Advanced Distillation Final Report

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The Advanced Distillation project was concluded on December 31, 2009. This U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funded project was completed successfully and within budget during a timeline approved by DOE project managers, which included a one year extension to the initial ending date. The subject technology, Microchannel Process Technology (MPT) distillation, was expected to provide both capital and operating cost savings compared to conventional distillation technology. With efforts from Velocys and its project partners, MPT distillation was successfully demonstrated at a laboratory scale and its energy savings potential was calculated. While many objectives established at the beginning of the project ... continued below

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Fanelli, Maddalena; Arora, Ravi; Tonkovich, Annalee; Marco, Jennifer & Rode, Ed March 24, 2010.

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Description

The Advanced Distillation project was concluded on December 31, 2009. This U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funded project was completed successfully and within budget during a timeline approved by DOE project managers, which included a one year extension to the initial ending date. The subject technology, Microchannel Process Technology (MPT) distillation, was expected to provide both capital and operating cost savings compared to conventional distillation technology. With efforts from Velocys and its project partners, MPT distillation was successfully demonstrated at a laboratory scale and its energy savings potential was calculated. While many objectives established at the beginning of the project were met, the project was only partially successful. At the conclusion, it appears that MPT distillation is not a good fit for the targeted separation of ethane and ethylene in large-scale ethylene production facilities, as greater advantages were seen for smaller scale distillations. Early in the project, work involved flowsheet analyses to discern the economic viability of ethane-ethylene MPT distillation and develop strategies for maximizing its impact on the economics of the process. This study confirmed that through modification to standard operating processes, MPT can enable net energy savings in excess of 20%. This advantage was used by ABB Lumus to determine the potential impact of MPT distillation on the ethane-ethylene market. The study indicated that a substantial market exists if the energy saving could be realized and if installed capital cost of MPT distillation was on par or less than conventional technology. Unfortunately, it was determined that the large number of MPT distillation units needed to perform ethane-ethylene separation for world-scale ethylene facilities, makes the targeted separation a poor fit for the technology in this application at the current state of manufacturing costs. Over the course of the project, distillation experiments were performed with the targeted mixture, ethane-ethylene, as well as with analogous low relative volatility systems: cyclohexane-hexane and cyclopentane-pentane. Devices and test stands were specifically designed for these efforts. Development progressed from experiments and models considering sections of a full scale device to the design, fabrication, and operation of a single-channel distillation unit with integrated heat transfer. Throughout the project, analytical and numerical models and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations were validated with experiments in the process of developing this platform technology. Experimental trials demonstrated steady and controllable distillation for a variety of process conditions. Values of Height-to-an-Equivalent Theoretical Plate (HETP) ranging from less than 0.5 inch to a few inches were experimentally proven, demonstrating a ten-fold performance enhancement relative to conventional distillation. This improvement, while substantial, is not sufficient for MPT distillation to displace very large scale distillation trains. Fortunately, parallel efforts in the area of business development have yielded other applications for MPT distillation, including smaller scale separations that benefit from the flowsheet flexibility offered by the technology. Talks with multiple potential partners are underway. Their outcome will also help determine the path ahead for MPT distillation.

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  • Report No.: DOE/FC3604GO14271-Final
  • Grant Number: FC36-04GO14271
  • DOI: 10.2172/1000368 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1000368
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc847154

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • March 24, 2010

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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Fanelli, Maddalena; Arora, Ravi; Tonkovich, Annalee; Marco, Jennifer & Rode, Ed. Advanced Distillation Final Report, report, March 24, 2010; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847154/: accessed December 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.