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Physics Outsmarted

A New Distillation Plant Extends Physical Limits outsmarted?

| Author: Anke Geipel-Kern

Physics outsmarted: Fischer Autodest 800AC/HV
Gallery: 2 Pictures
Physics outsmarted: Fischer Autodest 800AC/HV (Picture: Iludest)

A new Iludest distillation plant extends the limits of what is possible and enables the extremely pure separation of bitumen fractions in a packed distillation column. In this way the process engineers from Waldbüttelbrunn defy the thermodynamic limits of the ASTM Standards D2892 and D5236, and bring two seemingly incompatible requirements under one hat.

ASTM standards have been the benchmark for everything in crude oil distillation for decades. They make crude oil qualities comparable and distillation parameters transfer­able from laboratory standards to refineries. With the Standards D2892 and D5236, the operator can cover the distillation process for crude oil and heavy hydrocarbon fractions and design his plants optimally. In the last few years however, crude oil qualities have changed.

The proportion of heavy fractions is increasing. Refineries additionally develop new high-end mineral oil products which require a high degree of purity and therefore, more efficient working columns. The thermodynamic conditions specified by the ASTM standards are often no longer adequate to produce these required qualities.

Bitumen fractions with challenging boiling requirements and characterized by low overlapping fractions require a high separation capacity of the columns and high temperatures that can be achieved only under high vacuum conditions.

Dr.-Ing. Hans-Eckhard Koenen Iludest/i-Fischer: “Based on our experiences from the previous project, we knew that this challenge could be solved.“
Dr.-Ing. Hans-Eckhard Koenen Iludest/i-Fischer: “Based on our experiences from the previous project, we knew that this challenge could be solved.“ (Picture: PROCESS)

„These are conditions which cannot be satisfied so far with the parameters specified by the D2892 and D5236 standards”, says Dr.-Ing. Hans-Eckhard Koenen (Engineer), Team Leader “Thermodynamics” at IIudest/i-Fischer. For the delivery of this particular customer demand, the Waldbüttelbrunn Company who devised the solution has received the “PROCESS Innovation Award” at Achema, the second within the intervening period.

The seven strong team of IIudest/i-Fischer engineers has managed to reinvent distillation again and again. This time round, the Fischer Autodest 800AC/HV has put the competition in its place. The special features of the distillation plant are that this apparatus covers a temperature range which extends the range of the ASTM Standards D2892 and D5236 still further — and that too in a single packed column at a vacuum down to 10-3 Torr.

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