Reactive Distillation ETBE Process Without Ethanol Recycle

A reactive distillation process for ETBE synthesis would utilise the same principles as the MTBE process and should yield the same benefits of increased conversion, increased energy efficiency and reduced capital cost. The majority of the reaction (say, 80%) would be performed in an isothermal, tubular reactor operating at moderate conditions of temperature (around 90°C) and pressure (1500-2000 kPa to ensure all components remain in the liquid phase). The feed to the reactive distillation column would, therefore, be rich in ETBE but still contain some ethanol and isobutene. The products from the bottoms and overheads of the reactive distillation column would be ETBE with some ethanol, and non-reactive hydrocarbon with a small amount of isobutene and ethanol, respectively. The distillate product may or may not require further processing depending on its composition and the refinery configuration. This scheme is shown in Figure 6.4 without ethanol recovery equipment.

l^j m liquid-liquid extractor and ethanol recovery column eliminated

Figure 6.3 - Conventional ETBE Synthesis Route Without Elhanol Rccvcle

FlE5T=n

80% conversion of isobutylene

reactive

zone

Figure 6.4 - Reactive Distillation Process for ETBE Without Ethanol Recycle

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