There are many types of reactive distillation systems because several types of reactions are carried out in reactive columns. There are also several types of process structures that are used, some with recycle of an excess reactant and others without any reactant recycle.
9.2.1 Single-Feed Reactions
Reactions with a single reactant producing two products are easy to design and control because there is no need to balance the stoichiometry:
Only one reactant is fed to the column. The two products are removed out the two ends of the column. Olefin metathesis is an example of this type of reactive distillation column. Figure 9.2 illustrates this system and gives an effective control scheme. A C5 olefin reacts to form a light C4 olefin, which is removed in the distillate, and a heavy C6 olefin, which is removed in the bottoms. The two temperature controllers are used to maintain conversion and product quality. The production rate is set by a feed flow controller.
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