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Economic optimization of heat pump-assisted distillation columns in methanol-water separation

Shahandeh, Hossein, Jafari, Mina, Kasiri, Norollah, Ivakpour, Javad
Energy 2015 v.80 pp. 496-508
algorithms, distillation, energy, heat, streams, vapors
Finding efficient alternative to CDiC (Conventional Distillation Column) for methanol-water separation has been an attractive field of study in literature. In this work, five heat pump-assisted schemes are proposed and compared to each other to find the optimal one; (1) VRC (Vapor Recompression Column), (2) external HIDiC (Heat-Integrated Distillation Column), (3) intensified HIDiC with feed preheater, (4) double compressor intensified HIDiC-1, and (5) double compressor intensified HIDiC-2. GA (Genetic Algorithm) is then implemented for optimization of the schemes when TAC (Total Annual Cost) is its objective function. During optimization, two new variables are added for using only appropriate amount of the overhead stream in VRC and double compressor intensified HIDiCs, and another new binary variable is also used for considering feed preheating. Although TAC of the intensified HIDiC with feed preheater is found higher than CDiC by 25.0%, all optimal VRC, external HIDiC, double compressor intensified HIDiCs schemes are reached lower optimal TAC by 3.1%, 27.2%, 24.4%, and 34.2%. Introduced for the first time, the optimal scheme is the double compressor intensified HIDiC-2 with 34.2% TAC saving, 70.4% TEC (Total Energy Consumption) reduction with payback period of 3.30 years.