The synthesis of an isobaric reactive distillation network involving a quaternary azeotropic mixture is investigated in this work. The network is comprised of vapor-liquid equilibrium trays, with liquid holdup that changes from tray to tray. Kinetically and/or equilibrium limited reactions are assumed to occur in the liquid phase.
The Infinite DimEnsionAl State-Space (IDEAS) conceptual framework, is first shown to be applicable to the problem, and is then employed to formulate an infinite linear program (ILP) that can rigorously assess the feasibility of the considered process synthesis problem. The formulated IDEAS ILP’s infimum value is approximated by the sequence of optimal values of a number of finite dimensional linear programs (FLP) of ever-increasing size. The method is demonstrated on a case study involving the isobaric reactive distillation of an acetic acid/isopropanol/isopropyl acetate/water azeotropic mixture.