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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 15, 2007

Economic Assessment of the Toluene Disproportionation Process Using an External Reactor - Separator Configuration

Michael J Hughes and Klaus P Moller

A model has been developed to investigate the operation of a distillation column with an external side reactor coupled to it (ESR). This system is compared to two more conventional process systems, namely a reactor followed by a single distillation column with recycle (R-D), and a reactor followed by two distillation columns in series with recycle (R-D-D). The toluene disproportionation reaction is used in the comparison. It is found that the reactor followed by a single column is an unattractive system as the overall conversion is low (14%) compared with 56% for the R-D-D system and 40% for the ESR system. An economic comparison of the two attractive processes was performed and the results show that the side reactor system requires similar capital costs, but reduced annual utility costs. The difference is approximately 12.5% which is significant, but below the 25-50% required to make a change in established technology viable. The side reactor system does not necessarily use new technology, but it does use the old technology in a new way. Therefore, it is still worth investigating these systems further and should be a possibility when designing a new plant.

Published Online: 2007-11-15

©2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston

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