Chemical Engineering Research & Design, Vol.125, 166-180, 2017
Simultaneous design of separation sequences and whole process energy integration
This paper presents a novel methodology for the optimisation of the preliminary design of heat-integrated multicomponent distillation sequences. This is achieved through use of a reduced process superstructure where the role of splitting each adjacent key component pair is assigned to an individual separation column, greatly reducing the size and complexity of the problem. This methodology uses information about other process streams on site with which heat can be exchanged within the initial design in order to find a plant-wide optimal separation configuration with the aim of reducing the cost of heating provided by utilities including those used for heating and cooling process streams. In order that this model can be formulated as a mixed-integer linear program, this model utilises a discretised temperature grid where stream temperatures are allowed to vary. This methodology was tested on an example of a mixed alkane feed stream, with the sequence changing dependent on the degree of process integration. The method was found to have the potential for significant cost reductions compared to a heuristic design, with the example exhibiting a cost saving of over 50% and a reduction in CO2 associated with process heating of almost 60%, though the magnitude of these savings is highly dependent on the specific example to which it is applied. (C) 2017 Institution of Chemical Engineers. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.