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Steady state and dynamic simulation of a hybrid reactive separation process

Mário Mihaľ, Zuzana Švandová, and Jozef Markoš

Institute of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Chemical and Food Technology, Slovak University of Technology, Radlinského 9, 812 37 Bratislava, Slovak Republic



Received: 25 June 2009  Revised: 9 October 2009  Accepted: 14 October 2009

Abstract: Modelling and simulation of hybrid reactive separation system in steady state and in dynamic regime was carried out. The investigated hybrid process consisted of a reactive distillation column and a pervaporation membrane located in the distillate stream to remove water from the process. Heterogeneously catalysed esterification of propionic acid with propan-1-ol to propyl propionate and water was chosen as the model chemical reaction. Esterification reactions are a typical example of equilibrium-limited reactions producing water as a by-product. Using just a pervaporation membrane brings the biggest benefit in increasing the yield of one of the reactants due to the removal of water. To study reactive separation processes, a model of the hybrid system in steady state and in dynamic regime was developed. Steady state behaviour of the model was studied for different hybrid system configurations. The effect of catalyst amount doubling was also investigated. Dynamic behaviour of the system during the step changes of propionic acid feed flow rate and during the membrane module failure was investigated. For this reason, the conversion of propionic acid, purity of the product stream, mole fraction of water, and the temperature in three different parts of the reactive distillation column were monitored.

Keywords: reactive distillation - propyl propionate synthesis - pervaporation - hybrid reactive separation - equilibrium stage model

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.2478/s11696-009-0110-y


Chemical Papers 64 (2) 193–202 (2010)

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