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Revamp of Fatty Acid Column

Background
The customer Godrej Industries is one of the top three largest producers of glycerin and other integrated components of fatty acids in India.

Process Overview
The fatty acid distillation plant has been designed and installed to achieve the desired product purity and quality at a minimum cost and also to take care of variations in input feed composition.

Customer Requirements
1. Enhance capacity to handle feed with variable feed stocks
2. Resolve the product purity problem
3. Reduce energy consumption

Problem Analysis
After detailed study of entire fatty acid distillation plant and thorough hydraulic rating of existing tower internals, several problems were noted which were restricting the installed capacity:

1. Polymerization or chocking of random packing
2. Excessive pressure drop in packing and internals
3. Poor feed distribution due to pipe arm distributor
4. Incorrect elevation of internals

Solutions provided
Munters recommended changing random packing to structured packing, thus allowing better contact of liquid and vapor and ensuring low pressure drop. The tower internals were also re-designed to suit the modified packing. Further, the liquid distribution system was re-designed by modifying the existing Pipe Arm distributor and including a new liquid distributor to ensure efficient liquid distribution on the packed bed. Enough space was provided for good disengagement of vapor from liquid.

Results achieved
The column is now working satisfactorily with increased capacity by approx. 30 - 40% and reduced utility consumption by approx. 20%.

At the top of the columns, the client achieved removal of C6-C10 fatty acid impurities with the slippage of C12 fatty acid reduced to the extent of =< 1%. At the bottom of the columns, the client achieved desired product purity and slippage of C10 fatty acid impurities to the extent of >=1%.

“Munters is a regular supplier of ME-II® series of structured packings and high performance internals for our Fatty Acid and Fatty Alcohol Fractionation Plant.", says a representative of Godrej Industries.

"The columns have performed as per the design expectations and Munters personnel have provided us excellent design, assembly and commissioning support.”

Quick facts

  • Customer: Producer of Glycerin and Fatty Acid
  • Location: Western India
  • Tower Name: Pre-Cut Distillation Column
  • Tower Diameter: 800 mm
  • Mass Transfer Equipment: Structured Packing (ME-II® 250 Y) and tower internals

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