Distillation Column Control

Jun 2 • Notes • 5927 Views • 3 Comments on Distillation Column Control

                                                              Distillation Column Control

Distillation Column Control Diagram.

Distillation Column Control Diagram.

Distillation Column Control Fundamentals –

Tnomenclature used in this paper and points out the five valves available to control column. There are 5 degrees of freedom in  typical binary distillation column which are represented by  feed valve, steam valve,  reflux valve,  distillate valve, and  bottoms valve.

The five valves are used . First, either the feed,  bottoms, or distillate rate is set independently to define  production rate of  column, thereby eliminating 1 valve. We call this  demand stream. The reflux drum and  column bottoms level must be controlled, requiring two more valves. This leaves us with 2 compositions to be controlled with 2 valves. Traditionally, simple distillation is viewed as 2×2 control problem because  remaining 2 composition control loops have strong interactions.


No matter what valves we use for composition control or how we use them, fundamentally there are 2 things that we can manipulate: the feed split and the fractionation. An overall material balance for a column tells us that the distillate flow plus the bottoms flow must equal the feed flow. The feed split is simply the amount of feed that leaves as distillate versus the amount that leaves as the  bottoms. Other fundamental manipulative variable is the fractionation which is the amount of separation that occurs /stage. The overall fractionation in a column depends on  number of the stages, energy input, and the difficulty of the separation.

Specialized and the Multicomponent Distillation Columns :


We have applied this general procedure to many different types of specialized columns including homogeneous and the heterogeneous azeotropes, the  extractive distillation, the strippers and the absorbers and the multicomponent columns. We had also used this procedure for many different column configurations including columns with either liquid or the vapor side draws, columns with the partial condensers and with both packed and tray columns.

Steady State Distillation Models –


Steady state models are easily manipulated and provide the robust solutions. To make  change to solution conditions, A few changes need to be made to model input file. The model input file is then submitted to the software which finds new solution. Normally very little time is spent getting converged solutions, which allows us to the efficiently generate  large number of case studies necessary for  design procedure.


Q1:Write down the design procedure?


We have extended the design procedure reported by Tolliver and McCune (1978). The design procedure is composed of the following steps:

Step 1 Develop design basis

Step 2 Select a candidate control scheme.

Step 3  Open loop  test using model to find a candidate temperature sensor location.

Step 4  Closed loop test candidate control scheme for feed rate and feed composition disturbances.

Step 5 Objectives met?

We have included a Step 5 to illustrate that the procedure may be iterative. If  objectives are met, then  procedure is complete. we might return to Step 2 and select a different candidate control scheme or we might return to Step 3 and select a different candidate sensor location. Step  we return to tdepends on nature of problem.

Q2: What is the value of Feed rate?

Ans: Feed Rate: 4 to 26 Kpph .

Q3:What is feed composition ?

Ans: Feed Composition: 15 to 60% methanol + some salts.

Q4: Write an example of industrial application?

Ans: Methanol-Water Column.

Q5: Explain Open Loop” Test Using Model To Find Candidate Temperature Sensor Location ?

Ans : Test Using Model To Find Candidate Temperature Sensor Location  –

The third step of the design procedure involves what we have termed open loop testing. Purpose of the “open loop” testing is to use the steady state model to identify a candidate temperature sensor location for the inferred composition control. This is accomplished with  changing the temperature control manipulative variable up and down from  base case value.  Provides a plot of three steady state runs where temperature is plotted versus tray number .

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3 Responses to Distillation Column Control

  1. Prashant says:

    Please suggest any course or video threw whuch one can able to design complete distillation columns for the saperation of variable feeds

  2. Mitali Panda says:

    This article related to the distillation procedure gives out the complete brief knowledge of the process occuring and how to develop one…. one must have a look through the post as it would help us to get knowledge over it and help us in some way or other

  3. patlakshi says:

    The article comprises of distillation column control which is quiet interesting topic for the students. If someone has any doubt regarding this one may go through this article.

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