Economic waste treatment: Retrofitting of a distillation column

The problem


A large chemical facility has been plagued by a waste flow having heavy organic load (COD > 60,000 ppm) which requires highly expensive removal and dumping. SWDP LTD. was requested to perform a process analysis study to identify the sources of the wastewater and their specific properties. For each identified flow, a process for treating the flow had to be proposed.
The analysis of the problem identified 3 sources of organics in the wastewater. One of these sources was the bottom flow of an old (1977) distillation column.

The solution
After analyzing the performance of the distillation column, SWDP LTD. recommended the implementation of a new control system. The algorithm developed by SWDP ltd. was implemented on the existing distillation column

Results
The implementation of the new control system enabled to reduce the concentration of organic matter from 30,000-50,000 ppm COD to 700ppm which is the limit for dumping the wastewater in the local sewer.
The operation of the control system allowed the recovery of more organic material at the top of the column.
The control system is fully automatic and adapts to changes in the feed stream
Recovery of the organic material returned the investment for the project in a few months.


Control system for improved performance of a distillation column

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