Acetic Acid directly packed with these pellets, which played the role of both catalyst and packing.
Water is fed at the top of the reactive section and methyl acetate is introduced at the bottom of the reactive section. The column is operated under total reflux of methyl acetate-methanol azeotrope. The stripping section strips all the methyl acetate and the bottom product is essentially free of methyl acetate. The bottom product, which now contains only methanol, water, and acetic acid, can be easily separated using two distillation columns in series giving methanol and acetic acid as products. Thus, this process eliminates two main pieces of equipment from the conventional process: first the water wash column for the separation of methanol from methyl acetate and second the methanol enriching column for recovery of water-diluted methanol. Conversions of about 99 % are achieved in this process. The estimated energy savings for this process are 50% of that of the conventional process. The reaction also has been investigated using a fluidized bed RD column in which catalyst particles are kept suspended over a distillation tray .
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