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Ingeniería e Investigación

Print version ISSN 0120-5609


UYAZAN, Ana María et al. Producing fuel alcohol by extractive distillation: Simulating the process with glycerol. Ing. Investig. [online]. 2006, vol.26, n.1, pp.45-50. ISSN 0120-5609.

Downstream separation processes in biotechnology form part of the stages having most impact on a product’s final cost. The tendency throughout the world today is to replace fossil fuels with those having a renewable origin such as ethanol; this, in turn, produces a demand for the same and the need for optimising fermentation, treating vinazas and dehydration processes. The present work approaches the problem of dehydration through simulating azeotropic ethanol extractive distillation using glycerol as separation agent. Simulations were done on an Aspen Plus process simulator (Aspen Tech version 11.1). The simulated process involves two distillation columns, a dehydrator and a glycerol recuperation column. Simulation restrictions were ethanol’s molar composition in dehydrator column distillate and the process’s energy consumption. The effect of molar reflux ratio, solvent-feed ratio, solvent entry and feed stage and solvent entry temperature were evaluated on the chosen restrictions. The results showed that the ethanol-water mixture dehydration with glycerol as separation agent is efficient from the energy point of view.

Keywords : bio-ethanol dehydration; extractive distillation; glycerol; fuel alcohol; simulation.

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