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Pervaporation and Sorption Enhanced Reactive Cyclic Processes: The Butyl Acrylate Case Study

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journal contribution
posted on 10.02.2020, 20:17 by Dânia S. M. Constantino, Rui P. V. Faria, Ana M. Ribeiro, Alírio. E. Rodrigues
New process intensification strategies for butyl acrylate production are emerging as an alternative to the conventional multistage process, where high temperatures and homogeneous catalysts are used. In this work, a novel approach is presented focusing on process reintensification by combining pervaporation and sorption enhanced reactive processes, the simulated moving-bed membrane reactor (SMBR), also known as PermSMBR. Different configurations of membranes combined with the simulated moving-bed reactor (SMBR) were investigated: integrated, comprising membranes packed with the Amberlyst-15 ion-exchange resin, and coupled, consisting of several hydrophilic membranes each of which was followed by a fixed-bed adsorptive reactor. Mathematical models were implemented to predict the PermSMBR performance with the different configurations. To achieve this, different experimental runs were carried out to validate the mathematical model for the simulated moving-bed reactor. Then, fundamental pervaporation data were taken into account to investigate numerically the PermSMBR process. The maximum performance was achieved with the integrated PermSMBR configuration, which was the best strategy for BAc production, with a productivity of 8.00 (kgBAc (Lads–1·day–1)), which is 33% higher than that obtained in the conventional SMBR. Moreover, this strategy leads to a significant reduction in the consumption of the eluent, 32%, relative to SMBR for the same conversion (≥99%) and purity criteria (≥99.5%). This is due to the more effective removal of water by favoring the solid regeneration step.