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Simulation of Hydrodealkylation (HDA) of Toluene Process
Instructor Incharge Dr. Raj Ganesh Pala

Manglam Tewari Abhishek

Y8275 Y8013

Hydrodealkylation of Toluene process involves the conversion of toluene to the more valuable benzene product, with methane and diphenyl as the byproducts. A production rate of 265 lbmol/hr of benzene at 99.99% purity was assumed. The two non-catalytic vapor-phase reactions are: Reaction 1: Toluene + Hydrogen Benzene + Methane Reaction 2: Benzene Diphenyl + Hydrogen For the HDA process, the basic input-output structure with recycle streams can be developed as

Subsequent to the input-output structure, Douglas [1] continued with the stages in the design procedure in and arrived at the flowsheet shown below. This flowsheet was re-simulated and evaluated in this project.

Work Done in Aspen

Process Flow Sheet

1. Stabilizer Column: Basic function of this column is to separate methane and hydrogen from aromatics. As there is large difference in boiling point between methane and benzene so this is an easy

separation. Since our distillate is gas so we will use full reflux and partial vapor condenser. Since our product column is after stabilizer column so we would try not to lose our product benzene in stabilizer column i.e. column should be operated at relatively high pressure. Input Data Heavy Key Component Benzene Light Key Component Methane Top Stage Pressure (psi) Bottom stage pressure Reflux Ratio Analysis of Output Here we can see that separation is very easy so reflux ratio is low. Other thing in this we can see that condenser temperature is -11oF. This is because we recovering almost all benzene in bottom. 0.0001 0.9999 150 160 (psi) 1.75*Rmin

2. Product Column (Benzene Column):

This column is supposed to separate benzene and toluene. Benzene being lighter has lower boiling point than toluene. In this case our distillate is liquid so full condenser is needed. High purity of benzene is desired so the column should be operated at little high pressure. As pressure is increased boiling point increases and separation becomes better often but simultaneously reboiler and condenser duty increases. In this case product column is being operated at 130 psi. Input Data Heavy Key Component Toluene Light Key Component Methane Top Stage Pressure Bottom stage pressure Reflux Ratio Analysis of Output This is our product column so quality control is quite desirable. Here we can see actual 0.004 0.999 120 (psi) 140 (psi) 1.75*Rmin

no. of stages is 32.98 so we will use distillation column with 33 stages and location of feed tray would be 13 (Above Stage). Since the separation of benzene and toluene is not that easy as in first column, so reasonable good amount of reflux ratio is needed. In the current case reflux ratio 3.87 is used. 3. Recycle Column: Bottom of product column essentially contains toluene with little quantity of biphenyl. Removal of biphenyl is necessary otherwise it will accumulate in the process so this column separates biphenyl and recycles back toluene. There is sufficient difference in boiling point temperature of toluene and biphenyl, one is C7 compound and other is C12 compound so the separation is a very easy separation. So, the column should be operated at reasonably low pressure. In current scenario this column is being operated at 110 psi. Input Data Heavy Key Component Diphenyl : Light Key Component Toluene : Top Stage Pressure Bottom stage pressure Reflux Ratio Analysis of Output Three is large difference in boiling point of toluene and diphenyl, one is C6 aromatic and other is C12 aromatic. So this is a quite easy separation and low value of reflux ratio 0.2123 would be able to remove all the diphenyl . 0.00005 0.999 110 (psi) 120 (psi) 1.75*Rmin

Sensitivity Analysis
1. Column 1 (Stabilizer Column) To judge the purity of distillate we will observe the mole fraction of benzene vs. reflux ratio and mole fraction of methane vs. reflux ratio.

Analysis Here in above plots we can see that benzene is major impurity in distillate so we will try to minimize the mole faction of benzene in distillate while maximize the mole fraction of methane. In last two plot it can be seen that optimum value of D:F is around 0.04 and first plot tells the optimum reflux ratio around 0.14. 2. Column 2 (Product Column) In this column split is taking place between benzene and toluene so we will judge the mole fraction of benzene and toluene with respect to reflux ratio and D:F

Analysis Here we can see from first two plot that to maintain .9997 purity of benzene reflux ratio should be around 4.7. In second two plots it is clear that optimum D:F is around 0.6. 3. Column 3 (Recycle Column) In this column split is being done between toluene and biphenyl. Our distillate should contain mostly toluene and no biphenyl so we judge the mole fraction of toluene and biphenyl in distillate.

Analysis In this case mole fraction of toluene would be deciding factor. Hence by above plots optimum reflux ratio is around 2.7 and D:F around 0.98.

Douglas, J.M., Conceptual Design of Chemical Processes, New York: McGraw-Hill (1988). Lim Kuan Howe1, Dennis1, N.V.S.N. Murthy Konda1 and G.P Rangaiah1 , Synthesis and Design of Chemical Processes, Journal of the Institution of Engineers (2005) ASPEN PLUS 12.1 Instructional Tutorials, Matthew Bernards and Ren Overney, 2004.