Main content area

Dynamic Performance Optimization of a Pilot-Scale Reactive Distillation Process by Economics Optimizing Control

Haßkerl, Daniel, Lindscheid, Clemens, Subramanian, Sankaranarayanan, Markert, Steven, Górak, Andrzej, Engell, Sebastian
Industrial & engineering chemistry process design and development 2018 v.57 no.36 pp. 12165-12181
case studies, catalytic activity, distillation, economics, models, process control, process design, transesterification
The most prominent example of process intensification by process integration is reactive distillation (RD), which can realize a high reactant conversion and a high purity of the target product in equilibrium-limited reaction systems. Reactive distillation is mostly used for single reactions, but realizations for multiple-reaction systems leading to more than one target product can also be found. In multipurpose chemical processes, the target product of a multiple-reaction system can be switched during the production. When combining fluid separation and multiple-reaction systems, e.g., in a RD column, it is challenging to find operating conditions that lead to the most profitable operation of the process. Economics optimizing control where an economic objective is employed in a model-predictive control framework has the potential to drive the process to the economic optimum during operation based upon a process model and online measurements. However, so far only few applications of such advanced process control (APC) concepts to reactive distillation processes have been realized and these do not concern multiple-reaction systems. In this contribution, we describe the application of economics optimizing control to a multiproduct RD process. The selected case study is a homogeneously catalyzed two-step transesterification reaction that is performed in a RD column in pilot-plant scale.