Hybrid separation processes combine different separation principles and constitute a promising design option for the separation of complex mixtures. Particularly, the integration of distillation with other unit operations can significantly improve the separation of close-boiling or azeotropic mixtures. Although the design of single-unit operations is well understood and supported by computational methods, the optimal design of flowsheets of hybrid separation processes is still a challenging task. The large number of operational and design degrees of freedom requires a systematic and optimization-based design approach. To this end, a structured approach, the so-called process synthesis framework, is proposed. This article reviews available computational methods for the conceptual design of distillation-based hybrid processes for the separation of liquid mixtures. Open problems are identified that must be addressed to finally establish a structured process synthesis framework for such processes.
Annual Review of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering – Annual Reviews
Published: Jun 7, 2013