• A novel split-reflux policy in batch reactive distillation for the optimum synthesis of a number of methyl esters

      Aqar, D.Y.; Rahmanian, Nejat; Mujtaba, Iqbal M. (2019-08-15)
      The production of a number of methyl esters such as methyl decanoate (MeDC), methyl salicylate (MeSC), and methyl benzoate (MeBZ) by esterification reactions of several carboxylic acids such as decanoic acid (DeC), salicylic acid (ScA), and benzoic acid (BeZ) with methanol, respectively, through a reactive distillation system (batch or continuous) is cost-intensive and operationally challenging operation. It is difficult to keep the reaction species together in the reaction section due to wide boiling point differences between the reactants. Methanol (in those esterification processes) having the lowest boiling temperature in the reaction mixture can separate easily from carboxylic acid as the distillation progresses, resulting in a severe drop in the reaction conversion ratio of the acid employing batch/continuous distillation system. In order to overcome this type of challenge and to increase the overall reaction conversion, a novel split-reflux conventional batch reactive distillation configuration (sr-BRD) is proposed/studied in detail in this investigation. The optimal performance of BRD/ sr-BRD column is determined in terms of maximum achievable conversion of acids, and highest concentration of the esters produced for each chemical reaction scheme. The results for given separation tasks are compared with those obtained using conventional batch distillation (BRD) process. The optimization results clearly show that the sr-BRD process significantly improves the process efficiency, the conversion ratio of acid, and the product purity of methyl esters compared to that obtained via the BRD process.