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Design and Operation of a Heterogeneous Dehydration Column


J. Ulrich, M. Morari

vol. AUT00-05

Lonza AG, Visp, operates a heterogeneous distillation column in the purification line of the product MBI. The task of the heterogeneous distillation column is to dewater MBI using MTBE as light entrainer. The feed contains about 2 mass-% water, as well as traces of acetone. The feed also contains some very heavy-boiling impurities. The specification of the column is that the MBI product stream should contain less than 0.05 mass-% water.

The following issues were addressed in this project:

  • Determine the feasible operating range (e.g. feed conditions) for the present column.
  • Find out if operational problems may arise either at the present or at anticipated operating conditions.
  • Propose design modifications and alternate operating strategies to avoid operational problems.
  • Validate the findings at the pilot plant facility at Lonza AG, Visp
  • Deduce general conclusions about the design and operation of this rather common separation operation (light entrainer to remove water from heavy product).
  • Learn about the general value of considering issues of control and operation at the design stage rather than afterwards as is traditionally done.

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    (04)Technical Report

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    % Autogenerated BibTeX entry
    @TechReport { UlrMor:2000:IFA_5,
        author={J. Ulrich and M. Morari},
        title={{Design and Operation of a Heterogeneous Dehydration Column}},
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