George Dzyacky of 2ndpoint is the principal investigator in an academic and industrial consortium that has attracted funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to advance a patented technology that has demonstrated success in increasing the efficiency of the distillation and separation process for the petrol-chemical industry.
Distillation column flooding occurs at abnormally high vapor and/or liquid rates. The loss in tray efficiencies is attributed to unusual behavior of liquid inventories inside the column leading to situations of flooding of the space in between trays with liquid. Depending on the severity of the flood, consequences range from off spec products to equipment damage and tower shutdown.
The Flooding Predictor is an advanced process control strategy comprising a patented pattern-recognition methodology that identifies pre-flood patterns discovered to precede flooding events in distillation and separation columns. The technology prevents flooding and controls columns closer to the incipient flood point by shifting the control objective from delta-pressure to pre-flood.
The grantee holds a U. S. patent on the modeling system. The current project, “Distillation Column Flooding Predictor” is funded in part by the U. S. Department of Energy. Forty-nine percent of the project will be financed by federal funds, totaling $444,000. The technology was independently validated at the Separations Research Program, The University of Texas at Austin under a previous grant from the U. S. Department of Energy, Inventions and Innovation Program.
The primary objective of the current U.S. Department of Energy, Cooperative Agreement is to develop the Flooding Predictor into a universally useable, commercially applicable tool that will decrease energy consumption in the domestic petrol-chemical industry and maximize the separation yield of distillation columns.