Anda di halaman 1dari 14


Comparing True Countercurrent and Simulated

Moving-Bed Chromatographic Reactors
Florian Lode, Marco Mazzotti, and Massimo Morbidelli
Technische Chemie,
ETH Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Laboratorium fur

CH-8093 Zurich, Switzerland

Simulated Moing Bed reactors (SMBR) combine chemical reaction and adsorptie
separation within one single continuous and countercurrent unit. This integration
promises substantial improements in process performance, especially when applied to
equilibrium-limited reactions inoling such heat-sensitie products as fine chemicals
and pharmaceuticals. In this work, the interplay among the releant process design
parameters (dimensionless ratios of the fluid and solid flow rates, and the Damkohler
numbers for each section of the unit) is inestigated. For this, an analytical solution of
differential mass-balance equations for the corresponding true countercurrent process
(TCC), using as a model system the reaction A| BqC with each species exhibiting
linear adsorption behaior, was deeloped. Based on this solution, criteria were deried
for the optimum process design with respect to productiity and solent consumption.
Comparing these results with numerical simulations of an SMBR unit shows that the
TCC model does not apply to SMBR units with a finite number of columns per section,
that is, units of practical releance, because the two units exhibit different residence time
distributions and, hence, lead to different degrees of conersion.

Reactive simulated-moving-bed processes SMBR. are hy- assembly, and the inlet and outlet streams are delivered to
brid operations combining chemical reaction and adsorptive the unit in such a way that the unit appears to be divided in
separation within one single apparatus. This process integra- four different sections comprising two columns each. The
tion allows for improvements in terms of chemical conversion countercurrent movement of the solid phase is simulated by
in the case of equilibrium limited reactions. Here, the separa- periodically shifting the inlet and outlet ports by one column
tion of the reaction products immediately after their forma- length into the direction of the liquid flow.
tion effectively suppresses the backward reaction, and com- As the reactant is fed to the unit in between sections 2 and
plete conversion of the limiting reactant can be achieved upon 3, chemical reaction is triggered and the product species are
one single pass through the reactor. SMB reactors thus rep- formed. The product species with the lower affinity to the
resent an alternative to the industrially more established re- solid phase C is less retained and transported by the fluid
active distillation processes in applications requiring benign flow toward the raffinate outlet, while the more retained
operating conditions, as is often the case for fine chemicals product B is strongly adsorbed and transported into sections
or pharmaceuticals. 2 and 1 by the movement of the solid phase. If the operating
A typical configuration of a reactive SMB process is shown conditions are properly selected, the reactant A is com-
in Figure 1 for the case of a monomolecular reaction, A| B pletely consumed within sections 2 and 3, and, therefore, is
qC, taking place in an inert solvent, S. Here, a total of eight absent in either outlet stream. Within section 1, the fluid flow
fixed beds is interconnected in order to form a closed-loop rate is adjusted so that the strongly retained product is des-
orbed from the solid phase, allowing for the recycling of pure
adsorbent into section 4. Within section 4, on the other hand,
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to M. Morbidelli. fluid flow rates are low enough to allow for the adsorption of
Current address of M. Mazzotti: ETH Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich,
Verfahrenstechnik, Sonneggstrasse 3, CH-8092 Zurich,
Institut Fur Switzerland. the weakly retained product, and thus for the complete re-

AIChE Journal April 2003 Vol. 49, No. 4 977

design criteria for the optimal performance of the true coun-
tercurrent reactive process in terms of solvent consumption
and productivity are derived.
In order to investigate the applicability of the design crite-
ria derived for the TCC process to the SMBR process, the
performance of a reactive SMB is investigated through nu-
merical simulations. The comparison of these results with the
predictions based on the TCC model reveals substantial dis-
crepancies, which in the case of an irreversible reaction can
be explained by considering the differences in the residence-
time distributions of the two reactor configurations.

Analysis of a True Countercurrent

Chromatographic Reactor
Due to the discrete movement of the inlet and outlet ports
Figure 1. Four-section SMBR. after every switch time interval, SMB units do not achieve a
time-independent steady state, but rather a periodic one; that
is, the unit exhibits the same time-dependent behavior during
each period between two successive switches. This behavior
generation of the solvent stream before recycling to section 1. can only be described properly by time-dependent models,
The practical feasibility of SMB reactors has been demon- necessitating the use of computation intensive numerical sim-
strated for a variety of chemical systems, including carbohy- ulations for their solution.
drate reactions Akintoye et al., 1991; Barker et al., 1992; In order to devise shortcut methods for the design of such
Hashimoto et al., 1983; Kawase et al., 2001; Shieh and Barker, units it is therefore more effective to analyze a true counter-
1995, 1996., the esterification of alcohols with acetic acid cat- current reactive system TCC., as shown in Figure 2, which
alyzed by ion-exchange resins Kawase et al., 1996; Lode et indeed attains a time-independent steady state. If the four
al., 2001; Mazzotti et al., 1996., and the synthesis of Bisphe- sections of the SMB are divided into a large enough number
nol-A Kawase et al., 1999.. of very short subsections and the switches occur at a very
As far as the design of such rather complex units is con- high frequency to reasonably approximate the continuous
cerned, a detailed knowledge of the adsorption equilibria, as countercurrent movement of the solid phase, TCC and SMB
well as of the reaction kinetics involved, is necessary in order processes exhibit the same behavior given that certain geo-
to develop a model of the SMBR process Lode et al., 2001.. metric and kinematic equivalence rules are followed. For a
Based on such a model, an optimization of the operating pa- process involving an adsorbent phase of porosity p packed
rameters through extensive numerical simulations is possible, into columns of bed void fraction b , these rules are given by
in principle, although in general this procedure provides only the following relationships js1, . . . , 4.
a limited amount of insight into the interplay of the different
process parameters Duennebier et al., 2000..
In the following it is therefore intended to focus on the
L j s n j Lcol
identification of the relevant design parameters and their ef-
fect on the unit behavior, in order to deepen the understand-
ing of SMBR units and to define guidelines for a successful 1y b . Lcol
process optimization. uTCC s
In the case of a nonreactive SMB process such an under-
standing could be obtained from an analysis of a true coun-
b Lcol
tercurrent chromatographic process TCC., which can be uTCC s u SMB y . 1.
shown to be equivalent to the SMB process provided that
j j
certain conversion rules on the operating parameters of the
TCC and the SMB are fulfilled Storti et al., 1988.. In this
work, a similar approach is followed for investigating the be- Here, L j and Lcol denote the length of the jth section of the
havior of a reactive SMB process. In particular, a true coun- TCC unit and of the single column in the SMB, respectively;
tercurrent reaction process is investigated here within the n j the number of columns per section in the SMB unit; uTCC s ,
framework of equilibrium theory for the case of monomolec- uTCC
j , and u SMB s represent the superficial velocities of the
ular reactions involving species exhibiting linear adsorption solid, as well as of the fluid, phase within section j for the
equilibria. Based on an analysis of the corresponding partial TCC and for the SMB unit, respectively; and tU is the time
differential mass balance equations, a sound framework for period between two successive port switches in the SMB unit.
the description of the process behavior is devised, comprising Here, a TCC model where the effects of axial dispersion

the Damkohler numbers within the two central sections of and mass-transport resistance are neglected is considered.
the unit, as well as the dimensionless flow rate ratios be- When applying this idealized model to the generic reaction
tween the fluid and the solid phase, already utilized in the A| BqC, with the reaction rate per unit volume given by
case of nonreactive applications. Within such a framework, r s k R f c ., the corresponding mass-balance equations for the

978 April 2003 Vol. 49, No. 4 AIChE Journal

The adsorbed phase concentrations qieq are here linked to
the concentrations in the fluid phase c i by a linear adsorp-
tion isotherm

qieq s Hi c i , 3.

with the reactant A exhibiting an intermediate affinity to-

ward the solid phase as compared to the reaction products,
that is

HB ) HA ) HC 4.

Boundary and initial conditions for each section of the unit

define the initial state of the section, as well as the composi-
tions of the two incoming streams

c i , j s c iI, j , 0 F y j F1, xjs0

c i , j s c ia, j , y j s 0, xjG0

qi , j s qib, j , y j s1, x j G 0. 5.

In the absence of chemical reaction, that is, for the purely

separative case, it has been shown that, as far as steady-state
operation is concerned, the separation performance of the
unit is determined only by the value of the flow rate ratio
Figure 2. Four-section TCCR. parameter, m j , within each section of the unit Storti et al.,
1988.. The same framework provides an adequate basis for
also discussing the reactive process, but the presence of
generic jth section of the TCC unit are given by chemical reaction necessitates that additional parameters,

such as the Damkohler numbers appearing in Eq. 2, are ac-
counted for.
U c i , j q 1y U . qieq
,j . In the following the interplay of the flow rate ratios and

the Damkohler numbers is investigated in detail for both an
irreversible reaction A BqC, as well as a reversible one,
q 1y p . , j s i Da j f c j .
m j c i , j y qieq 2. A| BqC. The goal is to design the process parameters in a
yj way to obtain complete separation of the reaction products B
and C, as well as a specified degree of conversion of the re-
s actant A.
Lj For this, an analytical solution for the steady-state behav-
ior of a four-section reactive TCC unit is investigated Figure
z 2.. Here, the solid is transported from the top through all
yj s
Lj four sections at a constant velocity uTCC
s before being recy-
cled from section 1 to section 4. The liquid phase enters the
j y p uTCC
s unit from the bottom at the velocity uTCC 1 . In between sec-
mj s tions 1 and 2 the strongly retained product B is withdrawn
1y p . uTCC
through the extract stream while the reactant A is fed at a
kR Lj concentration of c AF between sections 2 and 3, and the weakly
Da j s , adsorbed product C is collected in the raffinate stream be-
s tween sections 3 and 4. Finally, the liquid leaving section 4 is
mixed with a makeup stream of pure solvent and recycled to
where x j and y j are the dimensionless time and space vari- section 1.
ables; m j is the flow rate ratio parameter representing the In the absence of mass-transfer limitations, the solid and
ratio between the net fluid flow rate and the solid flow rate the fluid phases within each section are at equilibrium at any
in the jth section; the Damkohler number Da j is defined as time and spatial location. It can then be shown that there has
the ratio between the residence time of the solid phase in the to be at least one discontinuity in the species concentrations
generic section and the characteristic time for the reaction; at either the inlet or outlet boundary of each section, given
the overall bed void fraction U is given by U s b q1y that the solid and the liquid phases passing each other at
b . p ; and i is the stoichiometric coefficient of the ith each section end are not necessarily at equilibrium. Note,
species, that is, y A s B s C s1. however, that this is not a propagating shock transition like

AIChE Journal April 2003 Vol. 49, No. 4 979

lines with slope

dx j U q 1y U . Hi
s s i , j . 12.
dyj 1y p . m j y Hi .

Note in particular that the slope of the characteristic i, j is

independent of the species concentration and of the reaction
rate, and that its sign depends only on the difference be-
tween the flow rate ratio m j and the Henry coefficient of
Figure 3. Standard section of a true countercurrent unit. each species. The concentration of each species, though,
varies along the characteristics according to Eq. 11, where in
general the function f c j . couples the equations for the dif-
ferent species.
those occurring in nonlinear chromatography, but that this
Since a different characteristic with slope i, j is defined
concentration jump remains located at the boundaries only,
for each species i, it would be difficult to integrate Eq. 11 for
that is, it is a so-called boundary discontinuity. The liquid
is A, B, C at the same time. This difficulty can be overcome
and solid phase concentrations just outside each section are
by dividing Eqs. 10 and 11 term by term in order to express
linked to the concentrations inside the unit by one mass-bal-
the concentrations of all species in terms of the same inde-
ance equation for each component at each section end see
pendent variable y j , that is, the dimensionless space coordi-
Figures 2 and 3 for the notation.
nate within the jth section

p p
c ia, j y 1q qia, j dc A, j Da j f c j .
mj q
1y p / 1y p . Hi / dyj
1y p . m j y HA .

s m j y Hi . c i , j 0q . s m j y Hi . c i0, j 6. dc B, j Da j f c j .
s 14.
p p dyj 1y p . m j y HB .
c ib, j y qib, j
mj q
1y p / 1q
1y p . Hi / dcC, j Da j f c j .
s 15.
s m j y Hi . c i , j 1y . s m j y Hi . c 1i , j . 7. dyj 1y p . m j y HC .

Within each section, the concentration profiles are continu- The boundary conditions required for the integration of
ous and given by the partial differential equations just de- Eqs. 13 to 15 need to be derived from an analysis of the
scribed Eq. 2.. slopes of the characteristics. In particular, the sign of i, j de-
In order to find a solution to the system of partial differen- fines the direction within the single TCC section in which
tial equations the method of characteristics is applied here. information is propagated, and, accordingly, the location of
Substituting the adsorption isotherm Eq. 3. into the differ- the boundary discontinuity. In the case of the characteristics
ential mass-balance equation for each species Eq. 2. yields exhibiting positive slopes, that is, i, j ) 0, the information
given by the boundary condition on the left end of the sec-
ci , j ci , j tion c i,a j is propagated into the domain of interest, hence,
w U q 1y U . Hi x q 1y p . m j y Hi . c i,0 j s c i,a j , and accordingly a boundary discontinuity occurs at
xj yj the right end of the section, that is, c 1i, j / c i,b j . The reverse
situation is obtained for i, j - 0, where the situation inside
s i Da j f c j . . 8. the section is determined by the boundary condition at y j s1,
hence, c 1i, j s qi,b jrHi , and the boundary discontinuity is lo-
The corresponding characteristic equations are constituted by cated at the left end of the section, that is, qi,a j / Hi c i,0 j .
the following system of ordinary differential equations In the case of the process under consideration here, the
sign of i, j for each species within one section of the unit is
dx j determined only by the difference between the flow rate ratio
s U q 1y U . Hi 9. m j and the species Henry coefficient Hi . Based on this infor-
mation, only it is possible to derive criteria on the flow rate
dyj ratios within the different sections of the unit to fulfill the
s 1y p . m j y Hi . 10.
ds process specifications. As mentioned earlier, the goal of the
process is to achieve a complete separation of the product
dc i , j
s i Da j f c j . , 11. species, with the more retained product B being collected in
ds the extract stream, and the less retained one C being with-
drawn with the raffinate, and to reach a specified conversion
where s is the coordinate along the characteristic. degree of the reactant A.
By dividing Eqs. 9 and 10, it is seen that, within the physi- The necessary condition for the separation of the two
cal plane x j , y j ., the characteristic curves are parallel straight products is that the more retained product B, and the less

980 April 2003 Vol. 49, No. 4 AIChE Journal

retained one C, are absent from the solid and from the fluid HA ) m 3 ) m 2 . This case represents exactly the oppo-
recycle, respectively. Focusing first on section 1, this implies site situation with respect to the previous case. Since the
the complete desorption of the more retained product, hence, slopes of the characteristics are negative for A, it is always
that q B,1 s 0. With the desorbent stream being devoid of any the incoming solid stream that determines its concentration
reacting species c iD s c i,1
s 0, the complete regeneration can profiles, leading to
be achieved only when the boundary condition at y 1 s 0
propagates into section 1. Accordingly, a positive value of B,1 b
q A, j
is required, which is equivalent to the flow rate ratio in sec- c 1A, j s , js 2, 3. 20.
tion 1 being larger than the Henry coefficient of species B, HA
that is, m1 ) HB . It follows from Eq. 4 that the slope of the
characteristics of species A and C at y 1 s 0 are also positive, In this case, the boundary discontinuity is located at y j s 0,
that is, C,1 ) A,1 ) 0, and that the concentrations of all three j / c A, j .
0 a
leading to c A,
species at the fluid inlet of section 1 are equal to zero, that is, m ) H )m . Here the slope of the characteristics is
3 A 2
c i,1 s 0. Flow rate ratios within section 1 higher than the negative for section 2, but positive for section 3, so that the
Henry coefficient of the most adsorbable species therefore feed zone between sections 2 and 3 controls the behavior of
lead to a complete regeneration of the solid phase within sec- both sections. The corresponding inlet conditions are given
tion 1, as required. by
Concerning section 4, the adsorption of the least retained
b b
component is required, which implies the condition cC,4 s 0. q A,2
Given that the solid stream being recycled from section 1 does c 1A,2 s ,
b 1
not comprise species C, that is, qC,4 s 0, it follows that cC,4 s
0, according to Eq. 7. This implies the absence of a boundary 0
c A,3 s c Aa ,3 , 21.
discontinuity and accordingly that C,4 - 0, or in other terms
that m 4 - HC . Because of Eq. 4, this condition guarantees
with the boundary discontinuities located at y 2 s 0 and at
that A,4 and B,4 are also negative, and thus that the fluid
y 3 s1.
stream is completely regenerated within section 4.
The resulting subdivision of the region of complete prod-
Following a similar line of arguments, it is possible to de-
uct separation within the m 2 , m 3 .-parameter plane is illus-
velop criteria on the flow rate ratios within sections 2 and 3,
trated in Figure 4.
leading to a complete separation of the reaction products,
Having identified one boundary condition for each species
that is, B and C. Here, in order to prevent the less retained
within each section, the behavior of the TCC unit can be
product C from reaching the extract outlet, the values of the
studied by calculating the internal concentration profiles by
flow rate ratios must be lower bounded by the products Henry
integrating Eqs. 13 to 15 for the relevant reaction-rate ex-
coefficient, that is, m 3 ) m 2 ) HC . On the other hand, for
pressions. In the following, an irreversible and a reversible
product B, a negative slope of the characteristics is required
reaction are considered separately.
in sections 2 and 3, which is equivalent to m 2 - m 3 - HB .
Summarizing, the flow rate ratios within the four sections
have to fulfill the following constraints in order to lead to a
complete separation of the two product species, B and C

m1 ) HB 16.
HB ) m 3 ) m 2 ) HC 17.
HC ) m 4 . 18.

As stated earlier, the conditions imposed onto sections 1 and

4 guarantee the absence of the reactant A within these two
sections. Focusing on central sections 2 and 3, though, and
keeping in mind that HB ) HA ) HC , three different cases
can, as far as reactant A is concerned, be distinguished as
m )m ) H . Here, the slope of the characteristics
3 2 A
for A are positive in both central sections of the unit, and the
concentration of A in the entering fluid stream controls its
behavior in each section, that is

0 a Figure 4. Complete separation triangle and subregions

c A, j s cA , j , js 2, 3. 19.
identifying the locus of chemical reaction in
SMBR for first-order reaction kinetics and lin-
On the other hand, the solid phase entering each of the two ear sorption isotherms.
central sections experiences a discontinuous jump from q A, j Chemical reaction is taking place only in section 3 I ., only
to q 1A, j . in section 2 II ., or in both of sections 2 and 3 III ..

AIChE Journal April 2003 Vol. 49, No. 4 981

Irreersible reaction, A B H C hence c A,3 s 0, and the following expression can be derived
In the case of a linear irreversible reaction f c . s c A and in a similar way
the steady-state ODE for species A Eq. 13. is independent m3 y m2
of the concentrations of B and C. It can be directly solved c 1A,2 s c AF 26.
for the concentration profiles of A within the two central HA y m 2
sections. With the concentrations of A known in both outlet
m3 y m2 Da2 1y y 2 .
streams, it is then straightforward to calculate the conversion
of A within the unit
c A,2 s
HA y m 2
1y p . m 2 y HA . / c AF , 27.

u Ec AE q u R c AR thus yielding
X s1y
u AF c AF

m1 y m 2 . c AE q m 3 y m 4 . c AR
. 22 .
X s1yexp y
1y p . HA y m 2 . / . 28.
m 3 y m 2 . c AF
The resulting expression is completely equivalent to Eq. 25.
Depending on the value of the flow rate ratios relative to the m ) H )m .
3 A 2 Since in this case A,2 - 0 - A,3 , it fol-
Henry coefficient of the reactant, three cases have to be dis- lows that c AF s c A,3
a b
s q A,2rHA , and that both sections are uti-
tinguished: lized for the reaction. Integrating Eq. 13 for js 2 and js 3
m )m ) H . Here, the concentration of A at the left yields
3 2 A
end of section 2 is equal to zero, that is, c A,2 s 0, and an
integration of Eq. 13 shows that the reactant is absent in all Da2 1y y 2 .
of section 2. A reaction occurs only within the third section,
and the corresponding concentration profile of A can be ob-
c A,2 sexp y
1y p . HA y m 2 . / c AF 29.

tained by enforcing the condition that the flow of A through Da3 y 3

the feed inlet must be equal to its flow through the left end
of section 3, thus obtaining c A,3 and by integrating Eq. 13
c A,3 sexp y
1y p . m 3 y HA . / c AF , 30.

with js 3
thus leading to
m3 y m2
c A,3 s c AF 23. HA y m 2 Da2
m 3 y HA

m3 y m2 Da3 y 3
X s1y
m3 y m2
exp y
1y p . HA y m 2 . /
c A,3 s
m 3 y HA
exp y
1y p . m 3 y HA . / c AF . 24 .
m 3 y HA
m3 y m2
exp y
1y p . m 3 y HA . / . 31 .

Using Eq. 24 with y 3 s1, enforcing the condition that the

amount of A passing through the right end of section 3 must Equations 25, 28, and 31 define loci of constant conversion
be the same as its amount in the raffinate stream, and substi- X in the operating parameter plane m 2 ,m 3 ., that is, contour
tuting the result into Eq. 22, yields lines. In particular, Eqs. 25 and 28 define a horizontal and
vertical line, respectively, whereas Eq. 31 defines a curve. This
Da3 is illustrated in Figure 5 for a model system where HA s1.0,
X s1yexp y
1y p . m 3 y HA . / . 25. HB s1.5, and HC s 0.5, and Damkohler numbers are con-
stant, namely Da2 s Da3 s1. The curves corresponding to
X s 0.95 solid line., X s 0.90 broken line., and X s 0.80
Conversion is thus only determined in this case by the dash-dotted line. are drawn.

Damkohler number in section 3 and by the difference be- It is rather clear that points in the m 2 ,m 3 . plane belong-
tween m 3 and HA . ing to the region between the solid line and the diagonal

Obviously higher Damkohler numbers or, equivalently, an achieve a conversion equal to or larger than 95%, and simi-
increasing length of section 3 for a given system, enhances larly for each contour line X s const. As anticipated, contour
the time available for the reaction to occur, and therefore the lines are made up of one curve connecting two straight seg-
conversion, to occur. The term in the denominator takes into ments. The latter, when prolonged, intersect in a point be-
account that for given Da3 , and hence for a given solid flow longing to the curve corresponding to the same value of X,
rate, the residence time of A can be tuned through variations as shown by the dotted lines in Figure 5.
of the fluid flow rate. In particular, complete conversion is For constant Damkohler numbers, the conversion de-
achieved for the flow rate ratio of section 3 approaching the creases within the m 2 ,m 3 . parameter plane as the distance
limit of HA, leading to an infinite residence time of the reac- between the operating point and the point given by m 2 s m 3
tant within this section. Because section 2 is nonreactive, nei- s HA increases, as is shown in Figure 5 for the 90% conver-
ther the length of this section nor the exact value of m 2 is of sion case broken line. and 80% conversion case dash-dotted
importance for the performance of the unit. line..
H )m )m . These conditions represent exactly the It is worth noting that the results obtained for A are com-
A 3 2
opposite situation with respect to the case just discussed, pletely independent of the adsorptive properties of the prod-

982 April 2003 Vol. 49, No. 4 AIChE Journal


u Fc AF X m 3 y m 2 . Xk R c AF
PRs s . 33.
L2 q L3 Da2 q Da3

Concerning productivity, it has to be noted that in the frame-

work of equilibrium theory the regeneration of the solid and
fluid phases in sections 1 and 4 occurs instantaneously, and
the required length of the section is therefore equal to zero.
Therefore, the denominator in the expression defining the
productivity takes into account the whole volume of the unit.
However, in practical applications the efficiency of the regen-
eration sections is finite and the use of sections of finite di-
mensions is required. In these cases, the productivity of the
unit is therefore lower than the values found here, but pro-
vided that the regeneration sections are well designed, the
optimum design criteria derived here for the reactive part of
the unit are also valid for the practical applications. For the
Figure 5. Lines of 95% (solid line), 90% (dashed line), desorbent requirement, the term in the numerator can be
and 80% (dash-dotted line) conversion for the minimized by adjusting the flow rate ratios to the Henry coef-
irreversible reaction A B H C under condi- ficients of the two products m1 s HB and m 4 s HC , that is,

tions of constant Damkohler numbers, Da 2 s to the lower and upper bound defined by the product separa-
Da 3 s1; Henry coefficient for the reactant, HA tion requirement Eq. 16..
s1; p s 0. The purity of the products in the extract and raffinate are
Complete separation triangle with subregions represented by closely related to the degree of conversion. Under the as-
thin dashed lines. sumption that B and C are completely separated, that is, in
the region HC - m 2 - m 3 - HB , only the unreacted A can
pollute the product streams. Simple overall material balances
uct species B and C. However, complete separation of the allow showing that the solvent free purities of extract and
products B and C is guaranteed only within the complete raffinate attain the following values
separation region HC - m 2 - m 3 - HB illustrated in Figure
4. This is also shown in Figure 5 for the sake of clarity. Oper-
ating points in the complete separation region achieve the PBE s1, PCR s X for m 3 ) m 2 ) HA 34 .
conversion specified by the contour line to which they belong PBE s X , PCR s1 for HA ) m 3 ) m 2 35 .

for the given set of Damkohler numbers., as well as com-
plete separation of the products. On the contrary, points out- PBE ) X , PCR ) X for m 3 ) HA ) m 2 . 36 .
side the complete separation region, for example, those on
the contour line corresponding to X s 0.80, achieve the spec-
ified conversion, but identify operations where the extract is With the degree of conversion being constrained by the pu-
contaminated with C, or the raffinate with B, or both these rity specifications, the optimization problem reduces to de-
cases occur at the same time. termining at constant conversion the flow rate ratios m 2 and
m 3 that optimize the DR and PR. From Eqs. 32 and 33, for a
Implications for optimal process design
given set of Damkohler numbers, this implies maximizing the
difference between m 3 and m 2 under the constraint of con-
In addition to achieving a sufficient degree of conversion stant degree of conversion.
and high purities of the outlet streams, the chromatographic With reference to the solid curve X s 0.95 in Figure 5, it
reactor is also required to operate under economically favor- can be inferred that the maximum m 3 y m 2 . value is at-
able conditions. Here, the process performance is primarily tained where the two dotted straight segments intersect, that
determined by two parameters, namely the desorbent re- is
quirement DR., that is, the amount of desorbent makeup
consumed per mole of converted reactant, and the productiv-
ity PR. defined as the molar amount of reactant converted Da2
per unit time and per unit reactor volume. Within the frame- m 2 < opt s HA q 37.
1y p . ln 1y X .
work presented earlier, these parameters can be expressed as
Desorbent requirement: m 3 < opt s HA y . 38.
1y p . ln 1y X .
uD m1 y m 4
DRs s 32.
u Fc AF X m 3 y m 2 . Xc AF
This is true in general, as can be proved analytically by solv-

AIChE Journal April 2003 Vol. 49, No. 4 983

ing the equation For the set of ODEs Eqs. 13 to 15. governing the behavior
of the TCC process in this case, the same boundary condi-
d m3 y m2 . m3 y m2 . tions as described for the irreversible reaction apply. Al-
s though the ODE system is coupled, it can be reduced to one
dm 2 X
m2 . m3 single ODE with the reactant concentration as the depen-
dent variable by dividing Eqs. 14 and 15 term by term by Eq.
y 13, thus leading to
m3 y m2 . m2 m3
q s 0: 39.
m3 . m2
X dc B, j m j y HA
sy s j 47.
m3 m2 dc A, j m j y HB

dcC, j m j y HA
Substituting the result into Eq. 31 yields Eqs. 37 and 38, as sy s j . 48.
expected. These apply for given values of Da2 and Da3. dc A, j m j y HC
Within the complete separation region, the maximum value
of m 3 y m 2 . is achieved at the vertex where m 2 s HC and
By integrating Eqs. 47 and 48, expressions relating the varia-
m 3 s HB . At this point, the required conversion degree X
tions in the concentration of the product species, B and C,

can be attained by tuning the Damkohler number; the follow-
within one section to the corresponding variation in the con-
ing values are obtained from Eqs. 37 and 38
centration of the reactant, A, are obtained

Da2 opt sy HA y HC . 1y p . ln 1y X . 40.

c B, j y c B0 , j s j c A , j y c A0 , j . 49.
Da3 opt sy HB y HA . 1y p . ln 1y X . , 41.
cC, j y cC0 , j s j c A , j y c A0 , j . . 50.
and allow for the achievement of the minimum desorbent re-
quirement and the maximum productivity, namely, These have been obtained by integrating from left to right,
but similar expressions with superscript 1 instead of 0 are
1 obtained when integrating from right to left.
DR opt s 42. Substituting Eqs. 49 and 50 into Eq. 13, an ordinary differ-
Xc AF ential equation for the concentration profile of A inside sec-
tion j is obtained that leads to
y Xk R c AF
PR opt s . 43.
1y p . ln 1y X . cA , j dc A, j Da j
Hc sy yj ,
A, j
w 1 , j c A2 , j q w 2 , j c A , j q w 3 , j 1y p . m j y HA .
It can be readily observed that DR improves for increasing
conversion, whereas the opposite occurs to PR, which in- 51.
creases for less stringent purity requirements, as expected.
Thus summarizing, for any required conversion degree X,
optimal performance is achieved for m 2 s HC and m 3 s HB ,
that is, the vertex of the complete separation region of the

two products, for the Damkohler numbers given by Eqs. 37 j j
w 1, j sy
and 38. It is worth noting that under these conditions the K eq
purity values are given by the following relationships
1 j
X HB y HC .
w 2, j s1y
K eq
j cC0 , j q j cB0 , j . q2 Kj c A0 , j
PBE s 44.
HA y HC . q X HB y HA .
1 2
X HB y HC . w 3, j s y c B0 , j cC0 , j q j cC0 , j q j c B0 , j . c A0 , j y j j c A0 , j . .
K eq
PCR s . 45.
HB y HA . q X HA y HC .
Two forms of the solution have to be considered, depending
Reersible reaction, A| B H C on the sign of the discriminant, that is, s 4w 1, j w 3, j y w 2, j . 2

In the case of a reversible reaction with first-order forward

reaction and second-order backward reaction, the rate ex- 2 2 w 1, j c 1A , j q w 2 , j 2 w 1 , j c A0 , j q w 2 , j
pression is given by ' arctan
' yarctan
' /
c B cC Da j
f c . s cA y . 46. sy ) 0 . , 52 .
K eq 1y p . m j y HA .

984 April 2003 Vol. 49, No. 4 AIChE Journal

1 2 w 1, j c 1A , j q w 2 , j y'y
'y ln
2 w 1, j c 1A , j q w 2 , j q'y

2 w 1, j c A0 , j q w 2 , j y'y
2 w 1, j c A0 , j q w 2 , j q'y /
Da j
sy - 0 . , 53 .
1y p . m j y HA .
The case s 0 is not considered here, since it is nongeneric,
that is, it is obtained through a very special combination of
values of the physical parameters that makes little sense to
insist on.
Each of these equations comprises an analytical relation
between the liquid-phase concentrations of the reactant at
the inlet and at the outlet of section j, that is, between c A, j
and c A, j . Since one of these two quantities is known from the
boundary conditions, the remaining one has to be found by
numerically solving either Eq. 52 or Eq. 53. It is worth noting
that, depending on the values of the flow rate ratios and of Figure 6. Lines of 90% conversion for the reversible re-
the Damkohler numbers, both functional forms of the solu- action A| B H C under conditions of con-
tion can indeed occur.
stant Damkohler numbers, Da 2 s Da 3 s1, as
The shape of the isoconversion lines within the m 2 ,m 3 .- compared to an irreversible reaction A B H
parameter plane shall be discussed using a model system C (solid line); K eq s10 (dotted line); K eq s1
characterized by the same adsorptive properties as in the case (dashed line); K eq s 0.1 (dash-dotted line);
of the irreversible reaction described earlier, that is, HA s1, Henry coefficients: HA s1; HB s1.5; HC s 0.5.
HB s1.5, HC s 0.5, and Da2 s Da3 s1. Complete separation triangle with subregions represented by
thin dashed lines.
The isoconversion curves corresponding to a conversion
degree of X s 0.90 are drawn in Figure 6 for different values
of the reaction equilibrium constant, namely K eq s10 dotted
line., K eq s1.0 dashed line., and K eq s 0.1 dash-dotted line. simulated moving-bed process for a purely separative system,
in addition to the irreversible reaction case solid line.. Also, this is not necessarily the case for a reactive process. In par-
for the sake of clarity the complete separation triangle HC - ticular, the performance of a reactive unit, as compared to
m 2 - m 3 - HB is reported. the purely separative one, depends upon the residence time
It can be readily observed that the smaller the K eq value, of the reactant within the different sections of the unit. Ac-
the smaller the region where 90% conversion or more can be cordingly, in the following the residence time distribution
achieved with respect to the irreversible reaction. Close to RTD. for an SMB system with discrete shifting of the
the diagonal, the isoconversion lines for finite K eq values are columns is compared to that of the corresponding TCC pro-
very similar to the ones for the irreversible reaction case. This cess. The results obtained from the RTD analysis are as-
can be understood by considering that under very dilute con- sessed by comparison with detailed numerical simulations of
ditions corresponding to m 3 m 2 , that is, u F 0, the sec- a simulated moving-bed reactor.
ond-order backward reaction is reduced more than the first- The synthesis of methyl acetate from methanol and acetic
order forward reaction. On the other hand, in the neighbor- acid, catalyzed by a sulfonated ion-exchange resin, under infi-
hood of the optimal point, the reversible case can achieve nite dilution conditions in methanol was chosen for these
only a worse performance than the irreversible case for the simulations. The sorption isotherms described previously can
given values of the Damkohler numbers. Compared to the be approximated under these conditions by linear isotherms,
irreversible reaction, the maximum productivity at 90% con- with Henry coefficients HA s 0.063, HW s 2.60, and HE s
version is reduced by about 12% in the case of K eq s10, but 0.038 for acetic acid, water, and methyl acetate, respectively
by 38% and by 71% in the case of K eq s1 and 0.1, respec- Lode et al., 2001.. Furthermore, because methanol is pre-
tively. sent in large excess, the esterification reaction is of zeroth
order in methanol and can be approximated by the
Comparison of TCCR with SMBR monomolecular reaction, AW q E, where the equilibrium
limitation is disregarded in order to obtain an analytical solu-
In the first part of this work, the performance of a true tion of the model equations. A pseudo-first-order expression
countercurrent reactive adsorption process characterized by for the reaction rate is adopted, which accounts for reaction
linear adsorption isotherms, infinite mass-transfer kinetics, in both the fluid and the solid phase
and negligible axial dispersion has been analyzed in order to
achieve a deeper understanding of how operating parameters
control process performance. r s k R c A s U k L c A q 1y U . k S HA c A s U rL q 1y U . rS
While the behavior of the true countercurrent process has 54.
been shown to be completely equivalent to the corresponding

AIChE Journal April 2003 Vol. 49, No. 4 985

In the case of the methyl acetate synthesis catalyzed by a
sulfonated ion-exchange resin the reaction rate in the liquid
phase can be considered negligible, k L < k R HA; hence, Eq.
54 reduces to r s 1y U . rS s 1y U . k S HA c A for the model
system, with the reaction rate constant in the solid phase given
by k S s 2.42 miny1 Lode et al., 2001..
Due to the small value of the Henry coefficient of the reac-
tant, among the subregions of the complete separation trian-
gle in the m 2 ,m 3 .-plane, the one characterized by the reac-
tion taking part predominantly in section 3, that is, region I
in Figure 4, is of prime importance. Accordingly, for the sake
of simplicity but without loss of generality, attention here is
focused only on operating points in this region, that is, m 3 )
m 2 ) HA .
For the SMBR unit under consideration, each section is
subdivided into two columns of length Lcol s 30 cm and the
total porosity is set to a value of U s 0.616, corresponding to
a bed void fraction b s 0.40, and a particle porosity p s 0.36.
Considering a switch time of tU s13.33 min, this SMBR unit
is equivalent to the one investigated previously, except for Figure 7. Effect of flow rate ratios on conversion along
the number of columns in section 3 Lode et al., 2001.. a line of constant distance to the diagonal
The differential mass-balance equations for the reacting ( m3 I m2 s 0.01).
species within each column are given by Unit configuration 2-2-2-2, switch time t U s13.33 min. Cir-
cles: numerical simulations for detailed SMBR model; solid
line: predictions based on TCC model; broken line: predic-
ci ci 2 ci tions based on segregated model.
U q uj s b Deff y 1y U . k m qieq y qi .
t z z2
is A, E, W 55 . Figure 7 indicate that the conversion decreases from a value
qi of 96.5% at m 3 s1.00 to a value of 70.0% at the highest con-
s k m qieq y qi . q i rS , 56. sidered flow rate ratio, that is, m 3 s 3.00. While such a de-
crease in conversion can also be expected for the true coun-
tercurrent system, a quantitative comparison reveals a sub-
with the adsorption equilibria assumed to be linear, that is, stantial difference in the performances of the two units.
qieq s Hi c i , and the reaction taking place in the solid phase In particular, by applying the geometric and kinematic con-
only, as described earlier.
version rules of Eq. 1, the equivalent Damkohler number for
All columns are initially devoid of any reacting species, the SMBR unit can be written as
c i 0, z . s 0, and the Danckwerts boundary conditions are as-
sumed to be valid at the inlet and outlet of each column
n 3 tU k R
Da3 s , 58.
c 1y b .
y q
u j c z s 0 . s u j c z s 0 . y Deff 57.
z z s 0q
leading to a value of Da3 s 2.60 for the operating parameters
s 0. described earlier. The resulting conversion as a function of
z zs L the flow rate ratio in section 3 is given by Eq. 25, and it is
represented in Figure 7 by a solid line, clearly indicating that
To limit the effect of axial dispersion and mass-transfer resis- the conversion obtained in the SMBR is substantially smaller
tances on the performance of the unit, an effective dispersion than the one achieved in the TCC unit.
coefficient of Deff s10y4 cm2rs and a mass-transfer coeffi- Furthermore, by analyzing the conversion as a function of
cient of k m s10 4 miny1 have been chosen. Under these con- the flow rate ratio in section 2 for otherwise constant operat-
ditions, the characteristic time for mass transfer is orders of ing parameters, it is found that the amount of reactant con-
magnitude smaller than the characteristic time for reaction, verted slightly increases as m 2 is reduced see Figure 8.. On
and the number of theoretical stages per column of the SMBR the other hand, the conversion in the TCC process is inde-
exceeds a value of 5,000, that is, columns have a very high pendent of the flow rate ratio in section 2 in the region where
efficiency. m 3 ) m 2 ) HA .
The behavior of the SMBR as compared to the true mov- In order to understand this behavior more clearly, the resi-
ing bed is highlighted here by investigating the dependence dence time distribution E . of an adsorbable reactant within
of conversion on the flow rate ratios along a line at constant the SMBR unit has to be evaluated. Given the linearity of
distance from the diagonal in the m 2 ,m 3 .-parameter plane. the system under consideration, the conversion in the unit is
In particular, these simulations have been performed with entirely determined by the RTD and can therefore be pre-
m 3 s1, 2, and 3, and m 2 s m 3 y0.01. The results shown in dicted using a reactor model with complete segregation Fo-

986 April 2003 Vol. 49, No. 4 AIChE Journal

upon the injection time of the pulse relative to the switch
interval, as will be described below. On the other hand, the
behavior of the SMBR during one switch interval is identical
to its behavior during the next switch interval, so that sam-
pling one complete switch interval does in fact lead to the
correct RTD.
In the following, the RTD is derived for an SMBR with a
configuration of two columns in each section and with flow
rate ratios in sections 2 and 3 that are larger than the Henry
coefficient of A, that is, m 3 ) m 2 ) HA . At these conditions,
the propagation velocity of species A within these two sec-

m j 1y U . q U Lcol
A, j s , js 2, 3 60.
w HA1y U . q U x tU

is high enough to allow all molecules fed in a single switch

interval to be collected in the raffinate stream and, in addi-
Figure 8. Effect of flow rate ratios on conversion along tion, to travel for a greater distance than the length of a sin-
a line of constant m3 s3.00. gle column within one complete switch interval, since A, j tU
Unit configuration 2-2-2-2, switch time t U s13.33 min. Cir-
cles: numerical simulations for detailed SMBR model; solid
) Lcol .
line: predictions based on TCC model; broken line: predic- Among the molecules of species A leaving the unit, several
tions based on the segregation model. subsets can be distinguished, depending on their history
within the SMB. First, some molecules travel from the feed
node to the raffinate node without experiencing any port
gler, 1997.. Accordingly, conversion can be calculated by in- switching first subset., that is, they reach the raffinate before
tegrating over all possible residence times the product of the the port switch. The molecules of the second subset are in
residence time distribution and of the conversion achieved in the second column of section 3 at the end of the switch inter-
a batch reactor as a function of residence time val. Therefore, they experience the port switching and actu-
ally reach the raffinate in the following switch interval, but

they never enter section 2. Finally, the molecules in the third
Xs H0 E . X batch . d 59. subset are in the first column of section 3 at the end of the
switch interval and therefore enter section 2 with the port
switch. Distinguishing between these subsets, it is possible to
In order to derive the RTD for the SMBR accounting for calculate the RTD for any set of m 2 ,m 3 . values, within the
the presence of the two phases, it is considered that reactant boundaries just indicated. For the case where each molecule
A, instead of the classic inert tracer, travels along the SMB can enter section 2 at most once, that is, for the range of
reactor under nonreactive conditions. In particular, it is as- operating parameters fulfilling the following constraint
sumed that a constant concentration of A is continuously fed
through the feed port to the unit over one switch interval, Lcol Lcol
that is, from tX s 0 to tX s tU. The time spent inside the unit q - tU , 61.
A,3 A ,2
before reaching the raffinate outlet is computed for each of
these molecules, and the RTD is obtained by properly
weighting these internal ages. The standard approach of the procedure to obtain the residence time as well as the
feeding to the unit just one pulse of species A is not applica- definitions of the new symbols introduced in the equations
ble in this case, since the residence time obtained depends below. is reported in the Appendix, and leads to

1y 2 L col
for 0 F - 3
A,3 tU / A ,3 / A ,3
Lcol Lcol tX3 y U
t y LcolrA ,3 . Lcol
y3 F - 3,1
E . s~
A,3 t
U A ,3 / q U
t 3 ,1 y3L colrA ,3 .
for 3
A ,3
tU y tX3 3 Lcol Lcol
for 3,2 F F q
tU 3 LcolrA ,3 q LcolrA ,2 y 3 ,2 . A ,3 A ,2
3 Lcol Lcol
0 for ) q .
A,3 A ,2

AIChE Journal April 2003 Vol. 49, No. 4 987

creasing trend in conversion exhibited by the SMBR for de-
creasing flow rate ratios in section 2 is correctly reproduced,
as compared to the constant behavior given by the TCC
model. This behavior is due to the increasing residence times
in section 2 resulting from lower m 2 values, that is, lower
fluid velocities.

To describe the behavior of a true countercurrent reactive
chromatography process in terms of reactant conversion and
product separation, the concentration profiles inside the unit
have been derived analytically using an equilibrium theory
model. Based on this solution, expressions for the reactant
conversion as a function of the flow rate ratios as well as of

the Damkohler numbers within the central sections of the
unit have been derived for both an irreversible and a re-
versible reaction, where A gives B and C and the adsorption
equilibria are linear. In the case of an irreversible reaction,
explicit design criteria have been derived for the Damkohler
Figure 9. Residence-time distribution for the case of m2 numbers, as well as for the flow rate ratios, in order to obtain
s1.10 and m3 s3.00, switch time 13.33 min. optimum process performance in terms of productivity and
solvent consumption at a constant degree of conversion, that
is, for specified product purities.
Note here that the constraint of Eq. 61 is more restrictive Although valid only under specific conditions, the solution
than m 3 ) m 2 ) HA , which only requires each individual term of the TCC model that has been developed indicated the
on the lefthand side of this inequality to be smaller than tU. possibility of using the true countercurrent reactor model as
For the case of m 3 s 3.00 and m 2 s1.10, the correspond- an approximation for the simulated moving-bed reactor. This
ing RTD is shown in Figure 9. The two Dirac delta functions equivalence between TCC and SMB is widely used for nonre-
originate from tracer molecules that have never entered sec- active, purely separative processes, even when the number of
tion 2, and the distance between the two peaks is given by columns is relatively small. However, a clear disagreement
the residence time of reactant A in one single column of between the analytical TCC model results in the presence of
section 3. The two rectangular regions at higher residence reactions, and the ones obtained from the numerical simula-
times, on the other hand, refer to molecules experiencing a tion of the SMBR was found for units with a finite number of
smaller fluid velocity within section 2 as compared to the one columns per section. This inequivalence is due to the differ-
in section 3. ence in the residence-time distributions in the two units. This
In order to calculate the conversion in the SMBR unit, the conclusion has been confirmed by comparing the results of
integral in Eq. 59 has to be evaluated. Here, attention has to the SMBR model given with those obtained by first calculat-
be paid to the fact that the batch-reactor conversion has to ing the residence-time distribution of the SMBR and then
be derived for a heterogeneous system. In particular, the cor- applying the model of complete segregation to calculate con-
responding material-balance equation is given by version in the case of linear reaction kinetics. Of course, in
the case where the number of columns in the SMBR is very
dc A large, the switch time in the SMBR is very small and the
w U q 1y U . HA x sy k R c A sy U k L c A RTDs of the SMBR and the TCCR become very similar.
However, this is a situation of little interest in practical appli-
y 1y U . HA k S c A , 63. cations. Therefore, it can be concluded that, contrary to what
is commonly done for separative systems, the analogy with
leading to the following expression for the conversion as a the corresponding reactive TCC unit cannot be used when
function of time dealing with SMBRs of practical relevance. In these cases,
the results obtained through simplified or detailed TCCR
k R models can be used as initial estimates to be refined using a
X batch s1yexp y
U q 1y U . HA / 64. detailed SMBR model.

The conversion values computed for the operating points
along a line of unitary slope in the m 2 ,m 3 . plane are shown Financial support of Roche AG, Basel, Switzerland, is gratefully
by the broken line in Figure 7. It is seen that the conversion
values computed from the RTD model and through the de-
tailed SMBR model coincide within the region of flow rate Notation
ratios considered. The same conclusion is reached when con- c i, j sliquid-phase concentration of species i within section j
sidering the data shown in Figure 8. In particular, the in-
Da j sDamkohler number in section j

988 April 2003 Vol. 49, No. 4 AIChE Journal

Deff saxial dispersion coefficient Operation of Simulated Moving Bed Chromatographic Reactors,
DR sdesorbent requirement Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 39, 2290 2000..
E . sresidence-time distribution Fogler, H. S., Elements of Chemical Reaction Engineering, Prentice
Hi sHenry coefficient of species i Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ 1992..
K eq sreaction equilibrium constant Hashimoto, K., S. Adachi, H. Noujima, and Y. Ueda, A New Pro-
k L sliquid-phase reaction rate constant cess Combining Adsorption and Enzyme Reaction for Producing
k m smass-transfer coefficient Higher-Fructose Syrup, Biotechnol. Bioeng., 25, 2371 1983..
k R soverall reaction rate constant Kawase, M., Y. Inoue, T. Araki, and K. Hashimoto, The
k S ssolid-phase reaction rate constant Simulated-Moving-Bed Reactor for Production of Bisphenol A,
Lcol scolumn length Catal. Today, 48, 199 1999..
L j slength of section j Kawase, M., A. Pilgrim, T. Araki, and K. Hashimoto, Lactosucrose
m j sflow rate ratio Production Using a Simulated Moving Bed Reactor, Chem. Eng.
n j snumber of columns in section j Sci., 56, 453 2001..
n s w, j snumber of switches experienced by a molecule in section j Kawase, M., T. B. Suzuki, K. Inoue, K. Yoshimoto, and K.
Pi E spurity of species i in the extract stream Hashimoto, Increased Esterification Conversion by Application
Pi R spurity of species i in the raffinate stream of the Simulated Moving Bed Reactor, Chem. Eng. Sci., 51, 2971
PR sproductivity 1996..
qi, j ssolid-phase concentration of species i within section j Lode, F., M. Houmard, M. Mazzotti, and M. Morbidelli, Continu-
r soverall reaction rate per unit volume ous Reactive Chromatography, Chem. Eng. Sci., 56, 269 2001..
rL sliquid-phase reaction rate Mazzotti, M., A. Kruglov, B. Neri, D. Gelosa, and M. Morbidelli, A
rS ssolid-phase reaction rate Continuous Chromatographic Reactor: SMBR, Chem. Eng. Sci.,
ssparameter along characteristic 51, 1827 1996..
t stime Shieh, M. T., and P. E. Barker, Saccharification of Modified Starch
X to Maltose in a Semi-Continuous Counter-Current Chromato-
t stime during switch interval
U graphic Reactor-Separator SCCR-S., J. Chem. Technol. Biotech-
t sswitch time
u j slinear velocity of the liquid phase in section j nol., 63, 125 1995..
u s slinear velocity of the solid phase in section j Shieh, M. T., and P. E. Barker, Combined Bioreaction and Separa-
i, j spropagation velocity of species i in section j tion in a Simulated Counter-Current Chromatographic
x j sdimensionless time coordinate Bioreactor-Separator for the Hydrolysis of Lactose, J. Chem.
X sconversion Technol. Biotechnol., 66, 265 1996..
y j sdimensionless space coordinate Ad-
Storti, G., M. Masi, R. Paludetto, M. Morbidelli, and S. Carra,
z sspace coordinate sorption Separation Processes: Countercurrent and Simulated
Countercurrent Operations, Comput. Chem. Eng., 12, 475 1988..
Greek letters
sfraction of molecules Appendix
sfraction of molecules To calculate the RTD, an SMB initially devoid of any
j sdimensionless quantity, Eq. 47
j sdimensionless quantity, Eq. 48 molecules of A is considered, to which species A is fed only
. sDirac delta function during the first switch interval, 0 F tX - tU. In addition to the
U stotal porosity condition that will be developed later, this analysis applies to
b sbed porosity the case where m 3 ) m 2 ) HA , which guarantees not only that
p sparticle porosity
i sstoichiometric coefficient of species i all molecules fed leave the unit through the raffinate stream,
i, j sslope of the characteristic for species i in section j but also that in each section component A covers a distance
sresidence time within one switch-time interval that is longer than a single
column, that is, A, j tU ) Lcol . Among the molecules leaving
Subscripts and superscripts the unit, three subsets have to be distinguished:
Molecules of subset 1 do not experience any port switch-
isspecies i, is A, B,C
jssection j ing and leave the unit within the first switch interval, 0 F tX -
opt sat optimum operation point tU. Their residence time is given by
asstate at lefthand boundary outside of a section
bsstate at righthand boundary outside of a section
Dsdesorbent stream 2 Lcol
Esextract stream
1s , A1.
eq sat equilibrium with the fluid phase
F sfeedstream
I sinitial state and accordingly, these molecules have to be fed to the unit
Rsraffinate stream within the time interval 0 F tX - tX1, with
SMBssimulated moving bed process
TCC strue countercurrent process
0 sstate at lefthand boundary inside of a section tX1 s tU y 1 s tU y2 LcolrA ,3 . A2.
1sstate at righthand boundary inside of a section
The total fraction of the feedstream experiencing this situa-
tion is therefore given by
Literature Cited
Akintoye, A., G. Ganetsos, and P. E. Barker, The Inversion of Su-
1 2 Lcol 2 Lcol
crose on a Semi-Continuous Counter-Current Chromatographic s tU y
Bioreactor-Separator, Trans. Inst. Chem. Eng., 69C., 35 1991..
Barker, P. E., G. Ganetsos, A. Ajongwen, and A. Akintoye, Biore-
t U A,3 / s1y
A ,3 tU
. A3.

action-Separation on Continuous Chromatographic Systems,

Molecules of subset 2 experience at least one switching
Chem. Eng. J., 50, B23 1992..
Duennebier, G., J. Fricke, and K.-U. Klatt, Optimal Design and of the ports, but never enter into section 2. For the standard

AIChE Journal April 2003 Vol. 49, No. 4 989

unit configuration of two columns in each section, this subset For the sake of clarity, the analysis is restricted here to the
is given by all the molecules present in the second column of case where all molecules entering section 2 due to the col-
section 3 at the end of the feed interval, that is, at tX s tU. umn shifting at tX s tU are either eluted to the raffinate dur-
These molecules have been fed to the unit within the time ing the second switch interval or can at least proceed to the
interval tX1 F tX - tX2 , with second column of section 3. This constraint requires a
molecule to be able to travel within one switch interval at
tX2 s tU y LcolrA ,3 , A4. least a distance of one column length at the propagation ve-
locity in section 2 and an additional one at the corresponding
and accordingly this subset of molecules accounts for a frac- velocity in section 3, thus imposing a lower bound on the
tion of propagation velocities, that is

1 Lcol Lcol Lcol

s U tX2 y tX1 . s A5. q - tU . A8.
t A,3 tU A,3 A ,2

of the total amount of species A fed. The set of molecules eluted directly to the raffinate com-
In principle, a fraction of these molecules is eluted to the prises all molecules fed during the interval tX2 F tX - tX3 , with
raffinate within the second switch interval, tU F tX - 2 tU , while the critical feeding time tX3 given by
the remaining ones experience one or more additional port
switches, depending on the propagation velocity of species A
1 Lcol
in section 3, A,3 , and thus depending on the flow rate ratio tU s w Lcol y tU y tX3 . A ,3 x q2 . A9.
in this section. None of these molecules is shifted into section A,2 A ,3
For the sake of clarity, the analysis is here restricted to the Each of these molecules has to pass through three columns,
case where all molecules of this subset are eluted during the with a part of one column being transversed at a reduced
second switch interval. This requires the molecules to travel velocity. The residence times are therefore uniformly dis-
at least a distance of two column lengths during one com- tributed between the one for the molecules being fed at tX s
plete switch cycle, and the required propagation velocity is tX2 , which are shifted to section 2, but leave the section imme-
thus lower bounded by diately after the port movement, and the ones being fed at
tX s tX3 , which are able to elute to the raffinate just prior to
Lcol the second port shifting. Accordingly
A,3 ) 2 . A6.
3 Lcol 3 Lcol 2 Lcol A ,2
F F q tU y s 3,1 . A10.
Under these conditions, each of the molecules experiences
exactly one switch of the ports, and therefore has to travel a A,3 A ,3 A ,3 / 1y
A ,3 /
distance of 2q1. Lcol before being eluted with the raffinate
stream, leading to a residence time of The remaining molecules proceed only to the second column
of section 3, and hence experience an additional switch of the
3 Lcol columns before eluting to the raffinate. The residence times
2s . A7. are therefore uniformly distributed between

Finally, subset 3 comprises all the molecules that are 4 Lcol 2 Lcol A ,2 3 Lcol Lcol
3,2 s q tU y F F
present within the first column of section 3 at the end of the
feed interval, that is, at tX s tU , and are thus moved into sec-
A,3 A ,3 / 1y
A ,3 / A ,3
A ,2

tion 2 by the column movement. A11.

Within section 2, these molecules experience a lower prop-
agation velocity than in section 3 due to the lower flow rate Properly weighting the residence times of these three sub-
ratio, and therefore a calculation of their internal age has to sets, the RTD as described by Eq. 62 is obtained.
take into account the distance traveled by each molecule in
section 2, in addition to that in section 3. Manuscript receied Jan. 2, 2002, and reision receied Sept. 12, 2002.

990 April 2003 Vol. 49, No. 4 AIChE Journal