Chinese Journal of Chemical Engineering, Vol.23, No.11, 1840-1850, 2015
Design of reactive distillation processes for the production of butyl acrylate: Impact of bio-based raw materials
The chemical industry is nowadays predominantly using fossil raw materials, but the alternative use of bio-based resources is investigated to account for the foreseeable scarcity of fossil feedstocks. A main challenge of using bio-based feedstocks is the complexity of the impurity profile. For an economic production of bio-based chemicals, the use of intensified processes is inevitable and approaches are needed for the various process intensification techniques to identify their applicability to be used for the production of bio-based components. In the presented study, an approach is shown for the reactive distillation (RD) technology to identify the most critical bio-based impurities and their impact on the reactive distillation process. The investigated case-study is the production of n-butyl acrylate from acrylic acid and n-butanol. Among all initially identified impurities, the key impurities, having the biggest impact on the product purity in the reactive distillation process, are found. These impurities are then studied in more detail and an operating window depending on the impurity concentration is identified for the reactive distillation column. Furthermore, an integrated design of upstream and downstream processes is facilitated, as the presented results can be used in the development of the fermentation processes for the production of the bio-based reactants by decreasing the concentration of the critical impurities. (C) 2015 The Chemical Industry and Engineering Society of China, and Chemical Industry Press. All rights reserved.