Optimizating Simulated Moving Bed Separation through Nonlinear Programming

Technology #5729

Background: In industrial manufacturing, the simulated moving bed (SMB) process is a highly engineered process used to separate one chemical compound or one class of chemical compounds from one or more other chemical compounds to provide significant quantities of the purified or enriched material at dramatically lower cost than could be obtained using batch chromatography. The efficiency performance of an SMB system highly depends on the way it is operated. Inventors propose two different operating schemes for separating out a mixture of three components (ternary separation).

Technology: Yoshiaki Kawajiri and Guarav Agrawal at Georgia Tech suggested two novel operation schemes to separate the mixture of three components in efficient and productive manner. Although, many different operating strategies have been proposed, such as PowerFeed and VARICOL, separation of a ternary mixture using SMB is still a major drawback.  The inventors proposed and described Extended JO and Superstructure operating schemes to solve this problem. Both the Extended JO and Superstructure schemes consists of four columns connected to each other in a cycle divided into multiple number of zones by various inlet and outlet streams. The continuous, countercurrent motion of the stationary phase is simulated by switching both inlet and outlet streams in the direction of liquid flow. Hence, a cycle of SMB is repeated after four steps. 

The inventors compared the Extended JO and Superstructure operating schemes of SMB with existing ternary separation techniques showing that these operating schemes are more advantageous from an economic point of view and outperform various operating schemes considered in the literature.

Potential Commercial Applications: This invention would be useful in areas such as sugar, petrochemical and pharmaceutical separations. It will be helpful in increasing the productivity of separation processes at lower cost and drive down the price of industrial manufacturing.

Benefits and Advantages: 

  • Two novel approaches to operate SMB process: Extended JO and Superstructure
  • Extended JO and Superstructure operating schemes of SMB are especially applicable to ternary separation (3 component mixture) as opposed to binary separation techniques (2 component mixture)
  • Highest amount of productivity was obtained compared to other existing ternary separation technologies 
  • New operating schemes can be applied for separating a variety of multi-component mixtures in different types of industries