Methyl-Tert-Butyl-Ether Synthesis Reactor Modelling and Optimization Using an Aspen Custom Modeler

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A pseudo-homogeneous model of methyl-tert-butyl-ether (MTBE) synthesis in a multi-tubular packed-bed reactor has been developed using an Aspen Custom Modeler (ACM) for selecting optimum operating strategies, for the maximization and enhancement of MTBE production, and isobutylene consumption, respectively. The model accounts for mass, energy and momentum balances; and the effectiveness factor is evaluated in a onedimensional pseudo-homogeneous model. The kinetic investigation contains kinetic rate expressions as given by the effectiveness factor for accounting the resistance of pellets in terms of mass and heat transfer. An activity coefficient can be used in order to systematically obtain a new steady-state solution. The model used literature-based correlations for the estimation of heat transfer coefficients. The value of the coefficient for gascoolant heat transfer can be adjusted by using a tuning coefficient in order to enrich the process data. Reasonable agreement was found between model predictions and data under similar conditions. The studies concerning model sensitivity compute the optimum temperature, pressure, feed flow rate, methanol/isobutylene ratio, heat removal rate, etc. of the reactor and suggest optimum operating conditions of the reactor.

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