A new class of control structures for heterogeneous reactive distillation processes

Mihai Daniel Moraru, Iulian Patrascu, Anton A. Kiss, Costin Sorin Bildea*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


There are only a handful of process control structures applied to the neat operation of both homogeneous and heterogeneous reactive distillation, for two-reactants / two-products one-reaction systems. All of these control structures employ inferential temperature control (or concentration analyzers) at some location in the column to balance the reaction stoichiometry. This original study proposes a new class of control structures applicable to heterogeneous reactive distillation. The novel idea, common to all control structures, is based on monitoring the inventory of the reactant involved in the heterogeneous azeotrope. The organic reflux (or the organic reflux / aqueous distillate ratio) is used to detect the excess or deficiency of the reactant, based on which the fresh feed rate is adjusted such that the reaction stoichiometry is balanced. This control philosophy is simple and easy to implement in different ways as illustrated by several case studies. The performance of the proposed control structures depends on the system studied. For some systems, the performance is better, as good or nearly as good as that of the literature control structures. But for other systems, the performance is poor or the structure even fails to control the process, due to the insufficient feedback from inventory measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108672
Number of pages16
JournalChemical Engineering and Processing - Process Intensification
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript


  • Case studies
  • Esterification
  • Process control
  • Reactive distillation


Dive into the research topics of 'A new class of control structures for heterogeneous reactive distillation processes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this