Analysing separation and reaction stage performance in a reactive cyclic distillation process

Jess Bjørn Rasmussen, Seyed Soheil Mansouri, Xiangping Zhang, Jens Abildskov, Jakob Kjøbsted Huusom*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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In this paper the production of MTBE from isobutene and methanol via reactive cyclic distillation is studied with a mass and energy balance stage model. This study shows the first application of a reactive cyclic distillation stage model, where reaction equilibrium is assumed. A cyclic distillation process with a column design equivalent to a conventional column for MTBE reactive distillation has been simulated. The cyclic operated column gives high conversions of reactants, high product throughput and low energy requirements. By investigating the reactive stage behaviour it was found that the periodic operation can give an overall higher degree of separation and production of MTBE compared to the conventional column design. This is due to higher degree of separation in the cyclic operation, which favours the desired reaction. With no back-mixing of the liquid holdups the overall mass transfer and conversion in a reactive cyclic distillation process is increased compared to that of a conventional reactive separation scheme. Thereby, an improved cyclic operated column design with reduced number of stages was realised.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108515
JournalChemical Engineering and Processing
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Reactive separation
  • Cyclic distillation
  • MTBE production
  • Separated phase movement


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