Bioethanol dehydration in thermally integrated extractive distillation columns

Nghi Nguyen, Jiwon Sim, Yaşar Demirel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


Bioethanol plants produce dilute mixture of around 10-wt% of ethanol in water. Ethanol is distillated to 96%, and most commonly, sent to a molecular sieve, which absorbs water. The molecular sieve is regenerated by heating to remove water. As the capacity of ethanol production increases molecular sieve becomes thermally inefficient. Beside that the distillation of ethanol could consume up to 50% of the overall energy used in a typical grain alcohol plant. Ethanol purification by distillation requires extractive distillation with an entrainer, such as pentane, benzene, diethyl ether, ethylene glycol, toluene, cyclohexane, methoxy-ethanol, ethyl tert-butyl ether, and bioglycerol. Entrainer breaks the azeotrope which forms between ethanol and water at 95.6 wt% ethanol (at atmospheric pressure). The study analyzes the potential of using thermally integrated columns to save energy for the purification of ethanol from water using ethylene glycol as entrainer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication10AIChE - 2010 AIChE Annual Meeting, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
Event2010 AIChE Annual Meeting, 10AIChE - Salt Lake City, UT, United States
Duration: Nov 7 2010Nov 12 2010

Publication series

NameAIChE Annual Meeting, Conference Proceedings


Conference2010 AIChE Annual Meeting, 10AIChE
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySalt Lake City, UT


  • Azeotrope
  • Ethanol
  • Ethylene glycol
  • Thermally integrated column

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Chemistry


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