ECN publication
Design of a commercial-scale heat-integrated distillation column based on plate-fin heat exchangers
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Energy Efficiency in Industry 20-12-2007
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-M--07-118 Conference Paper
Number of pages: Full text:
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Presented at: 6th International Conference on Enhanced, Compact and Ultra-Compact Heat Exchangers: Science, Engineering & Technology, Potsdam, Germany, 17-21 september 2007.

The Heat-Integrated Distillation Column (HIDiC), in which heat is transferred directly from the rectification section to the stripping section of the column, has higher energy efficiency than either a conventional distillation column or a vapour-recompression column. Although the HIDiC concept has been researched for a number of years, it has not yet been commercialised. However, a HIDiC based on a plate-fin heat exchanger has advantages of compactness, a closer temperature approach, modular structure, flexibility in design, and low pressure drop. A case study for a commercial-scale propane-propene splitter has shown that the plate-fin HIDiC can save 35% in primary energy and 10% in Total Annual Cost compared to a vapour-recompression column. Savings compared to a conventional distillation column are even higher.

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