Simultaneous Design and Control of Catalytic Distillation Columns Using Comprehensive Rigorous Dynamic Models

This work addressed the rigorous modeling of catalytic distillation columns by simultaneously considering relevant phenomena such as pressure drop across the column, tray capacity constraints, nonideal behavior of both liquid and vapor, and the column’s hydrodynamics, yet to be considered in earlier modeling studies for catalytic distillation. The developed model is applied for the simultaneous optimal design and control of catalytic distillation units, taking into account economic and set-point tracking objective functions balanced through a proposed weighting parameter estimation methodology. Results for a column for the production of ethyl tert-butyl ether show the advantages of a more comprehensive model regarding design and control decisions in comparison with previous studies: design specifications were met during the entire time horizon without sacrificing economic profitability.