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# The Chemical Engineering J a ~ m a l 46

, (199 1) 97-108

## Finding the optimum sequence of distillation columns - an

equation to replace the "rules of thumb" (heuristics)

## K. E. Porter and S. 0.Momoh

Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Aston, Birmingham (U.K.)

## i1 (Received August 21, 1985; in

Abstract
final form January 29, 1991)

A simple equation is presented which estimates the cost of one sequence relative to that of
another and which identifies the o p t i sequence for examples which have been solved
previously in the literature using other methods. The equation uses only the mole fractions of
the components in the feed and the volatility of one component relative to another. The proposed
equation may be used to list all the possible sequences in order of cost and this order is the
same that obtained by the more exact methods. Above all, it provides a quantitative expression
of the most powerful heuristics. The equation is straightforward, and quickly evaluated by hand.
It thus provides a more reliable method of identifying the optimum sequence than the method
based on the use of heuristics.
The equation is less accurate where the relative volatility of two of the components in the
mixture is very small (less than 1.1) but for this case the cost is usually dominated by the
difficult separation (small cost differences between alternative sequences) and the sequence
identified by the equation is likely to be that most suitable for energy integration.

## 1. Introduction calculating the capital and running costs of

any distillation sequence. The proposed equa-
tion may be used to list all the possible se-
A multicomponent mixture may be separated quences in order of cost and this order is
by alternative sequences of distillation col- usually the same as that calculated by the more
umns. Thus for a ternary mixture ABC (where exact methods.
components A, B and C are listed in order of The equation (which is derived below) uses
their volatilities) there are two possible se- only the information used in the heuristics,
quences: either first separate A from BC and that is the mole fractions of the components
then separate B and C; or first separate C fro in the feed and the relative volatilities of one
AB and then separate A and B. The numb
of possible sequences increases with the nu
ber of coniponents in the feed. For exampl
there are 14ways of separating five components
and 42 ways for a six-component mixture. In
\$ component relative to another. It provides an
estimate of the total vapour flow per mole of
feed required for each sequence. The optimum
sequence is that which requires the smalllest
binary distillation total vapour load, BDTVL
general, the number of possible sequences is (defined below). For a column j separating
given by Thompson and King [ I 1. A method A + B + ... +LK from one mole of mixture
is required to find the most cost effective + + +
A + B ... LK .. . +m, the vapour flow is
sequence. calculated by the following equation (see Ap-
We present below a simple equation which pendix A)
estimates the cost of one sequence relative to Vj=(xA+xB+ ...+
x ~ )
that of another, and which identifies the op- distillate term
timum sequence for all the examples published
in the literature which we have found so far
[2-51. We have also checked it against the
results of our own computer program for feed term (la)

## O 1991 - Elsevier Sequoia, Lausanne

For the sequence as a whole, the BDTVL is algorithmic method is cred-
The first
the sum of each of the individual columns
to f-Iendry and Hughes [I91 and uses
dJ"brniC to fk~dthe optimum
his was followed by many other
[ZO-231.
By inspection and intuitive analysis, eqn. (lb) 4 of these mathematical optimization pro-
results in a general equation of the form cedures require a large number of searches
and consequently large computer time and
'Pace. order to reduce this, it i~,recom.
mended [ i s ] to start the optimization calcu-
lations by first finding one or two sequences
at or near the optimum by means of the heu-
ristics (rules of thumb). This then is the present
As we shall show below, this equation provides of the art: on the one hand there are the
a quantitative description of the most com- are apparently simple to use
monly used "rules of thumb". Thus we shall and may contradict
but which are
subsequently refer to it as the ROTE equation. each other, a d on the other hand there are
In the last decade and a half many papers
the optimization techniques which are math-
have been published on this subject, for ex-
ematically and demanding of com-
ample the reviews in refs. 6-10. The techniques
puter time.
for finding the optimum sequence may be & alternative is to attempt to derive a
classified into (1) heuristic techniques (rules quantitative of the heuristics, i.e.
of thumb), (2) evolutionary techniques, and an equation to the rules of thumb. This
(3) algorithmic techniques.
h* been attempted before, but only for ternary
The earliest known papers on the sequencing
mktures.
of distillation columns by heuristics are refs. Marek 1241 compared the two al-
Rod
11 and 12. Both did design studies and com-
pared alternative sequences in terms of cost
ytative sequences for a ternary distillation
Ln terms of the total overhead vapour flow,
[ 11] or heat duty [ 121. Since then many similar for which they derived an equation. The op-
comparisons have been made, particularly since t%um sequence was that with the lowest over-
the use of computers has eased the lengthy head ,,pour flow. However, the equation is
calculations required (see refs. 2, 3, 13, 14 on simplifying assumption^ and does
for example). not include the volatility values for all the
Stephanopoulos et al.  listed the four
CQ~ponents. ~t can only be applied to multi-
most important heuristics as (1) favour the
mixtures by treating them as
easiest separation, (2) favour near-equimolar
Pseudo-ternaries.

1
splits, (3) emove the most plentiful component
iirst, and (4) remove the lightest component
(i.e. favo the so-called direct sequence).
There are many more heuristics and more
than 22 have been found in the literature [8,
bore Malone et al.  derived a
appromation for the overhead vapour
=ate for a ternaw mixture which was shown
compare well with that calculated by the
U~denvoodequation. This was used to derive
101. Sometimes the rules of thumb contradict aQ equation for choosing the optimum se-
each other. For example, the heuristic "do the qbence, which again was assumed t~ be that
easiest separation first" is often contradicted With the smallest overhead vapour flow. EX-
by the heuristic "favour the direct sequence", this procedure to more than three
thus there are one or two papers published
which describe "rules of thumb" for using the
EQmponents may result in an expression which
becomes undesirably complicated" .
heuristics (3, 151. Also of ifiterest are refs. 27 and 28 in which
The alternative approach is optimization us- the authors a,nalysed eight distillation se-
ing either evolutionary or algorithmic tech- 9bemes (including complex columns and side
niques. These are usually very rigorous but separating ideally behaving three-
require mathematical skills from the user. Ref- Component mixtures of hydrocarbons. They
erences 15-18 are important works on the ' h a r i z e d their results on triangular dia-
evolutionary technique.
gpams.
i cred- We do not consider complex distillation col- For the examples cited, the relative volatility
uses umns in this paper. Only conventional columns cu,, is either taken from the references quoted,
timum without energy integration are considered. where available, or calculated at the feed con-
other However, unlike the previous work mentioned ditions.
above, the equations presented (eqns. (la) and In the derivation of the ROTE equation, it
n pro- (lc)) may be used with any number of com- is to be noted that the assumption of sharp
3rches ponents. separations implies that on the basis of one
e and mole of feed, mole fractions in the feed are
'ecom- equivalent to the molar flows of those com-
calcu. 2. Derivation of the ROTE equation
ponents entering or leaving a column in the
lences sequence.
e heu- This is based on simplification of the problem +
Consider the separation of A + B . . . + LK
resent listed below. It should be noted that because
our objective is only to put all the possible
+ + + + +
from the mixture of A B . . . LK HK
tre the
sequences in order of their relative cost, a
. . . + m in a column j. Assume that there are
to use no (HK+ . . . + m) at the top, i.e. xHK and other
tradict greater degree of simplification is permissible heavier components are zero. Then from eqn.
re are than if our objective were to approximate to
the actual cost of each sequence. (2)
math-
com- (1) Capital cost implications are ignored the
analysis is based on energy cost only. This
rive a assumes either that a distillation is dominated
:s, i.e. by energy costs, or that there is a constant +
But Vj= (1 R)W (4)
3 . This ratio between the energy cost contribution to
the total cost and that of the capital cost (see where W is the moles of distillate from the
ernary column joules per mole of feed to the whole
discussion of Fig. B3 below).
(2) The total energy costs are assumed to sequence.
wo al- For R =RfRm,, eqn. (4) becomes
Uation be proportional to the total overhead vapour
- flow, load. Thus the most economical sequence will
l e op- be that with the minimum total flow. (This
t over- assumption has been used in previous work
;ion is [24, 251.) Simplifications (1) and (2) are dis-
1 does cussed in Appendix B.
ill the (3) Sharp separations are assumed through-
multi- out the sequence. That is, the distillate contains
:m as only the light key and lighter components and
the bottom product contains only the heavy
ived a key and heavier components. Now
(4) It is assumed that the minimum reflux
ratio R, for any column can be calculated
by the by the simple method for a binary mixture and
derive applied to the key components. That is, for
Lm se- key components LK and HK
)e that
N . EX-
three
which where subscripts D and F refer to distillate
161. and feed.
wluch This simplification is the most difficult to
In se- just* and is discussed further below. The
~dside actual reflux ratio R is then calculated by
three- multiplying the minimum reflux ratio by a This is the equation which links relative volatilities
, They constant ratio of 1.1, or by a ratio which varies and concentrations. For the whole sequence, the
tr dia- to take into account materials of construction, BDTVL is given by the ROTE equation (eqn.
cost of energy, operating pressure etc. (1~)).
3. Discussion table shows that the ROTE equation vapour
load values appear in the same order. Also
Equations (la) and (lc) provide a quanti- shown is total annual cost calculated by our
tative expression of the most powerful own cost-estimating computer program with
heuristics. Thus the heuristic "favour the direct the cost factors taken from Happel and Jordan
sequence" produces a mbhnum value for the . The minimum number of plates N,, g
sum of the &st (distillate) terms, while the obtained from the Fenske equation 1311, and
heuristics "do the easiest separation first" and the minimum reflux ratio R,, from the Un-
"do the most difficult separation last" comply derwood equation 1291. The Erbar-Maddox
with a minimum value for the sum of the equation 1321 is then used to calculate the

...F'v- -
I : I minimum vdue for the sum of the second more rigorous plate-to-plate method 1331 to !i
obtain the heat loads. For more details, see

i
(feed) terms.
Tn T a h l ~1 W P liqt t h e BDTVL calculated by Appendix C or ref. 10. The column pressure
.f +&- " 8 possible se- is set by the water cooling condenser tern-
to perature. The order of the sequence given by

; / I
1
//
TABLE 1
List of ROTE vapour load and the total annual cost TAC
for the three lowest cost sequences are shown.
These are put in the order calculated in the
references ~h~ ROTE equation (eqn.
in U.S.\$
(1)) has identified the lowest cost sequence

i!
/
1
//
1
1
Mlxture 1, SIX-componentmucture 141

## Component Mole Relative

volatility
for each case shown. Figures l(a)-l(g) show
the lowest cost sequence for each of the mix-
tures listed in Tables 1 and 2 together with
a note as to which heuristics are obeyed and
A Z-~utane U.UD 1.3714 which are contradicted.
1 1 B n-butane 0.05 1.3929 This is a useful result, but somewhat sur-

1
!I
1 I
c
D
E
nee-pentane
n-pentane
n-hexane
0.10
0.15
0.25
".+"
2.2308
2.9678
2.8736
prising in view of the simplifications used in
the derivation of eqns. (la)-(lc), particularly
the assumption that the minimum reflux ratio
may be calculated as for a binary mixture in
The feed is saturated liquid in an columns (453.6 kmol h-I) terms of the relative volatility of the key corn-
ponents only. It is known that the presence
Sequence in the Vapour flow per Total annual cost of other components and their volatilities in-
order of TACa mole of feed by by design and fluences the se~aration,and that more com-
the ROTE costing methods plicated methods are required to calculate the
equation
Of 1101 (\$) minimum reflux ratio, such as the shortcut
1 3.0595 2 746 441
method of Underwood  or a numerical
2 3.0901 2 821 804 calculation for each column.
It is then of interest to consider why the
4 3.3031 2 831 493 method based on eqns. (la)-(lc) succeeds in
5 3.3287 2 856 575 listing the possible sequences in order of cost.
6 3.3431 2 905 981
Figure 2 shows sequences presented in their
7 3.3914 2 915 669
8 3.4092 2 920 143 order of relative cost by Stephanopoulos et
9 3.4349 2 940 751 aL. . The comparison shows that the ROTE
10 3.4493 2 953 942 method is a sensitive way of distinguishing
11 3.4976 2 995 507 between sequences and that this method of
12 3.5153 3 012 023 comparison becomes more accurate as the
13 3.6220 3 029 305
optimum minimum cost sequence is ap-
T h e order of cost as taken from the reference. proached. This is because as the optimum
101

## 1 vapour TABLE 2 TABLE 2 (continued)

ler. Also
1 by our
.am with
d Jordan
s N,, is
I List of ROTE vapour load and the total annual cost TAG
in U S . \$
Mixture 2, five-component mixture [3, 4, 341

## Component Mole Relative

Feed
eomposltion,
A, B, c
(feed rate)
Sequence in Vapour flow
the order
of TACa

A
per mole of
feed by the
ROTE
equation
- --

Total annual
cost by design
and costing
methods of
Momoh [lo]
fraction volatility
311, and (\$1
the Un- A propane 0.05 2.00
-Maddox B i-butane 0.15 . 1.33 Mixture 4a
date the C n-butane 0.25 2.40 0.37, 0.37 1 1.7571 1 659 263
0.20 0.26 2 2.2251 1815 548
1ming R / D i-pentane 1.25
(270 limo1 h-')
lint for a E n-pentane 0.35
Mixture 4b
1331 to The feed is saturated liquid in alI columns (907.2 kmol h-I). 0.33, 0.33, 1 1.7043 1 854 914
;ails, see 0.34 2 2.0580 1 923 381
pressure (300 kmol h-')
ser tem- Sequence in the Vapour flow per Total annual cost
Mlxture 4c
given by order of TAGa mole of feed by by design and
0.11, 0.11 1 1.1387 4 242 720
the ROTE costing methods
n vapour 0.78 2 1.4137 5 544 617
equation of Momoh [ l o ] (\$)
10s et al. (900 kmol h-')
1 5.8257 8 342 116 Mixture 4d
her pub- 2 5.8840 8 490 177 0.083, 0.083, 1 1.0258 5 526 720
le results 3 6.3998 9 075 389 0.834 2 1.3780 7 472 997
.e shown. (1200 kmol h-')
T h e order of costs as given by the authors.
3d in the T h e order of cost as given by the authors.
.on (eqn.
sequence 1 Mixture 3, five-component mulure {4]

## (gl show Component Mole Relat~ve

the mix- fraction volatiity
;her with sequence is approached, the difficult separa-
eyed and A i-butane 0.200 1.9102 tions which require most of the energy and
B neo-pentane 0.175 2.2308 capital cost move towards the end of the
vhat sur- C n-pentane 0.200 2.2166 sequence, i.e. they tend to become binary
D 2-methylpentane 0.250 1.9992 separations, whereas easy separations become
j used in E cyclo-hexane 0.175
rticularly the multicomponent separations at the begin-
flux ratio The feed is saturated liquid in all columns (907.2 kmol h-') ning of the sequence. This is in agreement
Lixture in with the rules of thumb as discussed above.
key com- Inspection of the calculated vapour loads for
Sequence in the Vapour flow per Total annual cost the individual columns of optimum and near
presence order of TACa mole of feed by by design and
,ilities in- optimum sequences shows that this is so. Those
the ROTE costing methods
ore com- equation of Momoh 1101 (\$) columns which require the largest vapour flow
:date the and are the biggest contributors to cost are
shortcut usually binary separations for which the cal-
tumerical culations of vapour load by the ROTE method
is valid. The multicomponent separatio& for
why the T h e order of cost as given by the authors. which the binary method is less accurate are
cceeds in those with a smaller vapour load and a relatively
:r of cost.
i in their
/ M i i u r c 4, three-component mixture 114. 351 small contribution to cost.
Thus we conclude that the problem of choos-
3oulos et Component Relative ing the optimun~sequence of distillation col-
.he ROTE volatility umns may be made by the simple expedient
nguishing of estimating the total vapour required by the
A benzene 2.8664
lethod of B toluene 2.6200
ROTE equation.
,e as the C o-xylene After observing that the ROTE equation had
2 is ap- successfully identified the optimum sequence
optimum (continued) for all the mixtures used in the previously
(el CDE

## Fig. 1. Lowest cost sequences: (a) mixture 1, heuristics

obeyed (1) and (2), heuristics contradicted (3) and (4);
@) mixture 2, heuristics obeyed (1) and (2), heuristics
contradicted (3) and (4); ( c )mixture 3, heuristics obeyed
0,
(I), (2) and heuristi&contradicted (3); (d) mixture
4a, heuristics obeyed (I), (3) and (4), no heuristics
contradicted; (e) mixture 4b, heuristics obeyed (1) and
I
(4), no heuristics contradicted; (f) mixture 4c, heuristics
obeyed (2) and (3), heuristics contradicted (1) and (4);
(g) mixture 4d, heuristics obeyed (2) and (3), heuristics
(g) contradicted (1) and (4).
I lili
I
11 i !I
I
published work, we then tested the method on equation succeeded in identifying the sequence 1
&any more cases to cover a wide range of
relative volatilities (1.08-8.33) and feed com-
positions [lo]. ~lto.&ether ten feedstocks each
with the lowest total annual cost. In 27 out
of 30 cases the lowest cost sequence was that
with either the lowest or second lowest ROTE
I
at five different feed compositions were con- vapour load.
sidered, resulting in 50 feeds, 106 sequences For those feeds with a large difference be-
and 420 individual columns. In particular, we tween relative volatility for one pair of com-
investigated many cases where the relative ponents and the other relative volatilities, the
volatility of one pair of components was less ROTE equation identified the lowest cost se-
than 1.1 and the relative volatilities between quence in only 12 out of the 20 cases evaluated.
/ / the other pairs of components greater than or However, the cost of all sequences for the 20
equal to 3.0. The results are summarized in cases was dominated by the difficult separation,
Table 3. i.e. there was little difference in the cost of
For those mixtures where all the relative one sequence relative to that of another for
volatilities were greater than 1.2, the ROTE the same case.
111-7 V-8 V-7 111-4 V-10 IV-2 IV-5 IV-4 IV-3 111-2 V-71 TII-3 V-12
SEQUENCE
Fig. 2. Relative venture cost (0)  and ROTE vapour load (A) compared.

## TABLE 3 suitable for energy integration; this is the sub-

Proportion of cases where minimum cost agrees with the ject of another paper [ 3 6 ] .
ROTE equation
Mixtures where for all values of a, a> 1.2
heuristics Number Numbcr of cases where the
I) and (4); References
of cases optimum sequence(s) as predicted
heuristics by ROTE agree with TAC
ics obeyed
d) mixture 1 R. W. Thompson and C. J. King, AIChE J., I 8 (1972)
Best Best or second 941.
heuristics sequence best sequence
2d (1) and 2 D. C. Freshwater and B. D. Henry, Chem. Eng.
30 25 27 (Zondon), (1975) 533.
, heuristics
1) and (4); 3 V. M. Nadgir and Y. A. Liu, AIChE J., 29 (1983) 926.
. heuristics Mixtures where for one value of a, a < 1.1, and for all 4 G. Stephanopoulos, B. Linnhoff and A. Sophos,
other values of a, a ~ 3 . 0 IChemE. Symp. U.K.(1982) 111.
. Process

T
5 A. Elaahi and W. L. Luyben, Ind. Eng. C
Number Number of cases where the Des. Dm., 22 (1983) 80.
sequence of cases optimum sequence(s) as predicted 6 J. E. Hendry, D. F. Rudd and J. D. Sea er, AIChE
1 27 out by ROTE agree with TAC J., I 9 (1973) 1.
was that 7 V. Hlavacek, Comput. Chem. Eng., 2 (1 78) 67.
:st ROTE Best Best or second 8 N. Nishida, G. Stephanopoulos and A. W. Westcrberg,
sequence best sequence AIChE J., 27 (1981) 321.
20 10 12 9 A. W. Westerberg, Cornput. Chem. Eng., 9 (5) (1985)
.ence be- 421.
of C O ~ - 1 1 0 S. 0. Momoh, Ph.D. Thesis, Aston University, Bir-
ities, the For these cases, the sequence with the small- mingharn, 1986.
cost se- 11 F. J. Lockhart, Pet. Refiner, 26 (1947) 104.
est value of ROTE vapour load was always 1 2 V. D. Harbert, Pet. Refiner, 36 (1957) 169.
valuated. that which made the difficult separation the 13 G . J. Powers, Chem. Eng. Prog., 68 (8) (1972) 88.
>rthe 20 last column in the sequence, i.e. the difficult 1 4 H. Nishimura and Y. Hiraizumi, Int. Chem. Eng., I 1
paration, separation became a binary separation with a (1971) 188.
? COSt of 1 5 J. D. Seader and A. W. Westerberg, AIChE J., 23
small temperature change over the column.
3ther for This implies that the sequence with the lowest (1977) 951.
16 G. Stephanopoulos and A. W. Westerberg, Chem. Eng.
ROTE vapour load is likely to be that most Sci., 31 (1976) 195.
17 C. J. King, D. W. Gantz and F. J. Barnes, Ind. Eng. heat transfer area of the condenser
Process Des. Dm., 11 (1972) 272.
18 R. Nath and R. L. Motard, AIChE J., 27 (1981) 578. (m2>
19 J. E. Hendry and R. R. Hughes, Chem. Eng. Prog., AP cross-sectional area of the column
68 (1982) 69. (m2>
20 A. W. Westerberg and G. Stephanopoulos, Chem. E q . AR heat transfer area of the reboiler (m2)
Sci., 30 (1975) 963. cc cost of condenser
21 F. R. Rodrigo and J. D. Seader, AlChE J., 21 (1975) specific heat capacity of water, 4.1868
885. CPw
22 M. A. Gomez and J. D. Seader, AIChE J., 22 (1976) kJ kg-' K-l
970. cost of reboilei (\$)
23 A. Gomez-Munoz and J. D. Seader, Comput. Chem. cost of reboiler heating steam (\$)
Eng., 9 (4) (1985) 311. cost of condenser cooling water (\$)
24 V. Rod and J. Marek, Coll. Czech. Chem. Commun., cost of column (\$)
24 (1959) 3240.
25 M. F. Malone, K. Glinos, F. G. Marquuez and J. M. unit cost of cooling water (\$0.023
Douglas, AIChE J., 31 (1985) 683. per m3) and unit steam cost (\$0.02
26 K. Glinos, M. F. Malone and J. M. Douglas, AIChE per kg) respectively
J., 31 (1985) 1039. distillate rate (per mole of feed to the
27 D. W. Tedder and D. F. Rudd, AIChE J., 24 (1978)
sequence)
303.
28 D. W. Tedder and D. F. Rudd, AIChE J., 24 (1978) overall frictional column efficiency
316. feed rate (kmol h-I)
29 A. J. V. Underwood, Chem. Eng. Prog., 44 (1948) number of hours of operation per year
603. indices identifying components in a
30 J. Happel and D. G. Jordan, Chemical Process Eco- multicomponent mixture
nomics, Marcel Dekker, New York, 1975, 2nd edn
31 M. R, Fenske, Ind. Eng. Chem., 24 (1932) 482. index for any column in a sequence
32 J. H. Erbar and R. N. Maddox, Latest score; reflux of columns
versus trays, Pet. Refiner, 40 (1961) 183. 0.3, the factor converting the capital
33 L. M. Naphthali and D. P. Sandholm, AIChE J., I7 cost of equipment to an annual cost,
(1971) 148. equivalent to a payback time of three
34 R. N. S. Rathore, K. A. Van Wormer and G. J. Powers,
AIChE J., 20 (1974) 491. years
35 N. Doukas and W. L. Luyben,Ind. Eng. Chem. Process parameter in eqn. I@); number of
Des. Dev., 17 (1978) 272. times a component appears in top
36 K. E. Porter, S. 0. Momoh and J. D. Jenkins, Inst. product stream either alone or with
Chem. Eng. Symp., Ser. 104, Institute of Chemical other components throughout the se-
Engineers, Rugby, 1987. quence as a whole
37 P. A. Mindeman and D. W. Tedder, AlChE Symp.
Ser. 78 (1982) 69.
unit cost of column or plate area (\$
38 E. J. Henley and J. D. Seader, Equilibrium-Stage per m2 or plate)
Separation Operations in Chemical Engineering, cost of heat exchanger or heat transfer
Wiley, New York, 1981. area (\$m2)
39 C. G. Kirkbride, Pet. R e f i w , 23 (1944) 187 (3219). heavy key component
40 J. R. Fair, Pet. Chem. Eng., 33 (1961) 45. light key component
4 1 A. Fredenslund, R. L. Jones and J. M. Praustniz, AIChE
J., 27 (1975) 1086.
light heavy keys
42 J. Gmehling, P. Rasmussen and A. Fredenslund, Ind. mth components in a mixture of m
Eng. Chem. Process Des. Dm., 21 (1982) 118. components
43 & Fredenslund, J. Gmehling and P. Rasmussen, Va- number of components
pour Liquid Equilibria using VNIFAC - a group number of columns
contribution method, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1977. number of plates
44 R. C. Reid, J. M. Prausnitz and T. K. Sherwood, The minimum number of plates
Froperties of Gases and Liquids,McGraw-HiU, New
York, 1977, 3rd edn.
condenser heat load (kJ h-I)
45 A. V. Bridgwater, Process Econ. Int., 4 (2) (1983) reboiler heat load (kJ h-I)
26. unity if component i exists in the
stream entering column j,zero other-
wise
Appendix A: Nomenclature R external reflux ratio
Rf R IRmin
A, B components in a multicomponent R,,, minimum reflux ratio
mixture At temperature rise in cooling water 0
I 105

:I 1 AT,,
ATh,.
., logarithmic mean temperature driving
force in condenser and reboiler re-
p, density of water (1000 kg m-3)

## spectively (K) Subscm@ts

overal heat transfer coefficient in the c related to condenser
uc
condenser (0.80 kW m-2 K-') D related to distillate stream
F related to feed stream
u, overall heat transfer coefficient in the
f label for ratio of optimum to minimum
reboiler (1 kW m-2 K-')
reflux ratio
V vapour rate (kmol h-') (C2) and (C3) HK heavy key component
VT binary distillation total vapour load
(BDTVL) per mole of feed for the
i, .i indices identifying components in a
multicomponent mixture and column
whole sequence in a sequence of columns
Xi liquid phase mole fraction of com- Ln logarithmic driving force
ponent i in the original feed entering LK light key component
the sequence LH light heavy keys
x i liquid phase mole fraction of com- min minimum
ponent i in the original feed for a r related to reboiler
stream entering column j s related to steam
w reIated to water
&eek symbols
a relati've volatility of one component
Appendix B: The effect of operating
with respect to another pressure o n t h e optimum reflux ratio
ALH (am, HK - 1.0) and cost of distillation
h molar latent heat of vaporization (kJ
kmol-l) In all of the examples of this paper, a fixed
As molar latent of vaporization of steam value of 1.1 was used for the ratio RIR,,,; this
(kJ kg-? may be justified in two ways. First by noting
P installation cost and other charges that at the energy costs of today, the theoretical
multiplying factor optimum RIR,, is almost always calculated

## OPERATING PRESSURES, ATfl. LOG1 0

Fig. B1. The variation of the ratio of optimum to m i n i m reflux ratio R,,l&* plotted against operating pressure,
results from Momoh [lo].Also shown is the variation of molccular weight with pressure. A, a = 1.05; +, a= 1.20;0,
a=2.25.