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Timothy M. Zygula
Port Arthur, TX

Karl Kolmetz
KLM Technology Group
Johor Bahru, Malaysia

Prepared for Presentation at the 2011 Spring National Meeting
Chicago, Illinois, March 14-17, 2011




The Chemical Processing Industry has been continually pushing the capacity envelope of new and existing distillation columns. While increasing the capacity of existing columns is not unusual, great care needs to be taken when a revamp is being considered. There is a fine line between success and failure when a column is designed at or near the upper end of the capacity envelope.

The authors will detail the methodology used when designing a new or considering a capacity increase for an existing propylene splitter. This paper will discuss design aspects that need to be considered when designing a propylene splitter. The authors will also present a generic case study of a propylene splitter revamp.

Some of the topics that will be covered by the authors are:

1. Process simulation of a propylene splitter – proper simulation techniques

2. From the simulation to the field – tray efficiencies

3. Utilizing a process simulation to develop column hydraulics

4. The types of internals that have been used in propylene splitter columns

5. Design considerations that need to be addressed when considering a revamp.



Table of Contents                                                                             Page

1. Introduction                                                                                        3

2. General Design of a Distillation Column                                    4

3. Design of a Propylene Splitter                                                       4

4. Process Simulation of a Propylene Splitter                                 6
Proper Simulation Techniques

5. High Pressure Distillation Tray / Column Design                       9

6. Simulation Accuracy                                                                      9

7. Column Sizing                                                                                 10

8. Column Internals Design                                                              12

9. Design Case                                                                                     15

10 Design considerations that need to be addressed when  16
considering a grass roots or revamped column

11 Conclusions                                                                                     18


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