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Publication Title | Innovations for Process Intensification in the Process Industry

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Innovations for Process Intensification in the Process Industry

S.V. Sivakumar, N. Kaistha, D.P. Rao*

Department of Chemical Engineering

Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Kanpur 208 016, INDIA.

Abstract

Our recent work on innovations for process intensification for distillation, adsorption, trickle-bed reactors, absorption, extraction and reactive distillation is presented. The key to process intensification lies in novel designs that substantially enhance mass transfer rates for equipment miniaturization and that combine distinct tasks such as reaction and separation for improved overall performance. A modification to existing rotating packed bed (HIGEE) is described using which the HETP reduces by an order of magnitude. Thus the complete column section in a distillation column can be miniaturized to fit inside a reboiler. The use of the modified rotating packed bed for the hydrogenation of α-methyl styrene gave an experimentally measured 60 fold increase in the reaction rate over conventional trickle-bed reactors. A two-bed simulated moving-bed pressure swing adsorption scheme incorporating reflux to separate a binary gas mixture into pure products and a moving-port system that realizes countercurrent flow for adsorption is also described. For extraction and absorption processes, the use of immobilized solvents as a means for enhancing throughputs is proposed. A brief overview of reactive distillation technology and its miniaturization using HIGEE is presented. Our recent results are extremely encouraging and suggest that process equipment / plants miniaturization is achievable in the near future.

Keywords: Process intensification, HIGEE, Simulated moving beds, Reactive distillation.

* Corresponding author - email: dprao@iitk.ac.in; Phone: +91-512-2597873; Fax: +91-512-2590104. 1

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