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ZAMBONI CHEMICAL COMPANY

Ethanol Distillation
Analysis
Yixi Chen, Laura Hart, Jeniece Macedonio, Vinay Pai
11/9/2012

To:
N.A. Deskins, VP Process Development
From: Yixi Chen
Laura Hart
Jeniece Macedonio
Vinay Pai
Subject: Zamboni Chemicals Renewable Energy Project

Introduction
Zamboni Chemical, unfortunately, is suffering from the economic recession that has taken place
in their company. Because of this, they are debating whether they should continue to move
forward and build another fuel ethanol plant or focus on their financial complications. However,
they have decided to continue with the creation of the plant that will be located in Pisco, Peru. It
will be fed agricultural waste and go through fermentation, separating ethanol and water. This
plant will, luckily, aid the community that surrounds it by helping them recover from a past
earthquake. The Vice President of Process Development, N.A. Deskins, has assigned us the task
to design the distillate column that will be operating in this new fuel ethanol plant. In the creation
of this column, we examined another distillation column to compare diameters and stage
numbers in order to prove that our distillation column design is plausible.
Methodology
Part A.
Data was collected from the Goddard Hall laboratory to aid us in our calculations. Samples from
both the bottoms and distillate were taken from the distillation column. This was necessary to
determine compositions of the ethanol-water mixture at the top and bottom. Because the column
is in total reflux, meaning no streams in or out of it, small samples had to be manually removed
and measured. The samples were cooled to 20 degrees Celsius and density was measured by a
density meter. Using charts in the lab the density could be converted to composition in weight
percent, which was then converted to mole percent. Using an X-Y vapor liquid equilibrium
diagram, we were able to determine the theoretical number of stages via the McCabe-Thiele
method which is needed to calculate efficiency of the column. Efficiency is calculated by:

To find the efficiency using temperature, both the T-x-y graph and the enthalpy-composition
diagrams are used (Wankat, 19-20). To find the composition of the bottoms, the temperature of
the reboiler should be located on the T-x-y diagram, and the composition is read off of the xaxis. The same is done to find the composition of the distillate, but instead using the temperature
of the vapor. These compositions are then plotted on the vapor liquid equilibrium curve for
ethanol-water. The number of stages can then be determined from the distillate and bottoms
compositions by using the x=y line as the operating lines since the system is in total reflux,
(L/V)min = 1. The number of stages determined by the McCabe-Thiele diagram is the theoretical
value used in the equation for efficiency:

To calculate heat leaving the condenser, we took some measurements of the cooling water. Flow
rate and entering and exiting temperatures of the water were measured. Specific heat of the water
was found in (Smith, Van Ness, Abbot).

Similarly for the heat entering the reboiler, temperature, pressure, and flow rate were measured
for the steam. Enthalpy of condensation was found in (Smith, van ness, Abbot.)

As the column in the lab is in total reflux, the equation for the energy balance is reduced to just
heat in and out of the system. After calculating heat of the condenser and reboiler, heat loss can
be found using the following equation.
+
The molar vapor rate is found using the total energy balance around the condenser.
Since QC is already calculated, the enthalpies for the vapor and liquid stream need to be obtained
from the enthalpy-composition diagram (Wankat, 17). Since the system is in total reflux, this
means that the ratio L/V is equal to 1. Therefore, L=V and the energy balance can be rewritten
as:
Solving for V will give a mass vapor flow rate because the enthalpy-composition diagram uses
weight compositions on the x-axis. Therefore, V will have to be converted using the molar mass
of ethanol in order to give the molar vapor rate.
The molar vapor rate is found using the total energy balance around the condenser.


Since QR is already calculated, the enthalpies for the vapor and liquid stream need to be obtained
from the enthalpy-composition diagram (Wankat, 17). Since the system is in total reflux, and
there is no feed, both the ratio L/V and are equal to 1. Therefore, and the energy
balance can be rewritten as:

Solving for will give a mass vapor flow rate because the enthalpy-composition diagram uses
weight compositions on the x-axis. Therefore, V will have to be converted using the molar mass
of ethanol in order to give the molar vapor rate.
Part B
Part B requested a design of a column with a feed of 100,000 and a composition of 20-35 wt.
% ethanol. The bottom product is to be 1.0 wt. % ethanol and the distillate product is to be 85
wt% ethanol. The wt%s were all converted to mol % for use with the X-Y vapor liquid
equilibrium diagram. The feed composition of 15 mol % (31 wt%) With compositions known,
flow rates of the distillate and bottoms can be found.
Using the X-Y plot, the pinch point was determined using the intersection of the feed line and the
enriching operating line on the equilibrium curve. The feed is assumed to be saturated liquid and
the slope is a vertical line. The point is used to find the slope of the operating line. The operating
line slope determines . The pinch point indicates the minimal . The minimum can be found.

The optimal

is found by the relation 1.1 <

our value. This

<1.25 . For our design, 1.25 was chosen for

was used to create the operating line for our design.


(

Using the McCabe-Thiele method, the number of stages required can be determined as well as
the efficiency of the column. Because the feed line and both enriching and stripping operating
lines must intersect, the stripping section operating line slope can be found.
(
The slope gives us

which can give us

Using the overall energy balance, QC and QR can be found. The energy balance around the
condenser is needed as well. The enthalpy values were researched. (Wankat 18)

To find the diameter of the column, the Souders-Brown equation must be used. To use the
equation, vapor density must be found.

A = (Vapor flow rate) (V)

Gasohol
The number of drivers who benefit is calculated by the equation:

Results and Discussion


Part A.
Condenser water flow
4 grams/second
Condenser water inlet temperature
C
Condenser water outlet temperature
C
Steam pressure
129.6 kPa
Condensate flow
0.5 gal/min
Top stage vapor temperature
. C
Reboiler temperature
. C
% ethanol in bottoms samples
5.5%
% ethanol in distillate samples
94.4%
Temperature of distillate sample
. C
Above is the information that was taken from the distillation column in the Goddard Hall
Laboratory. This information was essential to the remainder of the project calculations.
The efficiency was 0.8 (1). This may be, however, inaccurate because the composition of the
ethanol leaving the distillate was extremely close to the azeotrope, the number of theoretical
stages may be been miscalculated when looking at the vapor liquid equilibrium. The theoretical
stages can be seen below. There are a total of 8 theoretical stages and 10 actual stages in the
laboratory.

Using the temperature 92.9 degrees Celsius for the reboiler (seen in the T-x-y graph below),
following the isotherm resulted in a composition of 0.03 for the bottoms. For the condenser,
there was no isotherm to follow for the 76.9 degrees Celsius temperature of the vapor, because it

fell underneath the azeotrope. Therefore, the azeotrope composition was used for the
composition of the distillate, which is 0.9. After plotting 0.03 and 0.9 on the McCabe-Thiele
diagram, and stepping off stages, the result was 9 stages, including the reboiler. Therefore, the
theoretical number of stages is 8, and the efficiency can be calculated using the actual number of
stages counted in the lab, which was 10 stages, plus the reboiler. The efficiency with respect to
temperature is 0.8 which is same efficiency obtained from the actual sample data (2).

Since the system is in total reflux, there is no distillate D included in the material or energy
balance for the condenser. Using the energy balance and the total reflux ratio L/V = 1, we can
simplify the equation to solve for V (3).
The enthalpies for the vapor and liquid can be obtained from the enthalpy-composition diagram
(Wankat, 20). The enthalpy of the vapor is found by finding the weight fraction of ethanol on the
x-axis, which is in this case 0.994. Then, moving up to the saturated vapor curve, the enthalpy
can be read off of the y-axis. For the enthalpy of the liquid (sub-cooled), 0.994 was used again
for the weight fraction, and read at the vapor temperature. This was found to be 76.9 degrees
Celsius.

Plugging these enthalpies into the equation for V gives a V of 0.01013 kg/s (4). Ethanol has a
molar mass of 0.046kg/mol which helps to convert the mass vapor rate into molar vapor rate.
The molar vapor rate was found to be 792.8 mol/h (5).
Since the system is in total reflux, there is no bottoms B included in the material or energy
balance for the reboiler. Since the system is in total reflux, and there is no feed, L = and V = .
Therefore, =1. Using the energy balance and the ratio = 1, we can simplify the
equation to solve for (6).
The enthalpies for the vapor and liquid can be obtained from the enthalpy-composition diagram
(Wankat, 17). The enthalpy of the liquid is found by finding the weight fraction of ethanol on the
x-axis, which is in this case 0.055. Then, moving up to the saturated liquid curve, the enthalpy

can be read off of the y-axis. For the enthalpy of the vapor, 0.055 was used again, and read at the
saturated vapor line.

Plugging these enthalpies into the equation for gives the value of 0.01676 kg/s (7). Ethanol has
a molar mass of 46g/mol. This value helps to convert the mass vapor rate into molar vapor rate
which was 1311 mol/h (8). The table below summarizes the needed results.
Determining Molar Vapor Rates

Thermal condition was determined by using an enthalpy-composition diagram for ethanol-water


(Wankat 18). The thermal condition of the reflux was found to be at a sub-cooled liquid. In order
to assume Constant Molal Overflow (CMO), there are many requirements that must take place.
The column must be adiabatic, meaning no heat flow, to assume CMO (Wankat 106). CMO
cannot be assumed because heat loss takes place in this distillation column due to poor
insulation.
Like any experiments, errors are inevitable. Errors that might have occurred while collecting data
had to do with certain measurements. While taking the measurements of density the sample had
to be at a temperature of 20 degrees Celsius. When the sample was removed from the ice bath,
the temperature of the sample quickly increased and as a result gave error to the density
calculated. Another error that might have occurred was misreading the flow rate in the meter and
temperatures. Incorrect information would affect the calculations in this project.
Part B
The design specifications that were provided asked for a column of feed of 20-35 wt. % ethanol.
Our products were to be a 1.0 wt. % ethanol product and 85 wt. % ethanol product. 0.31 wt. %
was chosen for our feed for its ease when converting to mol % for use with the McCabe Thiele
method. It becomes 15 mol % when converted. Using the McCabe-Thiele method on the X-Y
VLE diagram, the minimum external reflux ratio was found. The relation of 1.1 <

< 1.25

gives us the optimal . The value of 1.25 was chosen because it offers us the minimal number of
stages for the column while at the same time keeping costs reasonable. According to Table 7.3,
1.25 gives us the fewest number of stages while keeping low cost per year. (Smith, Van Ness,
Abbot 384) From the diagram, the number of stages would be 7 (seen in the VLE graph below).
We feel that this is reasonable height and cost to run a column. Then QC and QR were calculated

to be -17449 kW and 19009 kW respectively. Finally the diameter of the distillation column was
calculated by Souders-Brown Equation to be 2.15 meters.
It is estimated that the distillation column runs for 5000 hours a year. It is also estimated that
average MPG of a car is 22 miles/gallon and each car drives an average of 15,000 miles per year.
Then the dimensional analysis is conducted and the number of drivers who benefit is 87464.

Feed
Distillate
Bottoms
Flow Rate (kg/h)
100,000
35,714
64,286
Composition (mol %)
0.15
.689
.0039
Composition ( wt%)
0.31
0.85
0.01
To find minimum , refer to the X-Y vapor liquid equilibrium graph attached. It is found by
finding the pinch point, which is the point where the enriching operating line and the feed line
intersect at the equilibrium curve. The feed line is a vertical line because the feed is a saturated
liquid. The slope of the operating line gives us

. The relation of 1.1 <

< 1.25 gives us

the optimal .
0.420 is the slope of the optimal enriching section operating line. Using the intersection of the
operating line and the feed line, the stripping section operating line can be found, as all 3 must
intersect at the same point. With the McCabe Thiele method, the number of stages can be
calculated. 7 stages and a reboiler were counted. To calculate actual number of stages, efficiency
from the part a calculations was used.

Appendix
(1)
(2)

(3)

(4)

(5)

(6)

(7)

(8)

Overall system
To convert from wt. % to mol %:
Feed

Bottoms

Distillate

Flow Rates

System of condenser
Flow Rates

System around reboiler


Using the graph,

is found by determining the slope of the stripping section operating line.

Energy
Overall
All the enthalpy values can be researched. (Wankat 18)

Condenser

Diameter
To find diameter, the Souders-Brown equation is used. The liquid density is found by using a
water density calculator for 77.9 degrees Celsius.

A = (Vapor volume flow rate)/ (V)

Gasohol

Conclusions and Recommendations


N.A. Deskins, the Vice President of Process Development, designated our group to design a
distillation column that will produce ethanol. Once we designed the column we analyzed how
efficient the 85% ethanol would be with real world applications. It was found that using this
ethanol would be more sustainable and safer than gasoline. This was more beneficial to farmers
economically. Ethanol can be produced in the United States as opposed to importing it from
other countries and as a result would save a lot of money. However, the cost to produce this
ethanol is extremely expensive. Another problem that rises from this is the need for a specific car
would be inconvenient and expensive for the consumer. A recommendation for Zamboni
Chemical Company is to move forward with the production of ethanol. The advantages outweigh
the disadvantages. This ethanol would help the environment. Because a specific car needs to be
created for ethanol, more jobs would be available and as a result would help the economy.

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<http://www.energyadvocate.com/fw3.htm>.