Chemical Engineering Research & Design, Vol.144, 512-519, 2019
Optimal operation of a dividing wall column using an enhanced active vapor distributor
During dividing wall column (DWC) operation, the liquid and vapor split ratios must be actively tuned to maximize the energy-saving potential for the desired separation process. However, no active vapor split control devices have been reported to be installed in existing industrial DWCs. Therefore, the enhanced active vapor distributor (EAVD) has been developed to overcome the existing problems in controlling the vapor split ratio in DWCs. In the EAVD, the opening area for the vapor flow is tuned by altering the liquid level of a modified chimney tray. The liquid level can be adjusted by operating the control valve in each section of the DWC. In this study, a laboratory-scale EAVD was tested under a number of experimental conditions to validate its reliability for controlling the vapor flow associated with its pressure drop behavior in a DWC. The results showed that the use of an EAVD allowed the pressure drop differences in the above mass transfer section to be compensated, and the desired vapor split ratio could be achieved during operation. Furthermore, modification of the existing DWCs can be easily accomplished by substituting the current chimney tray with the EAVD, improving the operability and flexibility of DWCs. (C) 2019 Institution of Chemical Engineers. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.