Modeling of Trickle Bed Reactors for the Hydrogenation of Maleic Acid
Abstract: The hydrogenation of maleic acid (MAC) to either tetrahydrofuran (THF) or 1,4-butanediol (BDO) is an important technology in chemical manufacturing since these reaction products are used to produce various industrial polymers. Trickle bed reactors, where an aqueous solution of MAC is contacted with hydrogen over a fixed bed porous solid catalyst, are a candidate for commercial processing. TBRs are widely used in the petroleum refining for removal of sulfur, nitrogen and metals using hydrodesulphurization, hydrodenitrogenation, hydrodemetallization processes where a significant body of patent literature and know-how exists. However, this same level of technological understanding on key engineering aspects, such as multiphase-flow hydrodynamics, heat and mass transfer, liquid-solid contacting, and reaction kinetics, does not exist for organic feedstocks. While research has been extensive in understanding various aspects of TBR processing, little work has been published that incorporates the effect of gas-liquid contacting mode (concurrent up-flow, concurrent down-flow, and countercurrent flow), hydrodynamics, heat and mass transfer effects, and reaction kinetics into a single model that is applicable at high temperature and pressure for specialty chemical operations. This poster describes a research program whose primary objective is to develop a simulation model for the title reaction using COMSOL Multiphysics as the computational engine.
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