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18

th
European Symposium on Computer Aided Process Engineering ESCAPE 18
Bertrand Braunschweig and Xavier Joulia Editors!
" #$$8 Elsevier B%&%'(td% All rights reserved%
Optimisation of a Bio-ethanol Purification Process
Using Conceptual Design and Simulation Tools
Patricia )% *och+
a
Jos, Espinosa+
-
a
PLAPIQUI-UNS-CONICET, Camino La Carrindanga km 7-8000, Baha Blana,
Arg!n"ina
#
IN$A%-CONICET-UNL, A&!llan!da '()7, S'00* $+C San"a ,!, Arg!n"ina
Abstract
.n this wor/+ we propose an evolutionary optimisation procedure which intensively uses
-oth conceptual and rigorous models 0or the design and simulation o0 unit operations
involved in a -io1ethanol puri0ication process% 2hile conceptual models are used to
determine initial values 0or design and operating varia-les o0 a given operation unit+
rigorous simulation departing 0rom initial estimates generated at conceptual design level
ena-les to remove simpli0ying assumptions+ interconnect e3uipments and calculate
operating and investment costs%
4nce an initial design o0 the puri0ication plant is o-tained+ opportunities o0
improvement are easily recogni5ed and then tested -y per0orming the design and
simulation steps until a cost1e00ective -io1ethanol puri0ication plant is achieved%
Keyords6 Bio1ethanol Puri0ication Plant+ Evolutionary 4ptimisation+ Conceptual
7esign+ 8igorous Simulation%
!" #ntroduction
4ptimisation o0 -oth design and operation varia-les o0 a -io1ethanol puri0ication plant
intended to produce 0uel grade ethanol is a challenge to ma/e the -io10uel a realistic
alternative in the energy mar/et%
9iven the plant comple:ity and the high non1linearity o0 the corresponding models+ we
propose an evolutionary optimisation procedure which uses intensively -oth conceptual
and rigorous models 0or the design and simulation o0 unit operations% .t is 3uite di00icult
to o-tain an initial estimation o0 the total num-er o0 trays o0 the main distillation
column+ placement o0 0eed and side streams+ and steam 0low rate in the simulation
environment+ -ut this tas/ is easily accomplished in the conceptual design environment%
.n addition+ convergence o0 the rigorous model is enhanced -y using initial estimates o0
internal pro0iles generated at the conceptual design level despite o0 the highly non1ideal
-ehaviour o0 the multicomponent a5eotropic mi:ture% Applying the same philosophy to
estimate initial values 0or design and operating varia-les o0 the whole process+ optimal
values 0or a cost1e00ective -io1ethanol puri0ication plant are reported%
;he methodology is applied to the puri0ication process 0or a 0eed leaving the
0ermentation step o0 a conventional corn dry1grind processing 0acility producing #<
million liters'year o0 ethanol and 1= million /g'year distiller>s dry grains with solu-les
779S!% ;he 0eed to the puri0ication plant ##1?$ /g'h! is mainly composed -y ethanol
1$%8$ @ w'w! and water 88%=8 @ w'w! with traces o0 methanol $%$##A @! and 0usel
$%#$$= @!% A simpli0ied 0low diagram is shown in Bigure 1%
# P- .oh and +- E/0ino/a
Bigure 1% Simpli0ied 0low diagram o0 a -ioethanol puri0ication plant%
$" #nitial Design
*-1- B!!r Col2mn
;he vapour stream leaving the stripping column captures nearly all o0 the ethanol and
components in traces produced during the 0ermentation step% ;he minimum energy
demand o0 the process i%e%+ minimum re-oil ratio! is calculated through the lever arm
rule -y setting the -ottom product as high purity water and the composition o0 the
vapour stream as the corresponding to the vapour in e3uili-rium with hot wine% .n other
words+ a pinch at the top o0 the stripping column is considered%
.n order to o-tain a 0easi-le design the 0ollowing steps are per0ormed6 i! determine the
ma:imum 0easi-le separation and minimum energy demand smin! -y applying pinch
theory% Bor this tas/+ it is re3uired an e3uili-rium calculation that can -e per0ormed in a
conceptual model 0ramewor/ li/e 7.S;.( *yprotech+ 1===!C ii! calculate the re-oil
ratio s D 1%$E sminC iii! set a value 0or the num-er o0 stages FC iv! simulate a stripping
column with re-oiler 0irst and then replace the re-oiler with steam ta/ing into account
the re-oiler duty and the latent heat o0 condensation o0 steam% ;his tas/ can -e done in a
simulation 0ramewor/ li/e *ysys *yprotech+ 1===!%
Bew simulations were needed to achieve a 3uasi1optimal column design with G8
e3uili-rium stages+ a column diameter o0 $%= m+ a section pressure drop o0 G<%? /Pa and
a steam 0low rate o0 GA$$ /g'h% ;he values o-tained 0or the num-er o0 e3uili-rium
stages and steam demand+ together with the composition o0 ethanol in the outlet stream
E1%E# @ w'w! agree well with results presented in Hwiat/ows/i et al% #$$A!%
*-*- .3#rid Col2mn
As a multicomponent system 0ormed -y ethanol and water with traces o0 methanol and
0usel is to -e separated into a single column+ a three steps conceptual design and
rigorous simulation process is proposed% Birst+ ethanol and methanol are lumped into
one pseudo1component in order to o-tain a 0irst estimation o0 steam 0low rate+ num-er
o0 stages necessary to separate an ethanol1rich stream 0rom a 0usel1rich stream+ 0eed
stage and side stream location 7.S;.(!% A0ter rigorous simulation o0 the 3uaternary
mi:ture in *ysys+ separation -etween a methanol1rich stream and an ethanol1rich
stream is considered -y ta/ing into account the distillation line departing 0rom the
composition o0 the distillate 7.S;.(!% Binally+ -oth columns are integrated into a single
one *ysys!%
*-*-1- Sid!-S"r!am Col2mn
.n order to o-tain a 0easi-le design the 0ollowing steps are per0ormed6 i! calculate smin
t!
0or the separation ethanol'water'11pentanol 7.S;.(!+ ii! estimate the num-er o0
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
(a)
%
e
t
h
a
n
o
l
%
ater
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
(b)
%
m
e
t
h
a
n
o
l
%
ethanol
O0"imi/a"ion o4 a Bio-!"hanol 02ri4ia"ion 0ro!// 2/ing on!0"2al d!/ign and
/im2la"ion "ool/ G
e3uili-rium stages Fstages
t!
+ 0eed stage F0eed
t!
and side stream location FSide Stream
t!
0or s
t!
I
smin
t!
7.S;.(!+ iii! simulate the 3uaternary system *ysys! 0or the design and operating
varia-les o-tained in step ii!+ iv! calculate the steam 0low rate &steam
3!
through the energy
-alance and simulate the column without re-oiler *ysys!+ v! simulate the system side1
stream column plus decanter and water1rich phase recycle *ysys!%
;a-le 1 presents the results o0 the conceptual design per0ormed in 7.S;.( steps i! and
ii!! 0or the ternary mi:ture ethanol'water'11pentanol+ with the last component used to
appro:imate the -ehaviour o0 a 0usel component% Compositions o0 -oth ethanol and
0usel in the -ottom stream were selected ta/ing into account the -ehaviour o0 the
residue curve 7.S;.(! corresponding to the li3uid in e3uili-rium with the vapour 0eed
in the neigh-ourhood o0 water verte:% As -oth 0or the ternary and 3uaternary mi:ture+
the residue curve approaches the water verte: with compositions o0 ethanol a-ove the
mole 0raction o0 0usel+ the selected -ottom composition re0lects this -ehaviour% Bigure
#a! shows the corresponding composition pro0ile in the composition simple:% ;he
0igure also shows a distillation -oundary departing 0rom the a5eotrope ethanol1water
and ending at the hetero1a5eotrope water10usel% ;he side stream is located inside the
li3uid1li3uid gap as this stream will -e separated in a decanter into a 0usel1rich phase
0eed to the 0usel plant! and a water1rich phase recycle to column!%
;a-le 1% 8esults 0or the ternary system ethanol'water'11pentanol 7.S;.(!%
Product Compositions+ r+ s and F
Beed vapor! J$%#=?=8+ $%A==1G#+ $%$$#888K
7istillate J$%?<1<<+ $%#E8E$+ A%$ E1$EK
Side Stream J$%$E11E+ $%=1<<#+ $%$G<<GK
Bottom J=%A E1$A+ $%=====+ <%$ E1$?K
8min
t!
' Smin
t!
#%8G= ' 1%$$
8
t!
' S
t!
#%8G= ' 1%$$
Fstages
t!
Jincluding condenser and re-oilerK 1? J$ L 111E L 1AK
F0eed
t!
' FSide Stream
t!
<'11
Bigure #% a! .nternal pro0ile in the composition simple:
corresponding to the -ase design with phase separator and water1rich phase recycle *ysys!C -!
7istillation lines corresponding to the distillate composition o0 the methanol column% System
methanol'ethanol'waterL11pentanol at 1$1%G /Pa 7.S;.(!%
.t is noteworthy that minimum re-oil ratio 0or the given separation does not re3uire an
in0inite num-er o0 stages% ;his -ehaviour can -e e:plained in terms o0 -i0urcation o0
adia-atic pro0iles and it will -e su-Mect o0 0urther analysis in a ne:t contri-ution%
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
W
EtOH
1-C5ol
MeOH
Rot Inc
15
3D
< P- .oh and +- E/0ino/a
*-*-*- 5!"hanol Col2mn and .3#rid Col2mn
;he distillate stream o0 the side1stream column contains small amounts o0 methanol that
must -e separated 0rom ethanol to agree with stringent 3uality standards $%1 @ &'&
methanol in dehydrated ethanol at #$
o
C!% At a 0irst glance+ this separation could -e
per0ormed in another distillation column% A di00erent alternative would -e to integrate
this column with the side1stream column% ;he distillate line 7.S;.(! corresponding to
the distillate composition o0 the side1stream column shown in Bigure #-! resem-les the
-ehaviour o0 the internal pro0ile at total re0lu: and it can -e considered as a good
appro:imation to the actual operation o0 the methanol recti0ying column+ as the distillate
0low rate o0 this column is low enough to produce a high re0lu: ratio% ;here0ore+ it is
possi-le to estimate the optimal num-er o0 stages in the recti0ying section o0 the hy-rid
column as the num-er o0 trays necessary to separate the methanol in e:cess 0rom the
ethanol1rich stream% As shown in Bigure #-!+ the methanol1rich distillate stream will
also contain small amounts o0 ethanol and water due to the distillation line running 0rom
pure methanol to ethanol1water a5eotrope%
Bigure G shows the internal pro0ile in the composition tetrahedron a0ter simulation o0 the
hy-rid column in *ysys% A loss o0 a-out $%18 @ w'w o0 ethanol in methanol1rich
distillate occurs% ;he side streams are located near the ma:imum in ethanol ethanol1
rich stream+ 88%=8 @ w'w! and 0usel 0usel1rich stream+ 18%E @ w'w!+ respectively% ;he
column has GE e3uili-rium stages+ a column diameter o0 1%G?# m+ a section pressure
drop o0 11%8 /Pa and a steam 0low rate o0 18$$ /g'h% ;he vapour ethanol1rich stream is
diverted to the 0irst e00ect o0 the evaporation sector to provide heating while minimi5ing
the steam demand o0 the plant% ;he condensed ethanol1rich stream is then 0ed to the
pervaporation sector to remove the e:cess water%
0.700 0.725 0.750 0.775 0.800 0.825 0.850
50
75
100
125
150
175
200
225
250
3uasi1optimal
design
initial design
C
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t
s

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t
w
o

d
i
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t
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a
n
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e
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a
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)

et!anol
D
.nvestment Costs+ NOS'h
4perating Costs+ NOS'h
4verall Costs+ NOS'h
Bigure G% .nternal pro0ile in the composition
tetrahedron corresponding to the hy-rid
column with phase separator+ 0usel plant and
pervaporation sector%
Bigure <% 4verall investment and operating
costs 0or the two distillation columns and
pervaporation sector versus ethanol mole
0raction in the distillate o0 the hy-rid column%
*-*-'- ,2/!l Plan" and P!r&a0ora"ion S!"or
;he 0usel1rich stream leaving the decanter is 0ed to the 0usel sector where the stream is
washed with water to recover a-out =A @ o0 the incoming ethanol% ;he resulting water1
rich stream is recycled to the hy-rid column% ;o do this+ an overall amount o0 GAG /g'h
wash1water and seven separation steps are necessary% ;he conceptual design o0 a cross1
0low operation is per0ormed using 7.S;.(+ while process simulation is done in *ysys%
A conceptual design o0 pervaporation P&A'PAF )4( 11<$ mem-rane -y 9B;+
9ermany! 0ollowing the model proposed -y &ier 1==E! and Bausa and )ar3uardt
#$$$! was implemented in 7elphi environment Borland+ 1==?! to determine pseudo
O0"imi/a"ion o4 a Bio-!"hanol 02ri4ia"ion 0ro!// 2/ing on!0"2al d!/ign and
/im2la"ion "ool/ E
optimal operating values 0or -oth ma:imum temperature =$
o
C! and permeate pressure
#%$#A /Pa!% ;he model was also implemented in *ysys as a user operation e:tension+
which calculates the re3uired mem-rane area are3 as are3 D1%#E amin Bausa and )ar3uardt+
#$$$!% Both heat and re0rigeration duties are calculated in *ysys 0rom the energy
-alance% Behaviour o0 trace components is ta/en into account -y using water1alcohol
separation 0actors% Appro:imate values were ta/en 0rom 7% &an Baelen et al% #$$E!%
*igh purity -ioethanol ==%E @ v'v! is o-tained with an actual mem-rane area o0 =G$
m
#
+ while the water1rich permeate is recycled to the hy-rid column%
*-*-6- 77$S Plan"
;he coproduct plant is 0ormed -y a decanter centri0uge which separates the -ottom
stillage 0rom the -eer column in a wet ca/e GE @ solids+ #A8G /g'h water! and a thin
stillage 18<<G /g water'h!% Appro:imately <A#A /g water'h is recycled into the second
step o0 the li3ue0action process+ while 1G81? /g water'h is 0eed to a three1e00ect
evaporator% ;he resulting syrup GE @ solids+ 1#8? /g water'h! is mi:ed with the wet
ca/e coming 0rom the centri0uge and sent to a rotary drum dryer% 2hile the multiple
e00ect evaporator is simulated in *ysys+ only mass and energy -alances 0or the dryer are
incorporated in *ysys% ;he conceptual design o0 the dryer is per0ormed according to the
method presented in Nlrich and &asudevan #$$<! and data 0rom Fational Corn1;o
Ethanol 8esearch Center #$$E1#$$?!% ;a-le # summari5es the investment and
operation costs o0 the 779S sector% ;he operation cost o0 GE%= O'ton 779S agrees well
with the value reported -y Batelle )emorial .nstitute #$$E!%
;a-le #% 4peration O'ton 779S! and .nvestment O! Cost corresponding to 779S plant% JPK /g
natural gas' /g o0 water evaporated% JPPK 4verall operating costs D G<%EE O'ton 779S
.tem Characteristics .nvest%'4p% Cost
Nlrich Q &asudevan
.nvest%'4p% Cost JPPKC
Batelle )% .% JPPPK
8otary 7ryer 7 JmKD 1%AA<
( JmKD 1G%G1
R JminKD 1=%A
rpmD #%8A=
Sair J/g'hKD G=1E$
TFat% 9as D $%$<8 JPK
1%G= E$A'1=%?< 1%E? E$A
Evaporator AreaoverallJm
#
KD =<$
PressureJ/PaKD
0rom 1$1G$ /Pa
Ssteam J/g'hKD #?$$
1%E#G E$A'1A%1A 1%<? E$A
7ecanter
Centri0uge
1%$?E$AJPPPK'not
calculated
1%$? E$A
&" '(olutionary Optimisation
4nce an initial design is o-tained+ the 0ollowing improvement opportunities were tested6
i! design o0 the -eer column in the neigh-ourhood o0 minimum energy demand done
0rom the very -eginning o0 design process!+ ii! heat integration -etween the hy-rid
column and evaporation 0irst e00ect 1#?$ /g'h o0 steam are saved!+ iii! heat recovery
0rom the hot air leaving the dryer saving $%$1< /g natural gas'/g water evaporated!%
Binally+ a change in distillate composition o0 the hy-rid column is proposed in order to
capture the trade1o00s -etween distillation and pervaporation costs% 8esorting again to
the conceptual design o0 the hy-rid column 0or a set o0 distillate compositions+ results
A P- .oh and +- E/0ino/a
shown in Bigure < are o-tained% ;he decrease o0 investment costs 0or distillate
compositions richer in ethanol is related to a decrease in the mem-rane area needed to
o-tain dehydrated -ioethanol are3D8<8 m
#
!% ;a-le G shows -oth investment and
operating costs o0 the 3uasi1optimal plant% All cases include improvements i!+ ii! and
iii! mentioned a-ove% .nvestment and operation costs are reduced -y A%A< @ with
respect to the -ase case and -y 11%<8 @ with respect to the worst case analy5ed% Cost
coe00icients used to o-tain the reported values are CsteamD#%G=AE1#+ CwaterDE%?GE1G+
Cre0rDG%8#<E1#+ CelectrD$%$8 all in JO'/2hK+ Cnat gasD#8= O'tn+ C mem- repl D <$$ O'm
#
%
;a-le G% 4verall costs 0or a -ioethanol plant producing #< million liters'year% ;he 0acility
considers -oth the ethanol and co1product processing plants%
.nvestment+ O 4perating O'h .nvestment+ O'h ;otal+ O'h
779S Plant G%=8E EL$A =A%G? 81%$? 1??%<<
Separation G%?A8 EL$A 11?%=A ?A%AA 1=<%A#
;otal ?%?EG EL$A #1<%GG 1E?%?G G?#%$A
)" Conclusions
A cost e00ective design 0or a -io1ethanol separation plant using conceptual design
0ollowed -y rigorous simulation is 0ound% ;he minimum in the operation costs
corresponds to a minimum in the steam 0low rate o0 the hy-rid column 1A$$ /g'h!% ;he
minimum in steam 0low rate can -e only e:plained -y the presence o0 the 0usel
component+ which in0luences -oth the energy demand and 0easi-le products o0 the
process% ;here0ore+ designs -ased on the -inary system ethanol1water do not represent
the system -ehaviour in an accurate way%
*" Ac+noledgements
;his wor/ was supported -y NF(+ NFS+ C4F.CE; and AFPCy; 0rom Argentina%
,eferences
Batelle )emorial .nstitute+ Paci0ic Forthwest 7ivision+ #$$E+ Suanti0ying Biomass 8esources 0or
*ydrothermal Processing ..%
Bausa+ J% and 2% )ar3uardt+ #$$$+ Shortcut 7esign )ethods 0or *y-rid )em-rane'7istillation
Processes 0or the Separation o0 Fonideal )ulticomponent )i:tures+ .nd% Eng% Chem% 8es%+ G=+
1AE811A?#%
Borland .nternational .nc%+ 1==?+ Scotts &alley+ NSA+ 7elphi G Nser )anual%
*yprotech (td%+ 1===+ Calgary+ Canada+ *ysys Q 7istil Nser )anuals%
Hwiatows/i+ J% 8C )cAloon+ A% J%C ;aylor+ B% and 7% B% Johnston+ #$$A+ )odeling the Process and
Costs o0 Buel Ethanol Production -y the Corn 7ry19rind Process+ .ndustrial Crops and
Products+ #G+ #881#=A%
Fational Corn1;o Ethanol 8esearch Center+ #$$E1#$$?+ Ntili5ing the Fational Corn1to1Ethanol
Pilot Plant to 7evelop a Predictive )odel 0or 7istillers 7ried 9rain 0or the Buel Ethanol and
Animal Beed .ndustries%
Nlrich+ 9% 7% and P% ;% &asudevan+ #$$<+ Chemical Engineering Process 7esign and Economics+ A
practical guide% #nd ed%+ Process Pu-lishing+ 7urham+ Few *ampshire%
&an Baelen+ 7%C &an der Bruggen+ B%C &an den 7ungen+ H%C 7egreve+ J% and C% &andecasteele+
#$$E+ Pervaporation o0 water1alcohol mi:tures and acetic acid1water mi:tures% Chemical
Engineering Science+ A$+ 1E8G11E=$%
&ier+ J%+1==E+ Pervaporation a5eotroper wUssriger und rein organischer Sto00gemische1
&er0ahrensentwic/lung und integration+ Ph% 7% ;hesis+ .nstitut 0Vr &er0ahrenstechni/+ 82;*
Aachen+ Sha/er &erlag+ Aachen+ 9ermany%