The reactive dividing wall column (RDWC) is a highly integrated apparatus, which combines a reactive distillation and a dividing wall column in one single shell. Thus, high savings in investment as well as operational costs can be achieved compared to conventional process alternatives. Due to the high grade of integration the process behavior of the RDWC is strongly nonlinear and extremely complex. Hence, it is not trivial to understand how the process performs in detail and to predict the advantageousness of the RDWC for a given task during conceptual design.
Still, for a safe and energy efficient design as well as a steady operation in the industrial praxis it is essential to know, how the process performances and for which tasks the RDWC is more advantageous than less integrated process alternatives. Therefore, the aim of this research is to generate a profound process understanding and identify process applications for the RDWC. The investigations carried out focus on the influence of non-ideal reaction system properties, such as azeotropic phase equilibria. To determine the best process integration level, the energy optimal designs of the RWDC and less integrated process alternatives are determined and compared. By applying this procedure suitable reaction system characteristics can be identified and so, process applications for the RDWC can be derived. Moreover, heuristics regarding the optimal level of process integration can be deduced. This leads to an easier determination of the optimal process integration level and an acceleration of the conceptual design phase.