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Summers D.R.,Sulzer Chemtech United States Inc. | Monaco W.,Elekeiroz | Neiva M.A.,Elekeiroz
AIChE 2013 - 2013 AIChE Spring Meeting and 9th Global Congress on Process Safety, Conference Proceedings | Year: 2013

In 2004, the main distillation tower in the Oxo Alcohol Plant in South America was revamped. The tower experienced capacity limitations from the start. New trays were provided in 2007, but the capacity only increased marginally. In 2008, another detailed capacity study was enacted including gamma scans of the tower. The top few trays showed unusual absorption on the Gamma Scans. The buildup of water in the tower was suspected. The spare pump line was drained and found to be totally full of water. After further draining, an abundance of foam came out of the spare pump line. The lessons learned from this experience and the solutions to the tower were discussed. This is an abstract of a paper presented at the 2013 AIChE Spring Meeting & 9th Global Congress on Process Safety (San Antonio, TX 4/28-5/2/2013).


Summers D.R.,Sulzer Chemtech United States Inc.
Chemical Engineering Progress | Year: 2010

The procedure followed by engineers to conduct a good performance evaluation of a distillation tower and document the results efficiently is discussed. Vapor-liquid equilibrium (VLE) model is employed such as Peng-Robinson or Soave-Redlich-Kwong equation-of-state model for a hydrocarbon separation to obtain the information to evaluate the performance of the tower. Readings from a flow element are transmitted to the flow-control computer as a milliamp (mA) signal, where 4 mA represents zero pressure drops, 20 mA represents the highest pressure drop that the flow element is calibrated to measure. The reboiler duty is evaluated by the flowrate of the heating fluid to the reboiler/condenser and on the basis of reboiler duty, the tower can be simulated and the resulting reflux flowrate is compared to the observed reflux flowrate. The observed pressure drop across a column is obtained with differential pressure cell that measures the pressure difference between two elevations of the tower and by calculating the difference of local pressure measurements from two tower pressure taps.


Summers D.R.,Sulzer Chemtech United States Inc.
Chemical Engineering Progress | Year: 2010

The procedures that are used to design four-pass distillation column trays and to balance the vapor/liquid ratio on each tray panel are presented. The equal-bubbling-area (EBA) design method is the easiest to understand and use, but EBA trays may have the lowest capacity and slightly lower tray efficiency. An EBA tray has four flow passes with exactly the same active area and utilizes the same weir length for each pass. On any four-pass tray, the liquid and the vapor both split, with some of each flowing to one panel and some of each to other panel. The vapor splits and takes the path that equalizes the pressure drop and the liquid split is influenced by many factors. Another method, the equal-flowpath-length (EFPL) design method is more complicated than the EBA method, but it has the potential for higher tray efficiencies and higher capacities. The uniform flowpath in the EFPL designs enables the same amount of mass transfer on each tray panel, and the compositions in each of the downcomers of any tray will be the same.


Pilling M.W.,Sulzer Chemtech United States Inc. | Summers D.R.,Sulzer Chemtech United States Inc.
11AIChE - 2011 AIChE Annual Meeting, Conference Proceedings | Year: 2011

With the growing emphasis on green engineering, it only makes sense to evaluate distillation columns. It is well known that distillation columns consume large quantities of energy. In the past, when plant energy prices were relatively inexpensive, "balanced" designs may have been rather generous with the column energy usage. This paper will review design and operating methods to reduce the consumption of resources for distillation columns.


Summers D.R.,Sulzer Chemtech United States Inc. | Spiegel L.,Sulzer AG | Kolesnikov E.,Sulzer AG
10AIChE - 2010 AIChE Annual Meeting, Conference Proceedings | Year: 2010

Tower operation at low vapor rates is typically limited by the onset of weeping which can severely hurt tray performance. Many authors have attempted to study the onset of weeping on distillation trays as well as to determine the amount of weeping present. This paper will address this issue from a different perspective which is the uniformity of vapor passage through the tray deck at low vapor loads. It will be shown that there exists a relationship between the onset of weeping, tray performance, dry tray pressure drop and hydrostatic head of liquid on the tray. In addition, this relationship will be addressed with regards to single pass as well as multi-pass trays.


Summers D.R.,Sulzer Chemtech United States Inc.
AIChE 2012 - 2012 AIChE Annual Meeting, Conference Proceedings | Year: 2012

Tray vapor capacity correlations do not include a surface tension physical property parameter. Low liquid surface tensions on a distillation tray can lead to tiny droplet sizes, high liquid entrainment and limited vapor capacity. Several authors have examined surface tension in the past but today's leading vapor capacity correlations have omitted this important physical property parameter. This paper will examine very low surface tension data as well as a wide range of surface tension capacity data and then present a new tray vapor capacity correlation that uses surface tension as one of the primary correlating parameters. The intent of this paper is to show that tray designs of very high pressure trayed distillation towers, such as demethanizers and deethanizers, can be made without the need for "system factors" with this new correlation. It is the author's opinion that the system factor should be used strictly for those tray applications that are limited in capacity due to foaming and not be used as a "fudge factor" to account for capacity correlation deficiencies.


Summers D.R.,Sulzer Chemtech United States Inc.
AIChE 2013 - 2013 AIChE Spring Meeting and 9th Global Congress on Process Safety, Conference Proceedings | Year: 2013

C2 splitters are the "money towers" of an ethylene plant. With the recent interest in lower price ethane for cracking in ethylene plants in North America, there is renewed interest in getting as much capacity out of these money towers as possible. Two revamps of C2 splitters are presented, along with operating data, showing the capacity and performance of the new high capacity trays. This is an abstract of a paper presented at the 2013 AIChE Spring Meeting and 9th Global Congress on Process Safety (San Antonio, TX 4/28/2013-5/2/2013).


Shiveler G.,Sulzer Chemtech United States Inc. | Garcia A.,Sulzer Chemtech United States Inc.
AIChE 2013 - 2013 AIChE Spring Meeting and 9th Global Congress on Process Safety, Conference Proceedings | Year: 2013

Advances in the next generation of biofuels will include development of commercial process technologies for the global transportation markets. R&D has led to new biofuels from renewable feed stocks and fermentation of these feed stocks produces alcohols along with contaminates that include acetates, aldehydes and acids. Separation of valuable biofuel components from these contaminants is challenging due to azeotropes, separation of the chemicals from the fermentation biomass, potential use of extraction solvents, efficient heat integration, dehydration of the biofuel product, process economic feasibility and fast-track commercialization process. For many years, Sulzer has been active in providing mass transfer equipment in many existing first generation biofuels production facilities. Currently, Sulzer is supporting the development of second generation biofuels with separation process technologies, process equipment, skid mounted systems for demonstration scale and basic engineering and key equipment for commercial plants. The various design considerations involved in the new biochemicals plants are described. This is an abstract of a paper presented at the 2013 AIChE Spring Meeting & 9th Global Congress on Process Safety (San Antonio, TX 4/28-5/2/2013).


Nising P.,Sulzer AG | Wackerlin M.,Sulzer AG | Stirnemann L.,Sulzer Chemtech United States Inc.
Society of Plastics Engineers - FOAMS 2010, 8th International Conference on Foam Materials and Technology | Year: 2010

More than a decade ago, Sulzer Chemtech developed a new process for the production of EPS based on melt impregnation with static mixers. While, originally, this process aimed at the EPS resin producers with large capacities and polystyrene plants for melt supply, the process has been further developed over the past years in order to cope with the requirements of today's particle foam markets. The tendency away from standard, white EPS towards specialized formulations for housing insulation, consumer goods packaging etc. continues and is driven not only by large resin suppliers but growingly also by the converters that are the closest to their local markets and their demands. The Sulzer EPS process offers the genuine possibility to economically produce EPS of various qualities and with properties ranging for example from improved insulation performance to higher mechanical strength without having to care about complicated chemical reactions or production processes. By simply using the raw ingredients - polystyrene, blowing agent, nucleating agents and customized additives - it is possible to produce EPS resin at almost any scale. Sulzer Chemtech also continuously develops optimized formulations and process setups for the particle foam industry with the aim to make this technology available to EPS molders as well. Most recent achievements were improved formulations on flame retardant and low lambda products for the building industry in Europe. In particular, the required amount of flame retardants in existing extrusion processes for EPS production has been an important issue. By using the Sulzer EPS process setup with static mixers and melt coolers it is possible to significantly reduce the required amount of these additives compared to standard extrusion processes and, thus, to greatly reduce the production costs. By adding pigments to their foams, EPS molders can furthermore increase the attractiveness of their products towards the customer. This paper elaborates on the Sulzer EPS process and reveals some developments concerning foam formulations.


Schlummer C.,Sulzer AG | Ulicney N.,Sulzer Chemtech United States Inc.
Society of Plastics Engineers - FOAMS 2010, 8th International Conference on Foam Materials and Technology | Year: 2010

Although foam extrusion is a well established process, a noticeable growing interest in the market could be observed in recent years. Foamed products offer both, economical and technical advantages such as weight reduction, material savings and enhanced properties like damping and insulation behaviour. Chemical and physical blowing agents are widely used in foam extrusion processes, both finding their way in specific application. When physical blowing agents are used, conventional technical solutions characteristically require special foam extrusion lines comprising specific plasticising screws and barrels for foaming. An alternative technology and retrofit solution has now been developed. The system utilizes a special fluid injection nozzle with an arrangement of static mixers downstream of the extruder barrel for absorption of blowing fluids and homogenization of the two phase mixture into a single phase solution. The main advantage of this approach is the flexibility and easy implementation. Conventional extruders can be retrofitted to foam extrusion lines without any modification to the plasticising screw and barrel. However, certain process and design criteria need to be fulfilled to achieve satisfying foaming results. The paper introduces the retrofit concept for foam extrusion with physical blowing agents, explains the correlation with the foaming process, states advantages and limitations and shows recent developments in low density foam application and foaming of rigid PVC.

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