Project Synopsis

Design a specialty jet fuel distillation column.

Project Summary


The client is a privately-owned firm that specializes in the mechanical design and manufacture of various automated skid systems including distillation units. Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted to provide a process design and vacuum column design for a system to distill a mixture of an iso-alkane “purge fluid” and JP-8 jet fuel, generated by maintenance performed on jet aircraft.  The main requirements for the separation were to increase the flashpoint of the bottoms product above a certain point while minimizing the amount of distillate generated. Other critical parameters included a column height limit (due to airport operations) and column pressure drop (due to available pressure of steam supply for the column reboiler).

Various process diagrams and reports were generated using commercial process simulation software to supply the information necessary for design of the distillation column system.  Included were important process and dimensional information needed for the design of the reboiler, condenser, vacuum pump, and various heat exchangers.  Process control loops and instrumentation parameters (setpoints and operating ranges) were stipulated, along with a Sequence of Operations to allow the system to be safely started, operated, and shutdown via programmable logic controller (PLC).  In addition, the project team carried out calculations and generated documents for the sizing and selection of relief valves and conservation vents for the system.  

Industry Type

  • Specialty Refining

Utilized Skills

  • Distillation design
  • Column sizing

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