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ECN publication
Retrofit with membrane the Paraffin/Olefin separation
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Biomass & Energy Efficiency 2-10-2012
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-M--12-059 Conference Paper
Number of pages: Full text:
25 Download PDF  

Olefins, such as ethylene, propylene, and butadiene, are among the most produced intermediates in petrochemical industry. They are produced from a wide range of hydrocarbon feedstocks (ethane, propane, butane, naphtha, gas oil) via a cracking process. The last step in this process is the separation of olefins from other hydrocarbons, which is traditionally performed with distillation. As the physicochemical properties, such as volatility and boiling point, of the compounds are very similar, the purification becomes capital and energy intensive. For example, the top of an ethylene/ethane distillation column needs to be chilled to –30 oC and this requires large amount of electric energy consumption. The separation of butadiene from the C4-fraction is performed with the aid of an additional solvent. This solvent has to be regenerated at the cost of additional high temperature steam. To overcome these separation disadvantages of olefin/paraffin separation, different separation methods have been investigated and proposed in recent years. Suggested options are based on better heat integration of the overall process, or on novel separation systems such as Heat Integrated Distillation Columns, membrane separation, adsorption-desorption systems or on hybrid separation methods, for example, distillation combined with membrane separation.

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