Rahma Muthia, Isabel Pazmiño-Mayorga, Jan Harmsen, Megan Jobson, Xin Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Reactive distillation (RD) is a process intensification technique that offers major advantages over conventional technologies by enabling the integration of reaction and separation into a single apparatus. This integration introduces and exploits complex interaction between mass transfer, chemical reaction and hydrodynamics within an RD column; however, these complexities can hinder the adoption of RD by industry. Many approaches have been developed by the scientific community to advance understanding and to expedite the initialization of RD design at the conceptual level. This paper critically discusses recent developments in conceptual methods for synthesizing RD processes. This review paper is the first to consider the range of available approaches for assessing the technical feasibility, controllability, economic viability, and sustainability of RD units by taking into account various configurations in which RD is treated as a new unit operation, and as part of process synthesis in a different way of designing processes based on functions. The review also addresses complex configurations, such as advanced RD technologies. Special attention is paid to process modeling and simulation as well as to education. Knowledge gaps to be filled by further research are indicated.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • conceptual design
  • process synthesis
  • reactive distillation
  • technology selection


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