The Energy Of Energy Usage

1129 Words Aug 14th, 2015 5 Pages
Historically, the distillation of alcohol (spirits, wine and vodka) has been a high-end consumer in terms of energy usage. According to U.S. Dept. of Energy, there are more than 40,000 distillation columns in North America and they consume 40% of the total energy used to operate plants in chemical industries [1]. As a result, researchers have focused their efforts towards developing distillation columns that are more compact, utilize compressors to recirculate latent heat and possess more effective separation technology in order to reduce energy consumption.
The principal topics of research that pose effective solutions to these present-day energy challenges are: the use of divided-wall columns (DWC), self-heat recuperation technology (SHRT) and the improvement of ethanol-water separation through the use of membranes.

In order to manufacture a more energy efficient configuration, distillation columns must be constructed with smaller diameters and lower heights to suit practical use. Also, the configuration must include the ability to account for any thermodynamic losses by recycling heat between the reboiler and the condenser. Furthermore, column designs equipped with state-of-the-art membrane technology provide much more sufficient separation of azetropic mixtures, in our case, ethanol and water. These criteria are essential to the long-term success of energy reduction in the distillation process of alcohol; however, the task of combining all these systems…
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