Reaction–Separation–Recycle Processes for 2‑Ethylhexyl Acrylate Production: Design, Control, and Economic Evaluation

2018-02-09T23:04:46Z (GMT) by Mihai Daniel Moraru Costin Sorin Bildea
2-Ethylhexyl acrylate is commercially produced from acrylic acid and 2-ethylhexanol using sulfuric acid as catalyst. Employing solid catalysts can eliminate corrosion, increase selectivity, and make easier the separation and product purification. Process development studies for a complete plant have not been reported in the literature. In this paper, the design, control, and economic evaluation of three reaction–separation–recycle processes are developed. The reaction takes place in a fixed-bed reactor using Amberlyst 70 as catalyst. The acrylate is recovered by distillation at the desired purity. One of the processes obtains high-purity wastewater by removing the water in a distillation–decanter system. The other two obtain low-purity water in a flash-decanter, and a decanter-only system, respectively. All three processes are controllable, the control system showing robustness when an increase or decrease in production capacity is required, or when the fresh reactants become contaminated. The economic analysis shows attractive economic potential and other key economic indicators.