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Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering >> 2020, Volume 14, Issue 5 doi: 10.1007/s11705-019-1867-3

Determination of a suitable index for a solvent via two-column extractive distillation using a heuristic method

. College of Chemical Engineering, Qingdao University of Science and Technology, Qingdao 266042, China.. College of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Shandong University of Science and Technology, Qingdao 266590, China.. Shandong Collaborative Innovation Center of Eco-Chemical Engineering, Qingdao University of Science and Technology, Qingdao 266042, China

Accepted: 2019-12-30 Available online: 2019-12-30

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The traditional approach to solvent selection in the extractive distillation process strictly focuses on the change in the relative volatility of light-heavy components induced by the solvent. However, the total annual cost of the process may not be minimal when the solvent induces the largest change in relative volatility. This work presents a heuristic method for selecting the optimal solvent to minimize the total annual cost. The functional relationship between the relative volatility and the total annual cost is established, where the main factors, such as the relative volatility of the light-heavy components and the relative volatility of the heavy-component solvent, are taken into account. Binary azeotropic mixtures of methanol-toluene and methanol-acetone are separated to verify the feasibility of the model. The results show that using the solvent with the minimal two-column extractive distillation index, the process achieves a minimal total annual cost. The method is conducive for sustainable advancements in chemistry and engineering because a suitable solvent can be selected without simulation verification.

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