Umudike Journal of Engineering and Technology

Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike


Olakunle, M. S.
Department of Chemical Engineering, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria

Adefila, S. S.
Engineering and Environmental Management Services Limited, Suite 5, ZM Plaza, Ahmadu Bello Way, Garki II, Abuja, Nigeria

Olawale, A. S.
Department of Chemical Engineering, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria


An approach based on thermodynamic analysis was proposed in this work to assess and improve the efficiency of a debutanizer column. The approach is hinged on the application of exergy analysis, which is becoming readily available for a converged distillation column simulation. Temperature-enthalpy curves and exergy loss profiles obtained from Aspen Plus were used to assess the performance of the debutanizer and suggest suitable modification for improvement in the column’s efficiency. The debutanizer operates with 32 stages, a feed preheater, top condenser and bottom reboiler. An assessment of the converged base case simulation indicated the need for more efficient operations. The improvements achieved is to utilize an inter-reboiler arrangement that withdraws liquid from stage 26, heats it up to about 50% vapor, and returns it to stage 29. The range of reduction in the total exergy losses is 12 to 21%. The thermodynamic efficiency for this retrofit is 66% as compared to the base case value of 58%.

Keywords: Exergy, Inter-reboiler, Retrofit, Debutanizer, Modification

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Vol. 2 No. 2, DEC 2016

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