Simulation and comparison of equilibrium and nonequilibrium stage models of reactive distillation
In the present study, two distinctly different approaches are followed for modelling of reactive distillation column, the equilibrium stage model and the nonequilibrium stage model. These models are simulated with a computer code developed in the present study using MATLAB programming. In the equilibrium stage models, the vapour and liquid phases are assumed to be in equilibrium and allowance is made for finite reaction rates, where as in the nonequilibrium stage models simultaneous mass transfer and reaction rates are considered. These simulated model results are validated from the experimental data reported in the literature [Jacob and Krishna, 1993]. The simulated results of equilibrium and nonequilibrium models are compared for concentration, temperature and reaction rate profiles in a reactive distillation column for Methyl Tert Butyle Ether (MTBE) production. Both the models show similar trend for the concentration, temperature and reaction rate profiles but the nonequilibrium model predictions are higher and closer to the experimental values reported in the literature [Jacob and Krishna, 1993].