Process Design and Optimization

While process synthesis gives good qualitative reference points, for industrial implementation we need quantitative results, which are as exact as possible. The development of a program called Designer to simulate reactive rectification was therefore a further major focus of the first EU project.

Firstly, process synthesis is used to determine whether RD is feasible and, if so, the configuration required (second feed point, combination of reactive and non-reactive zones). This provides first initial values and thus a good starting point for deriving a zero-design using the stage model. The results from the stage model in turn give usable initial values for refinement using the mass-transfer model. Apart from the stepwise change in the level of detail in the model, it is also possible to systematically match the solution tools to one another:

After the introductory estimate, a first profile can be determined by the relaxation method that gives initial values sufficiently good for the subsequent use of a rigorous method of solution (Fig. 2.7).

Fig. 2.8 shows an example of process simulation using the mass-transfer model and kinetic starting points for the reaction. The simulation and experiment results are shown for the preparation of MTBE from isobutene and methanol. This is an

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