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Absorption column design

Absorption column design

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Assignment 2

Absorption Column

Design

Robin Kwan 20892346

Anton Gustavson 20912564

Due 20/10/2014 5pm

Our liquid gas absorption column will strip an 8% CO

2

mole feed to 3%

mole CO

2

. This process will follow an equilibrium curve defined by

Y=0.3422X

2

+1.2604X. The solvent chosen was propylene carbonate

which will flow at a flow rate of 1.146x10

6

mol/hr. The absorption

column will be randomly packed by 50mm metal pall rings, at a column

diameter of 0.948m. The local mass transfer coefficient for liquid phase

was calculated to be 6.9x10

-4

m/s, while the local mass transfer

coefficient for vapour phase was 2.429x10

-5

kmol/barm

2

s. The number

of gas transfer units required was 3, while the height of a liquid and gas

transfer unit was 0.633m and 2.578m respectively. The total packing

height used will be 9.33m which will be subdivided into two equal.

sections.

1

1 Project description

This gas absorption column is designed to strip

an 8% mole CO

2

gas stream to less than 3%

mole CO

2

. It is assumed the initial solvent is

clean of any CO

2

before it enters the

absorption process. The table below shows the

relevant data of our feed and exit streams.

Volumetric flow rate, V 25 MMscfd

Temperature, T 298K

Pressure, P 6900 kPa

Feed gas carbon dioxide

mole fraction, y

1

0.08

Product gas carbon dioxide

mole fraction, y

2

0.03

Solvent initial carbon

dioxide mole fraction, x

2

0

Table 1 Project stream data

The following table shows the properties of

the fluid.

Properties of Propylene Glycol

Molecular

weight

102.09 kg/kmol

Density 1198 kg/m

3

Viscosity 0.009345 Ns/m

2

Properties of Vapour

Molecular

weight

19.18 kg/kmol

Density 51.37 kg/m

3

Viscosity 5.98 x 10

-5

Ns/m

2

Properties of individual gas

Molecular

weight of CO

2

44.01 kg/kmol

Molecular

weight of CH

4

16.04 kg/kmol

Table 2 Properties of fluid

2 Solvent selection

Propylene Glycol was chosen because of its

higher carbon dioxide solubility. Water was

rejected due to its relatively low solubility and

acidity with carbon dioxide. Selecting water

could cause problems in the design phase

where material selection is limited due to its

corrosiveness. By comparing Henrys Law

between the two organic compounds, the

solubility of carbon dioxide in propylene

carbonate exceeds the solubility in propylene

glycol (Gui, Tang, Fei, 2010).

3 Minimum required liquid-to-gas

(L

s

/V

s

) ratio

Firstly, the equilibrium curve for CO

2

must be

found. The equilibrium curve was constructed

through Henrys Law.

To be able to plot the equilibrium curve in

mole ratio graph, it was needed to convert the

above equation. The relationship between

mole ratio and mole fraction are given as:

Substituting this relationship into original

equilibrium equation and it became:

With arbitrary equilibrium data X, we obtained

the corresponding Y value. The some

equilibrium data was tabulated below:

2

Table 3 Equilibrium curve data

These values were then used to plot the

equilibrium curve. The plotted curve is shown

in Figure 1. Using polynomial trend line on

excel, the following formula was derived.

The last term was disregarded because it was

very close to zero. Thus the equation of the

trend line simply became:

The equation for min Ls/Vs ratio

(

X* was obtained by substituting Y

1

as Y in the

trend line equation.

Calculating the min(

):

(

4 Actual solvent circulation rate

Converting volume flow rate of feed gas

The volume flow rate was given as 25

MMscfd and this is in American standard

condition at 14.7 psia and 60

o

F (Chelcalc, n.d.).

So to convert that volume flow rate to our

operating flow rate, the equation below was

used.

Figure 2

Figure 1 Graph showing the equilibrium curve, minimum Ls/Vs line and operating line

3

[

]

Molar flow rate of feed in gas (V

f

)

Applying Ideal gas law:

]

Converting to molar flow rate:

]

Molar flow rate of solute free basis (V

s

)

]

Actual solvent flow rate (Ls)

It was found out earlier that:

(

)

Thus we can calculate the minimum required

solvent flow rate:

]

It is stated that the actual solvent circulation is 1.2

times the minimum required. Therefore:

]

5 Selection of random packing

material

We selected a packing size of 50mm due to the

calculated column diameter. Smaller packing

sizes are more expensive while a packing size

that is too large leads to poor liquid

distribution (Sinnot 2003). It is recommended

to follow the recommended sizing in the table

below.

Figure 2 Recommended packing size ranges (Sinnott

2003, pg. 592)

Since propylene carbonate has a pH of 7

(Huntsman 2010) we are not restricted to

choosing materials based on their potential

corrosiveness in the solvent. Typically packing

material is often made of cheap and inert

plastics such as polypropylene, ceramic or

metal. Originally the packing was designed in

Raschig rings or Berl saddles, although more

modern advancements have seen the use of

Pall rings. Other modern designs include

Intalox saddles, Super Intalox and Hypac

packings.

The material was selected by comparing the

materials specific properties and the

constraints of the system. High pressure

systems could make plastic packing

structurally unsound, so that was excluded

quickly. 50mm metal Pall rings were selected

over 50mm ceramic Pall rings due to having a

higher void fraction which allows more space

for liquid/gas transfer. Although 50mm

ceramic pall rings have a slightly larger

specific packing surface area, this was not

deemed significant enough compared to the

large changes in the void fraction (Benitez

2009). The Pall ring design was chosen

because of their increased liquid-gas interface

and free area when compared to Rashig rings,

while being cheaper than other saddle designs.

6 Number of overall gas transfer

units

Equation for calculating number of overall gas

transfer units (N

OY

) are given as:

4

The above was simplified further due to the

straight operating and equilibrium lines, and it

became:

Where,

To be able to utilise the above equations,

and

(hence

and

They were obtained from the equilibrium

curve as well. The actual Ls/Vs ratio was

simply:

)

Then

Once

was

obtained as well from the equilibrium curve.

Next, the

to

mole fraction. The same method was used to

find

These values were then substituted back to

find the log mean driving force:

Calculating the gas transfer unit,

:

Table 4 Design data for various packings

5

7 Height of liquid phase transfer

unit

Ondas method was used to find the

correlations for the film mass-transfer

coefficient (k

G

& k

L

) and effective wetted area

of the packing (a

w

). These values are needed to

calculate the height of liquid and gas transfer

unit (H

L

& H

G

).

Effective wetted area(a

w

)

[(

]

Where,

]

Some of the surface tensions for common

packing materials are given below:

Figure 3 Surface tension of typical packing material

(Sinnott 2003, pg. 601)

Then, a

w

became:

[ (

]

Liquid diffusivity (D

L

)

Where,

2

at

its normal boiling point. This was obtained

from table given below:

Figure 4 Structural contributions to molar volumes

(Sinnott 2003, pg. 333)

Calculating D

L

:

]

Once liquid diffusivity and effective area was

found, it was then proceeded to find film

mass-transfer coefficient for liquid phase (k

L

).

Film mass transfer coefficient for liquid phase

(k

L

)

]

Height of liquid phase transfer unit (H

L

)

6

Where,

]

Then, H

L

became:

8 Height of gas phase transfer unit

As mentioned earlier, Ondas method was

used to calculate the height of gas phase

transfer unit as well. There are a few key

parameters that need to be determined. They

were vapour diffusivity (D

G

), gas mass flow

rate per unit cross-sectional area (V

W

*) and

film mass transfer coefficient for gas phase

(k

G

).

Vapour diffusivity (D

G

)

[(

Where,

coefficients and their values was obtained

from the table below.

Figure 5 Diffusion volumes of simple molecules

From the table above, the diffusion volume for

CO

2

is given as 26.9 and the diffusion volume

of CH

4

is simply:

By substituting all the known variables, the

gas diffusivity can be calculated:

]

Gas mass flow rate per unit cross-sectional

area (V

W

*)

Where, value for K

4

was obtained from the

graph below.

Figure 6 Generalised pressure drop correlation (Sinnott

2003, pg. 620)

To be able to use the graph, the flow factor

(F

LV

) was needed and it was obtained by the

following equation:

7

This value, along with the design pressure

drop of 21 mmH

2

O/m packed height, was used

to find K

4

=0.25. The selection of pressure drop

will be discussed in Part 4.6.2. Thus,

can be

calculated:

]

Film mass transfer coefficient for gas phase

(k

G

)

Where, K

5

is associated constant. K

5

= 5.23 for

packing sizes above 15mm and 2.00 for sizes

below 15mm. Then, k

G

became:

]

Height of gas phase transfer unit (H

G

)

Where,

]

Then H

G

became:

9 Height of overall gas transfer

unit

The relationship between the overall height of

a transfer unit and individual film transfer unit

is given by:

10 Finding height of packing

required

Equation for total height of packing was

simply:

11 Specifying column diameter

The column internal cross-sectional area was

obtained by the following equation:

12 Expected pressure drop

Entrainment or flooding in an absorption

column is undesirable as it will decrease the

efficiency and increase the pressure drop.

Therefore it is important to design the

absorption column within an acceptable limit.

Flooding can be estimated in terms of

percentage flooding as below:

[

Table of acceptable limit for percentage

flooding for different type packings were

given below (Woods 2007):

Packing type Acceptable flooding

percentage:

Intalox saddles 80%

Raschig rings 60%

Pall rings 90%

Table 5 Acceptable flooding percentage

8

Pressure drop of 21 mmH

2

O/m was chosen for

our design. The K

4

at that pressure drop was

found earlier and to be 0.28 while the K

4

during flooding was 0.52. Then the flooding

percentage became:

[

For Pall rings, this value satisfied the

acceptable flooding percentage of 90%.

Therefore, our chosen pressure drop was

suitable for the design of absorption column.

Converting the unit [mmH

2

O/m] to [Pa/m]:

[

]

[

]

So the total expected pressure drop was:

13 Final design summary

Design temperature 298 K

Design pressure 6900 kPa

Solvent Propylene

carbonate

Solvent flow rate 1.146 x 10

6

mol/hr

Min operating curve

slope

0.827

Operating curve slope 0.993

Packing type Pall rings

Packing size 50 mm

Packing material steel

Number of overall gas

transfer units

3 unit

Height of liquid

transfer unit

0.63 m

Height of gas transfer

unit

2.58 m

Height of overall gas

transfer

3.11 m

Total height of packing 9.33 m

Column internal

diameter

0.95 m

% flooding 69.3 %

Expected pressure

drop

2 kPa

9

14 Process Flow Diagram

Feed

Gas IN

Loaded

Solvent

Stripped

Solvent

Reboiler

Stripper

Gas Liquid

Seperator

Liquid

Reflux

Solvent

Cooler

Clean Gas Out

Heat

Exchanger

Absorption

column

4

1

2

3

Condenser

Stream Molar flow rate (mol/hr) Temperature (K) Pressure (kPa)

1 8.214E+07 298 6900

2 1.138E+08 298 6900

3 1.096E+08 298 6598

4 7.791E+07 298 6598

15 Equipment sketch

10

16 Nomenclature

Symbol Description Unit Symbol Description Unit

Total concentration

Liquid diffusivity

Gas diffusivity

Packing size

Flow factor

for gas phase

Packing factor

for liquid phase

sectional area

coefficients

Viscosity of solvent

Density of solvent

Vapour density

Constant 4

above 15mm, and 2.00 for sizes

below 15mm)

packing material

solvent

Association factor for the

solvent (2.6 for water, 1.9 for

methanol, 1.5 for ethanol and

1.0 for associated solvents)

cross-sectional area

Total pressure

sectional area

Molecular mass of CH

4

Temperature

Molecular mass of CO

2

Mole ratio of CO

2

in liquid

2

in gas

gas

Gravitational constant (9.81)

2

in liquid

boiling point

Mole fraction of CO

2

in gas

cross-sectional area

17 Reference

Gui X., Tang, Z. & Fei, W. 2010. CO

2

capture with Physical Solvent Dimethyl Carbonate at High Pressures. Journal of

Chemical & Engineering Data, 55, 3736-3741

Huntsman, 2010, Ultrapure propylene carbonate .Available from:

<http://www.huntsman.com/performance_products/Media%20Library/Carbonates_MC348531D1109A9A2E040EBCD2B6B

7B06/files/ultrapure_propylene_carbonate.pdf>. [20 October 2014]

Institute of Chemical sciences and engineering n.d., Gas Volume Conversion. Available from: <

http://checalc.com/solved/volconv.html>. [13 October 2014]

Sinnott, RK 2003, Coulson & Richardsons Chemical Engineering, 3

rd

edn., Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford

Woods, DR 2007, Rules of Thumb in Engineering Practice, Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co KGaA, Weinheim

Benitez, J 2009, Principles and Modern Applications of Mass Transfer Operations, 2

nd

edn, John Wiley & Sons, INC, New

Jersey

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