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Design Guidelines for Chemical Treatments in Distillation Columns

Karl Kolmetz
Dr. Wai Kiong Ng
Jeff N Gray


Marilyn Blaschke
Baker Hughes Incorporated
Houston Tx

Sing Wah Wong
Baker Hughes Incorporated
Singapore, Singapore

Prepared for

2009 AIChE Spring Meeting
Tampa FL USA


Distillation is the application and removal of heat to separate hydrocarbons by their relative volatility or boiling points. This necessary addition of heat normally in the feed stream or at the tower bottoms via a reboiler can also lead to unwanted consequences such as polymerization, corrosion and reverse solubility. The removal of heat can lead to sedimentation, solubility effects, corrosion and precipitation. The concentration of certain constituents by the distillation process can cause corrosion, polymerization, sediment fouling and flow phenomena effects.

A properly designed distillation column can reduce the effects of these consequences, but in certain applications the polymerization, corrosion and other effects are very prominent leading to reduced separation efficiency in the column. This reduced separation efficiency increases the need for column maintenance and unit down time. In these applications a review of tower internal design and process chemical treatments should be initiated. Previously a review of tower internal design was published, whereas this article will discuss the application of chemical treatments in distillation columns.

Introduction to the paper