June 2004

Special Report: Process/Plant Optimization

Use extractive distillation to simplify petrochemical processes

Advances in solvent technology enable using extraction methods to separate close boiling point compounds cost-effectively

Kumar, S., Consultant; Gentry, J. C., Wright-Wytcherley, R., GTC Technology US, LLC

Extractive distillation (ED) uses a solvent in distillation applications to enhance separation efficiency. Throughout the academic world, this method is recognized as an effective way to separate close-boiling mixtures. Recently, ED has gained widespread acceptance among industrial users. In particular, ED technology can be applied to three important commercial applications to improve profitability of the petrochemical and refining industries. These include: Benzene, toluene and xylene (BTX) recovery and purification from aromatics-containing feedstocks Styrene recovery from pyrolysis gasoline Sulfur removal from cracked gasoline stock. What is

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