Sustainable process design & analysis of hybrid separations

Anjan Kumar Tula, Bridgette Befort, Nipun Garg, Kyle V. Camarda, Rafiqul Gani

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Distillation is an energy intensive operation in chemical process industries. There are around 40,000 distillation columns in operation in the US, requiring approximately 40% of the total energy consumption in US chemical process industries. However, analysis of separations by distillation has shown that more than 50% of energy is spent in purifying the last 5-10% of the distillate product. Membrane modules on the other hand can achieve high purity separations at lower energy costs, but if the flux is high, it requires large membrane area. A hybrid scheme where distillation and membrane modules are combined such that each operates at its highest efficiency, has the potential for significant energy reduction without significant increase of capital costs. This paper presents a method for sustainable design of hybrid distillation-membrane schemes with guaranteed reduction of energy consumption together with two illustrative examples.
Original languageEnglish
JournalComputers & Chemical Engineering
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Hybrid distillation
  • Membrane separation
  • Process intensification

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