Chemical Engineering and Processing, Vol.76, 70-82, 2014
Hybrid membrane and conventional processes comparison for isoamyl acetate production
Four process alternatives for the production of isoamyl acetate, by the liquid phase esterification of acetic acid with isoamyl alcohol, were evaluated by simulation in terms of product purity, energy integration and economics. The analysis involves a transition from conventional (two structures that use acetic acid or alcohol in excess) to hybrid membrane process (two distillation-pervaporation hybrid systems). Acetate recovery is identified as a crucial factor to minimize energy costs in all considered processes. For conventional processes, the amount of energy required for separation, at low acetate recovery levels, is considerably lower if acetic acid is used in excess. For the hybrid processes, there is an optimum value of acetate recovery that minimizes the total required heat duty and membrane area. Hybrid distillation-pervaporation process allows obtaining the specified product purity with lower energy requirements and more economical tradeoffs than the considered conventional processes. The economic optimum design maximizes energy savings and minimizes total annualized costs. After optimization and energy integration, the best process alternative includes, in a hybrid system, one packed bed reactor, two pervaporation units and a distillation column. (c) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.