Design, economics, and plantwide control of a glycerol-tert-butyl alcohol (TBA) etherification plant are presented. The reaction takes place in liquid phase, in a plug flow reactor, using Amberlyst 15 as a catalyst. The products' separation is achieved by two distillation columns where high-purity ethers are obtained and a section involving extractive distillation with 1,4-butanediol as solvent, which separates TBA from the TBA/water azeotrope. Details of design performed in AspenPlus and an economic evaluation of the process are given. Three plantwide control structures are examined using a mass balance model of the plant. The preferred control structure fixes the fresh glycerol flow rate and the ratio glycerol + monoether: TBA at reactor-inlet. The stability and robustness in the operation are checked by rigorous dynamic simulation in AspenDynamics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Environmental Science(all)