Chemical and Biomolecular Research Papers -- Faculty Authors Series


Date of this Version



Chemical Engineering Processes and Technology (2013) 1: 1005


Copyright © 2013, the author. Open access


Distillation process consumes about 40% of the total energy used to operate the plants in petrochemical and chemical process industries in North America. Therefore, sustainable distillation column operation requires responsible use of energy and reduction of harmful emission such as CO2. The Aspen Plus ‘Column Targeting Tool’ (CTT) options in a simulation environment can help reduce the use of energy and hence CO2 emission. The Aspen plus ‘Carbon Tracking’ (CT) together with the ‘Global Warming Potential’ options can quantify the reduction in CO2 emission. The CTT is based on the practical near-minimum thermodynamic condition approximation and exploits the capabilities for thermal and hydraulic analyses of distillation columns to identify the targets for possible column modifications. By using the ‘CO2 emission factor data source’ and fuel type, the CT estimates the total CO2 emission and net carbon fee/tax in the use of utility such as steam. A comparative assessment with the sustainability metrics displays the usage of energy, emission of CO2, and cost before and after the distillation column modifications. This study comprises both an interactive and graphically-oriented case study with simulation tool and sustainability metrics for quantifying the reduction in the energy consumption and CO2 emission in distillation column operations.