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The Scaleup of Structured Packing from Distillation Pilot Plant Testing to Commercial Application
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Structured packing is being utilized more and more in the process industry for increased efficiency, greater capacity, and energy savings in distillation columns. Pilot plant testing of the actual chemical system using commercially available structured packing is invaluable, but years of experience in pilot plant testing have shown that scaleup to successful commercial designs is a complicated process. In this paper an actual case history is cited as an example of the problems and benefits of conducting pilot plant tests which set the commercial design bases for a distillation train. The actual pilot plant testing involved a different structured packing type and blocked out operations to simulate a large number of theoretical stages. The pilot plant results verified the thermodynamic data to a high confidence level. As a result, the initial commercial installation of structured packing was started immediately. The actual installation and the startup are covered with a discussion of the energy savings and quality improvement which were obtained by replacing trays with the packing. Another case of retrofit testing in the new Koch Development Pilot Plant is discussed indicating other areas for attention to detail.
Berven, O. J.; Ulowetz, M. A. (1986). The Scaleup of Structured Packing from Distillation Pilot Plant Testing to Commercial Application. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu). Available electronically from