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Experimental evaluation of simulated moving bed reactor for transesterification reaction synthesis of glycol ether ester

  • Shan Tie
  • Balamurali Sreedhar
  • Megan Donaldson
  • Timothy Frank
  • Alfred K. Schultz
  • Andreas S. Bommarius
  • Yoshiaki KawajiriEmail author
Article
  • 18 Downloads

Abstract

This work presents an experimental evaluation of multi-column simulated moving bed reactor (SMBR) technology for transesterification of glycol ether ester for the first time. An industrially relevant solvent, propylene glycol methyl ether acetate (DOWANOL™ PMA) was produced using a laboratory-scale SMBR unit packed with a base catalyst. The catalyst selected in this study, a Type-II anion exchange resin, was found to be resistant to deactivation through our experimental runs. To design the SMBR process, single-column experiments were first carried out to develop a mathematical model and estimate model parameters. Using this model, the optimal SMBR process was found by a multi-objective optimization technique to maximize the productivity while achieving high conversions. The optimal operating conditions found in this manner were implemented in the lab-scale SMB unit, which achieved conversions ranging from 47.3 to 57.7%. Furthermore, using the experimental data obtained from these experimental runs, the prediction of the model was improved via Tikhonov regularization, which was successfully validated in an additional run at an even higher conversion of 74.6%.

Keywords

Simulated moving bed reactor Reactive chromatography Optimization Glycol ether ester Anion exchange resin 

Nomenclature

Acs

Cross-sectional area of the chromatographic column

EA

Ethyl acetate

C

Liquid phase concentration (mol/L)

Dax

Axial dispersion coefficient (m2/min)

H

Henry’s constant

Keq

Equilibrium constant

k1

Forward reaction rate constant (L/mol min)

Km

Mass transfer coefficient (min−1)

b

Adsorption equilibrium constant

MW

Molecular weight

L

Column length (m)

N

Number

PM

1-methoxy-2-propanol

PMA

Propylene glycol methyl ether acetate

q

Average solid phase concentration (mol/L)

r

Reaction rate (mol/L min)

SMBR

Simulated moving bed reactor

t

Time (min)

u

Interstitial velocity in the column (m/min)

UL

Lower bound on volumetric flow rate (mL/min)

UU

Upper bound on volumetric flow rate (mL/min)

X

Conversion

x

Axial coordinate

Greek letters

ε

Epsilon constraint method

εT

Total void fraction

ζ

Objective function for SMBR optimization

ξ

Conversion

θ

Parameter

\(\text{v}\)

Stoichiometric coefficient

ρ

Tikhonov regularization weighting factor

φ

Objective function for parameter estimation

Superscripts and subscripts

comp

Component

eq

Equilibrium

exp

Experiment

rec

Recycle stream

i

Component (EA, PM, PMA, ethanol)

j

Column number (1, 2, 3, 4)

k

Experiment data point

m

Model parameters

D

Desorbent stream

Ex

Extract stream

F

Feed stream

R

Raffinate stream

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge the financial support from the University Partnership Initiative at the Dow Chemical Company.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Chemical and Biomolecular EngineeringGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.The Dow Chemical CompanyMidlandUSA
  3. 3.Department of Materials Process EngineeringNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan

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