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Flexibility assessment of a biorefinery distillation train: Optimal design under uncertain conditions

Di Pretoro, Alessandro and Montastruc, Ludovic and Manenti, Flavio and Joulia, Xavier Flexibility assessment of a biorefinery distillation train: Optimal design under uncertain conditions. (2020) Computers & Chemical Engineering, 138. 106831. ISSN 0098-1354

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compchemeng.2020.106831


Multicomponent mixtures can be separated into their single components by mean of different distillation system configurations. The typical distillation train design procedure consists of the assessment of the optimal columns configuration according to the economic and operational aspects. However, this optimal design is strictly related to the operating conditions, i.e. perturbations, when present, can seriously compromise the operation profitability. In these cases a flexibility analysis could be of critical importance to assess the operating conditions range of better performance for different system configurations. This is the typical case of biorefineries where the floating nature of the feedstock causes composition disturbances downstream the fermenter across the year’s seasons. A brand new ABE/W mixture separation case study has been set up - this mixture derives from an upstream microbial conversion process and the successful recovery of at least biobutanol and acetone is crucial for the return on the investments. This paper then compares the possible distillation train configurations from a flexibility point of view. The analysis is focused in particular in highlighting the differences, if present, between the economic optimal solution and flexibility optimal configuration that could not be the same, causing this way a very profitable design to be much less performant under perturbated conditions. Furthermore, a detailed analysis correlating the complex thermodynamics to the operation under uncertain conditions is thoroughly discussed. The proposed design procedure allowed to highlight the differences between weak and strong flexibility constraints and resulted in a dedicated “additional costs vs. flexibility” trend useful to improve the decision making.

Item Type:Article
HAL Id:hal-03116591
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:French research institutions > Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier - UT3 (FRANCE)
Other partners > Politecnico di Milano (ITALY)
Laboratory name:
Deposited On:20 Jan 2021 13:07

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