Modelling of Catalytic Distillation: in a 1-Hexene Hydrogenation System
Catalytic Distillation (CD) is a form of process intensification where a heterogeneously catalyzed reaction is performed in a distillation unit. This fusion of functions has been shown to have the potential to reduce capital costs, operating costs and environmental impacts. It is hypothesized that a fundamental mathematical model of both the mass/heat transfer and reaction kinetics is required to accurately predict the behaviour of even perceived simple kinetic equation reactions performed in a CD column, and that such a validated model can yield a deeper understanding of the dynamics in such systems. To achieve this, 1-hexene hydrogenation Langmuir-Hinshelwood kinetics were derived and fitted to experimental semi-batch data. The reaction kinetics were then included in a non-equilibrium distillation model which was compared to experimental CD hydrogenation data. The reaction kinetics and mass transfer correlation coefficients were then fitted to the CD data. The methodology detailed here should be useful to those interested in combining experimental data, simulation and statistical analyses in the field of CD.