Enhanced process for energy efficient extraction of 1,3-butadiene from a crude C4 cut

Jeremy Mantingh, Anton Kiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


1,3-butadiene is an essential platform chemical for producing rubberlike polymers, which is extracted from C4 hydrocarbons that are produced through steam cracking. The current state of-the-art technology is the BASF process that uses thermally coupled extractive distillation (ED) followed by two distillation columns. However, the process requires high temperature heat input, thus high cost hot utility and reduces the possibility for process heat integration. To solve these issues, this study proposes novel enhancements: the ED part is modified with intermediate heating and the classic columns are replaced with a heat pump assisted dividing wall column (DWC). Rigorous simulations were carried out in Aspen Plus for a typical ED process. The intermediate reboiler system is designed to maximize the possible process heat recovery. The results show that the heat pump assisted DWC is able to reduce the energy intensity of the classic distillation section of the BASF process by 54.8% and reduces the total annual costs by 29.9%. Additionally, the intermediate reboiler reduces the energy intensity of the ED section by 8.3% while also reducing the CAPEX of the system due to the need for a smaller recycle compressor. In combination, these modifications are able to achieve up to a 21% reduction in the energy intensity of the overall process, with a payback time of 1 year.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSeparation and Purification Technology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 19 Mar 2021


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