ENERGY AND EXERGETIC EVALUATION OF THE MULTICOMPONENT SEPARATION OF PETROCHEMICAL NAPHTHA IN FALLING FILM DISTILLATION COLUMNS

Abstract Multicomponent separation of synthetic petrochemical naphtha (hexane, cyclohexane, toluene and xylene) was carried out in a falling film distillation sequence with heat supply using a vapor chamber (thermosyphon). Tests were carried out by varying feed flow rate and temperatures of the feed and the vapor chamber in two ways of heat supply: isothermal and with a vapor chamber temperature profile. Regarding the distillation behavior of the multicomponent separation with the proposed falling film column, it was verified that the lower values of the studied variables and the profile temperature mode promoted the best results for hexane recuperation. With an indirect sequence of three columns, hexane mass fraction in the top column increases to the value of 0.82. Higher thermodynamic efficiency was found for two columns of the sequence in comparison with the conventional ones. This behavior is related to smaller energy consumption, showing a total energy reduction of 12% compared to the same separation performed in a conventional unit. Energy and exergetic efficiency values were higher than 95% and 85% in the three columns used. These analyses demonstrated that the falling film separation proposal is an energy efficient arrangement and could be considered for multicomponent separation.