May 2007

Process Developments

Rethink column internals for improved product separation

Installing feed chimney and distribution trays increased packed column efficiency for a gas plant

Love, D. L., Consultant; Pierce, D., Papco Inc.; Shiveler, G., Sulzer Chemtech USA, Inc.

Packing materials are extensively used in distillation applications with great success. Yet, there is still confusion over the proper design of distribution (especially a chimney tray applications for two-phase feed streams. Papco, Inc.'s Warren gasoline plant used depropanizer and debutanizer columns to separate propane, butanes and gasoline products. These columns used high-performance random packing rings. Although the efficiency of the packing was expected to generate a height equivalent of a theoretical plate (HETP) of 1.5 ft to 2.2 ft, the measured efficiency was significantly less. Consequently, the towers were not making the proper product splits. To improve separation performance, t

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