Phenolic resin processing unit development and energy optimization in phenol and acetone production
Iakupov, Dmitrii (2019)
School of Engineering Science, Kemiantekniikka
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Phenol is a substance extensively used in the chemical industry. The fact that demand in phenol has been permanently increasing requires new efficient and sustainable solutions for its production. The cumene method of phenol production remains predominant in the industry, however, it poses the challenge of phenolic resin processing, which is the hazardous waste product formed in the process. The main goal of this Master’s thesis was to develop the equipment and technology for phenolic resin processing unit used at phenol production by cumene process. It was especially important to ensure profitability of the technology and sustainability of the unit, as well as to reduce adverse environmental impact from production. The literature review was done to find the most economically efficient flowsheet which would allow to reduce adverse environmental impact as well. Apart from that, the project economic evaluation was made. Aspen Plus and Aspen Hysys were used to simulate phenolic resin processing unit and find optimal parameters of distillation columns. Aspen Energy Analyzer was used to make pinch analysis based on the heat flows obtained by simulation in Aspen Hysys. As a result, the project utility costs were reduced with the help of created heat exchanger network, and 310 kg/h of commercial cumene and 1000 kg/h of alpha-methylstyrene were obtained, with commercial phenol yield increase by 500 kg/h, providing that a typical phenolic resin composition was used, and 200000 t/year of phenol and 125000 t/year of acetone were taken as typical capacity for phenol production. The results obtained in this Master’s thesis allowed to consider the designed phenolic resin processing unit suitable for phenol and acetone production plants by cumene method, with its implementation encouraging profitability and sustainability of production with economic potential of 7.36 M€/year.