The separation of homogeneous azeotropic mixtures via pressure swing distillation is an important chemical engineering problem. The currently known studies deal mainly with the process feasibility, distillation- and energy- efficiency, and the control prop erties of different possible configurations. The considered configurations include continuous, semi-continuous and batch.The proposed project aims at the systematic analysis of these distillation configurations in order to achieve optimal economic performa nce. The scope of the study includes optimisation of the design variables such as equipment capacities, characteristic sizes and throughput, and operational optimisation - including process control performance. The control problems to be considered include start-up, stability and load change problems. Buffer tanks and additional reboilers/condensers will be evaluated as options to improve the dynamic performance. The performance of the three configurations for pressure-swing azeotropic distillation - contin uous, semi-continuous and batch - will be compared and the best application cases will be identified for each. To achieve these research objectives, rigorous process models of the discussed distillation configurations will be developed and validated. This will be followed by the development of optimisation models and optimisation procedures for each case. With regard to the objectives of the Specific Programme and the Work Programme, the proposed project will enhance the research potential and industrial pr actice of the European Community in the area of azeotropic separation. This will be achieved by bringing together the current expertise of the researcher in process optimisation and design with the remarkable track-record of the host institution in the res earch and training in the area of process operation and control and the excellent experimental facilities available.
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