Simplified Methodology for the Design and Optimization of Thermally Coupled Reactive Distillation Systems Academic Article uri icon


  • New intensified schemes have been recently proposed as an attempt to reduce energy requirements and equipment costs in reaction-separation processes. A design methodology for thermally coupled reactive distillation systems is proposed in this work. To design the columns, a method based on the Fenske-Underwood-Gilliland (FUG) equations is proposed and tested. The FUG equations, the mass and energy balances, and the phase equilibrium equations are used to formulate the model of the intensified systems. Such a model is then solved as a nonlinear programming problem; the objective function is the minimization of the heat duty in the column. Biodiesel production through the esterification of oleic acid with supercritical methanol is used as a case study. Results show the feasibility of obtaining designs with low energy requirements by using the proposed methodology. Because of nonconvexities present in the formulation, the estimated interlinking flows for the reactive Petlyuk column might not correspond to a minimum for energy requirements. Nevertheless, the resulting designs not only show low heat duties, with a difference of less than 2% from that minimum, but also have the capacity of achieving the desired conversion and purities. 2012 American Chemical Society.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Israel Gomez-Castro, F., Rico-Ramirez, V., Gabriel Segovia-Hernandez, J., Hernandez-Castro, S., Gonzalez-Alatorre, G., & El-Halwagi, M. M.

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • Israel Gomez-Castro, Fernando||Rico-Ramirez, Vicente||Gabriel Segovia-Hernandez, Juan||Hernandez-Castro, Salvador||Gonzalez-Alatorre, Guillermo||El-Halwagi, Mahmoud M

publication date

  • September 2012