Dividing Wall Columns Save CAPEX and OPEX

Dividing Wall Columns (DWCs) are the main segment of GTC’s Advanced Distillation category of business and enhance GTC’s role as a distillation equipment supplier. With DWC technology applying to all business lines of engineering, technology, and equipment design and hardware, Sulzer GTC is able to offer a single-source supply.

Although Sulzer GTC is not the first company to apply DWC technology, we are on the cutting edge for widespread application in the industry. Since the beginning of 2017, Sulzer GTC has experienced several significant milestones with its GT-DWC process:

  • Sulzer GTC supplied a second DWC for Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) at the DTA Refinery in Jamnagar, India, in February (the first DWC unit was installed in April 2015 for a unit at RIL’s SEZ Refinery in April 2015). The project was unique in that a separation process, previously made by two naphtha splitting towers, was altered to be made in only one of the towers, which was converted to a GT-DWC Sulzer GTC provided a single-source responsibility for process license, Basic Engineering Design, equipment supply and process guarantees.
  • GTC’s most recent DWC installation was a first-of-a-kind GT-TDWC℠ (Top Dividing Wall Column) as part of a successful start-up of a light naphtha isomerization unit at the Bharat Petroleum Corporation, Ltd. (BPCL) refinery in Mumbai, India. While most operating DWCs are characterized by a wall placed in the middle of the column, this was a unique application with the dividing wall running from the top of the column. In this configuration, the column has two separate sets of condensing systems and offers significant flexibility in terms of producing different levels of food-grade hexane. For this project, Sulzer GTC also provided its low-temperature Isomalk-2℠ process technology. The unit produces an isomerate gasoline blend stock component. The overall process includes a naphtha hydrotreating and fractionation section, and isomerization section. Unit operation started in March 2017. Sulzer GTC provided a single-source responsibility for process license, basic engineering design, catalysts and chemicals, equipment supply and process guarantees.

Other successes include:

  • First 3-cut tower with a side-draw producing high purity, petrochemical-grade xylenes.
  • Complex retrofit of existing large diameter column, fitting a wall within two diameter dimensions; all done in record time.
  • New applications on heavy oil absorbing and stripping within a single column, applicable to refinery stabilizers and gas plants.
  • Unified designs within process units, such as isomerization and aromatics plants.

Introducing GTC’s Advanced Distillation Systems Group

Sulzer GTC has recently set up a new Advanced Distillation Systems division within the company to oversee DWC (dividing wall column) technical and commercial activities. The group includes Manish Bhargava, Director – Technology; David Kockler, Senior Process Manager; Roomi Kalita, Process Engineer; and Radu Ignat, Process Manager (Sulzer GTC Romania). Mike Binkley (Sulzer GTC Euless) serves as a consultant and Joseph Gentry is Interim Director – Sales and Marketing.

Manish Bhargava
David Kockler
Mike Binkley
Roomi Kalita
Radu Ignat






Sulzer GTC has published several articles on Advanced Distillation that feature GT-DWC. Each can be obtained by clicking the links below or by contacting cfink@gtctech.com.

Distillation – Then and Now
Hydrocarbon Processing
January 2016

Improving Distillation Efficiency
4th Quarter 2016

Dividing Wall Column Provides Sizable Energy Savings
Chemical Processing
May 2017

Dividing Wall Column Applications in FCC Naphtha Splitter Columns
Hydrocarbon Processing
September 2017

Converting Two Columns Into One
4th Quarter 2017