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Article

Optimal Design of a Two-Stage Membrane System for Hydrogen Separation in Refining Processes

1
CAIMI Centro de Aplicaciones Informáticas y Modelado en Ingeniería, Universidad Tecnológica Nacional, Facultad Regional Rosario, Zeballos 1346, Rosario S2000BQA, Argentina
2
Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Alicante, Apartado de correos 99, 03080 Alicante, Spain
3
INGAR Instituto de Desarrollo y Diseño (CONICET-UTN), Avellaneda 3657, Santa Fe S3002GJC, Argentina
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
The authors contributed equally to this work.
Processes 2018, 6(11), 208; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6110208
Received: 17 September 2018 / Revised: 27 October 2018 / Accepted: 27 October 2018 / Published: 31 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Materials, Performance and Processes)
This paper fits into the process system engineering field by addressing the optimization of a two-stage membrane system for H2 separation in refinery processes. To this end, a nonlinear mathematical programming (NLP) model is developed to simultaneously optimize the size of each membrane stage (membrane area, heat transfer area, and installed power for compressors and vacuum pumps) and operating conditions (flow rates, pressures, temperatures, and compositions) to achieve desired target levels of H2 product purity and H2 recovery at a minimum total annual cost. Optimal configuration and process design are obtained from a model which embeds different operating modes and process configurations. For instance, the following candidate ways to create the driving force across the membrane are embedded: (a) compression of both feed and/or permeate streams, or (b) vacuum application in permeate streams, or (c) a combination of (a) and (b). In addition, the potential selection of an expansion turbine to recover energy from the retentate stream (energy recovery system) is also embedded. For a H2 product purity of 0.90 and H2 recovery of 90%, a minimum total annual cost of 1.764 M$·year−1 was obtained for treating 100 kmol·h−1 with 0.18, 0.16, 0.62, and 0.04 mole fraction of H2, CO, N2, CO2, respectively. The optimal solution selected a combination of compression and vacuum to create the driving force and removed the expansion turbine. Afterwards, this optimal solution was compared in terms of costs, process-unit sizes, and operating conditions to the following two sub-optimal solutions: (i) no vacuum in permeate stream is applied, and (ii) the expansion turbine is included into the process. The comparison showed that the latter (ii) has the highest total annual cost (TAC) value, which is around 7% higher than the former (i) and 24% higher than the found optimal solution. Finally, a sensitivity analysis to investigate the influence of the desired H2 product purity and H2 recovery is presented. Opposite cost-based trade-offs between total membrane area and total electric power were observed with the variations of these two model parameters. This paper contributes a valuable decision-support tool in the process system engineering field for designing, simulating, and optimizing membrane-based systems for H2 separation in a particular industrial case; and the presented optimization results provide useful guidelines to assist in selecting the optimal configuration and operating mode. View Full-Text
Keywords: H2 separation; multi-stage membrane system; design; operation; simultaneous optimization; NLP; GAMS H2 separation; multi-stage membrane system; design; operation; simultaneous optimization; NLP; GAMS
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MDPI and ACS Style

Arias, A.M.; Mores, P.L.; Scenna, N.J.; Caballero, J.A.; Mussati, S.F.; Mussati, M.C. Optimal Design of a Two-Stage Membrane System for Hydrogen Separation in Refining Processes. Processes 2018, 6, 208. https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6110208

AMA Style

Arias AM, Mores PL, Scenna NJ, Caballero JA, Mussati SF, Mussati MC. Optimal Design of a Two-Stage Membrane System for Hydrogen Separation in Refining Processes. Processes. 2018; 6(11):208. https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6110208

Chicago/Turabian Style

Arias, Ana M., Patricia L. Mores, Nicolás J. Scenna, José A. Caballero, Sergio F. Mussati, and Miguel C. Mussati. 2018. "Optimal Design of a Two-Stage Membrane System for Hydrogen Separation in Refining Processes" Processes 6, no. 11: 208. https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6110208

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