GTC Article in Chemical Processing: Dividing Wall Column Provides Sizable Energy Savings

May 2017 – As energy sectors enter a phase emphasizing energy reduction, interest is growing in dividing wall column (DWC) technology for distillation.  This article takes a look at an installation at a refinery complex in Chiba, Japan, owned by the TonenGeneral Group.  There, the DWC recovers 230,000 t/y of high-purity mixed xylenes from a full-range reformate feed.

The project was implemented in early 2016 with the intention of rejuvenating petrochemical business in Japan. Mixed xylenes, along with other heavier components, traditionally had been used as gasoline base stock in the refinery. However, to improve profitability, TonenGeneral decided to separate the mixed xylenes. The DWC (Figure 1), which has a processing capacity of 1,170 bbl/d, has been fully operational since April 2016. It recovers 98.5% of mixed xylenes (C8 aromatics) contained in the feed.

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