Asymmetric ethers such as Cyclopentyl methyl ether (CPME) found their application as alternative solvents in technology; they are often labeled as “green solvents” as they can be prepared using renewable feedstock. They are almost immiscible with water and can be easily regenerated. Based on earlier experiments with CPME preparation in laboratory conditions and the estimated product yields, initial assessment of reaction mixture separation train was performed, for the chosen production capacity of 100 kg.h-1 of CPME. Following suitable thermodynamic model selection, basic analyses in Aspen Plus software were executed to estimate potential azeotropic points and to adjust the separation train operation to avoid their formation. Reactor effluent containing eight chemical species was subjected to multiple separation steps including extraction and several rectifications including one vapor phase compression step to yield saleable products with sufficient purity and unreacted chemicals recyclable to the reactor. Basic simulations were performed to find optimal working conditions of individual columns and to estimate the associated energy needs. Basic design, without any heat or work integration measures, required total heating duty of 787 kW and total cooling duty of 614 kW. This yielded specific heat consumption of 28.3 GJ per ton of the main product (CPME) which is unacceptably high as it represents around 70 % of its chemical energy content (heating value). Further research will be devoted to reducing heating and cooling duty by integrated separation train design development to comply with reduced carbon footprint mandatory for syntheses and separations of green solvents.
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Initial Assessment of Separation Train Design and Utilities Consumption for Cyclopentyl Methyl Ether Production
Published: 26 October 2023 by MDPI in 4th International Electronic Conference on Applied Sciences session Energy, Environmental and Earth Science
Keywords: Keywords: green solvents; separation; heating duty; rectification; carbon footprint