Energy Efficient Bioethanol Purification by Heat Pump Assisted Extractive Distillation

Anton A. Kiss, Hao Luo, Costin Sorin Bildea

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Citations (Scopus)


The purification of bioethanol fuel requires an energy demanding separation process to concentrate the diluted streams obtained in the fermentation stage and to overcome the azeotropic behaviour of ethanol-water mixture. The classic separation sequence consists of three distillation columns that carry out several energy demanding tasks: pre-concentration of ethanol, extractive distillation and solvent recovery. To solve this problem, we propose a novel heat pump assisted extractive distillation process taking place in a dividing-wall column (DWC). In this configuration, the ethanol top vapour stream of the extractive DWC is recompressed from atmospheric pressure to over 3.1. bar (thus to a higher temperature) and used to drive the side reboiler of the DWC, which is responsible for the water vaporization. The results show that the specific energy requirements drop from 2.07 kWh/kg (classic sequence) to only 1.24 kWh/kg ethanol (VRC assisted extractive DWC), thus energy savings of over 40 % and 24 % reduced total annual costs are possible, as compared to the conventional process.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComputer Aided Chemical Engineering
PublisherElsevier B.V.
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameComputer Aided Chemical Engineering
ISSN (Print)1570-7946


  • Dividing-wall column
  • Energy savings
  • Extractive distillation
  • Heat pump

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Computer Science Applications

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