Project Synopsis

Perform a technical evaluation and debottlenecking study of an ethanol plant’s #1 beer distillation column.

Project Summary


Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted by the client, a grain based fuel ethanol production company, to perform a technical evaluation and debottlenecking study of their #1 Column Beer Column Reboiler at the facility. This evaluation included updating the Beer Column #1 simulation / heat and material balance followed by the evaluation of two identified potential modifications that may increase capacity / heat transfer in the reboiler.

The following tasks were performed:

  • Development of the baseline information that governed subsequent process technical evaluation tasks. This information consisted of –
    • Current Beer Column #1 operating data
    • Process measurements associated with the reboiler
    • Steam physical and chemical characterizations
    • Reboiler specifications.
  • Updating the existing CHEMCAD simulation model for Beer Column #1 by including the most recent operating data provided by the client which included updated heat and material balance information that matched the current performance of Beer Column #1.  The simulation was updated and validated against the results of actual operating data.  This up-to-date “base case” simulation model was used as a tool to assist in predicting what impact various modifications to the reboiler system may have.
  • Modification of the “base case” simulation model of Beer Column #1 to study the effect of potential system changes that may help increase the reboiler heat duty / capacity.  The system changes considered were the following:
    • Increase the reboiler vapor outlet size
    • Add a second reboiler outlet.
  • Generation of a summary report that included the study basis, critical assumptions, predicted modification results, comments, conclusions, and recommendations.

Industry Type

  • Alternative Fuel / Biofuel Production

Utilized Skills

  • Process evaluation
  • Distillation optimization

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