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Process intensification : developments, performance studies and integration of multifunctional compact condensers in distillation processes


OBJECTIVES The aim of this project is promote the use of compact energy efficient condensers in the process industry by providing heat transfer characteristics, design data, identifying potential market and integrating the design code into a standard process simulation software. Both downward and reflux condensers will be studied, as well as their integration in distillation and separation processes.
The objectives of this project are to:
- Establish overall performance data for several type of compact condensers under actual flow conditions.
- Evaluate new design methodologies by a local analysis (experimentation and modelisation).
- Integrate the major results in process simulation softwares such as CHEMSHARE or HYSIM.
- Compare technical and economical performances of conventional equipments with integrated units.
- Promote and diffuse the results toward the end-users.


This project deals with compact condensers, under downward or reflux flows and their integration in process units. Heat exchanger manufacturers, end-users, process simulation software companies and research laboratories involved in this project come from 4 different EU countries.
The development of innovative technologies requires basic information on the thermal and hydraulic behaviour of the flow, and this is particularly true for two-phase flows in compact and complex geometries. Both downward condensation and reflux condensation will be studied, and a particular attention will be paid to reflux flows.

To complete this work, actual geometries will be studied from an overall view point, and the design method developed previously will be compared to the experimental results. These tests will be carried out under actual flow conditions (condensation of pure and mixtures of hydrocarbons and condensation in presence of non-condensable gases). This will lead to the elaboration of design rules.
Process intensification cannot be achieved by only replacing conventional heat exchangers by compact equipments, the process has to be modified to take into account the entire potential of compact units. Based on the design methods elaborated previously, rearrangement of selected processes will be studied.

Finally, and in parallel with the technical work, diffusion and promotion of the results will be emphasise. There is a strong will to diffuse information toward USA and East Asia, as out of Europe, these are the two big potential markets.

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