Date of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Type



Chemical Engineering

Director of Thesis

Thomas Stanford

Second Reader

Vincent Van Brunt


Aspen HYSYS was used to make two flowsheets, one with plug flow reactors and distillation columns and another with a reactive distillation column, to see which flowsheet was better at producing tert-amyl methyl ether (TAME) and which one was more economically feasible. The goal was to produce 15,000 metric tons of TAME per year by reacting a naptha stream with methanol. It was found that both flowsheets were capable of producing the desired amounts of TAME and with product purities around 100%. The conversions of the reactive distillation was 93.93%, significantly higher than the 72.48% and 76.98% in the base case. The cost of building the differences of the two flowsheets is shown by the bare module cost, in the base case was $719,000 and the cost of different equipment for the reactive distillation case was $364,000. The yearly cost to run the base case was $1,247,165 and $714,055 for the reactive distillation case. The reactive distillation has a cheaper initial cost which is shown by the bare module cost and has a cheaper cost to run per year. The reactive distillation flowsheet is the better flowsheet and would be the recommended flowsheet to use if this process was to be made since it has a cheaper cost to build and to operate.

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