Energy considerations in distillation

Megan Jobson, A. Gorak (Editor), E. Sorensen (Editor)

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Distillation processes are major industrial energy consumers, typically requiring significant amounts of heat in the reboiler and rejecting similar amounts of heat from the condenser, but at a lower temperature, limiting the potential for heat recovery. It is explained how energy-efficient design and operation of distillation processes can reduce their operating costs and environmental impact. Relationships between quantity and quality (i.e. temperature) of distillation heating and cooling requirements and process economics, environmental impact, etc. are outlined.The impact of significant variables in design and operation of simple distillation columns, such as column operating pressure, feed condition and number of theoretical stages, on energy efficiency is explored. Current practice for energy-efficient design and operation is described, considering columns operating both above and below ambient temperatures.The role of heat exchange, for heat recovery to reduce demand for heating and cooling utilities, is explained and related to the design and operation of distillation columns for energy efficiency.Various advanced and complex distillation column configurations that have been developed to enhance energy efficiency are introduced, including double-effect distillation, vapor recompression, intermediate heating and cooling, thermally coupled columns and internally heat-integrated columns. These columns aim to take advantage of the effects of column operating pressure on operating temperatures, on the impact of quality of energy on operating cost and of improvements in the thermodynamic efficiency of distillation processes.Some industrial applications of energy-efficient distillation and areas of ongoing research addressing energy efficiency in distillation are noted.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDistillation
    Subtitle of host publicationFundamentals and Principles
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherElsevier BV
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014

    Publication series

    PublisherAcademic Press (Elsevier)


    • Distillation design; Double-effect distillation (two-pressure distillation); Energy efficiency; Heat integration; Heat pumping (compression refrigeration, vapor recompression); Heating and cooling duties; Intermediate heating and cooling (side-reboiler, side-condenser); Internally heat-integrated distillation; Prefractionation (dividing wall column); Thermal coupling (side-stripper, side-rectifier)


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