Aromatics/Sorbex Separation

Ensure reliable, high-performance para-Xylene and n-Paraffin recovery

UOP’s supply of key Sorbex equipment items insures highest process performance, minimizes maintenance requirements, and maximizes reliability/on-stream factor.

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UOP’s Rotary Valve Insures Sorbex Unit Reliability and High On-Stream Factor

Rotary Valve

The Sorbex™ family of processes utilize stationary, multi-bed adsorbent chambers in a unique process configuration to simulate moving bed, counter-current extraction. Key to the exacting performance of the process is the use of UOP’s Rotary Valve that sequences and directs the flows of feed, desorbent, and extract in and out of the multiple adsorbent beds. The UOP Rotary Valve is a hydraulically driven, rotating plate device that replaces the need for multiple separately controlled valves. The Rotary Valve is supplied by UOP in a variety of sizes to meet process and unit capacity requirements.

The UOP Rotary Valve is key to the economic efficiency of the various Sorbex processes for three fundamental reasons:

  • Process Performance – The RV allows maximum product purities and recoveries by optimal flow control throughout the unit, and due to optimal piping layouts with a single valve, minimizing liquid inventories outside the adsorbent beds
  • Process Reliability and on-steam factor. The UOP RV provides greater overall reliability relative to individual valves and shorter time to on-spec product following unit restarts
  • Lower Operating Costs – The UOP RV results in lower maintenance costs relative to banks of individual valves, and due to the process efficiency of the close-coupled RV and adsorbent chambers, lower desorbent circulation rates and resultant utility consumption

The UOP Rotary Valve works in conjunction with the UOP proprietary Adsorbent Chamber Control System to monitor and control unit operation and to respond to dynamic changes in flow-rate or feedstock composition. On-spec, on-line, all-the-time performance drives unit profitability. Performance and operability have been proven with over a hundred commercial installations since the Sorbex process was first commercialized.

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UOP’s ACCS Optimizes Sorbex Performance and Maximizes Profitability

Adsorbent Chamber Control

The UOP Adsorbent Chamber Control System (ACCS) is a proprietary control system package designed and built to provide optimal control of the SorbexTM family of processes. These processes utilize stationary, multi-bed adsorbent chambers and a rotary valve to simulate moving bed, counter current extraction.

The precise control of the RV, the adsorbent chamber circulation, pressures, and the net stream flows is critical to maintaining maximum product purity and recovery. With multiple interacting flows and pressures, maintaining the optimal performance of the adsorbent system depends on tight regulatory loop control, RV sequencing and accurate process variable calculations. This necessitates an almost instantaneous response to process changes to minimize flow and pressure transients. It also requires accurate timing and integrated control of the RV with flow rate changes.

The ACCS package meets these exacting process control requirements, packaging software and control. The ACCS incorporates sophisticated RV stepping logic and diagnostics to enable Sorbex process operators to enjoy enhanced process performance and onstream reliability. With fully redundant control system hardware and comprehensive fault detection diagnostics, the ACCS offers excellent system reliability and availability. In addition to being a self-contained, stand-alone system, the ACCS can be integrated with a DCS and can be easily connected to a plant wide information/ optimization system.

Benefits of the ACCS are:

  • High steady-state product recoveries and purities
  • Rapid response to process changes and upsets
  • Maximize unit capacity, minimize utility consumption.
  • Independent control system with redundant or fault-tolerant components

UOP has over 90 ACCS systems installed worldwide with proven operating experience.

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UOP Adsorbent Chamber Internals Maximize Performance and Reliability

Adsorbent Chamber Internals

The SorbexTM family of processes utilize stationary, multi-bed adsorbent chambers in a unique process configuration to simulate moving bed, counter-current extraction. The multiple adsorbent beds, each with fluid inlet and outlet capability, have relatively low length/diameter bed dimensions, requiring effective adsorbent packing and fluid distribution. UOP’s proprietary Adsorbent Chamber Internals insure maximum adsorbent performance from each of the individual beds, Key attributes of the internals are: superior fluid distribution across the bed, minimum liquid inventory outside the adsorbent beds, positive adsorbent containment, and minimum pressure drop build-up. Design considerations have been given to ease of hardware installation and adsorbent loading both at unit commissioning and at infrequent adsorbent change-outs.

UOP provides customized designs and manages the highest quality of fabrication through a very limited number of established suppliers that meet rigorous tolerances and quality criteria, while offering low cost and short delivery times. UOP designs both segmental and pie-shaped internals to cost-effectively meet the needs of different capacity units. UOP has supplied Adsorbent Chamber Internals to hundreds of Sorbex unit operators since the technology was commercialized.

Benefits of UOP’s Adsorbent Chamber Internals are:

  • Superior process performance (product purity and recovery)
  • Superior on-stream efficiency
  • Long-run lengths and ultimate adsorbent life
  • Low maintenance costs, ease of installation

Many Parex units have operated for over 10 years on the initial load of adsorbent, with replacement being justified on a next generation adsorbent providing high unit capacity. Profit is maximized by on-spec, on-line, all-the-time, long term performance.

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Reduce Your Aromatics Complex’s Capital and Operating Cost

Distillation/Heat Transfer

UOP’s high performance distillation trays and enhanced surface boiling tubes can be used in aromatics complexes to significantly reduce installed equipment cost, and operating costs. They are especially advantageous in the large columns and reboilers such as the Raffinate and Xylene columns, but can also have economic benefits in Benzene, Toluene, or Ortho-xylene columns.

MD and ECMD trays are particularly well-suited for difficult separations with high liquid/vapor loads. The high capacity capability allows for a smaller column diameter than would be achievable with conventional multi-pass valve trays. The unique design and geometry of the downcomers allows for very close tray spacing to minimize the total column height. The smaller tower size results in reduced vessel cost, lower column weight, structural and foundation cost savings, and easier installation lift. The trays are designed for rapid field installation. Low froth height results in lower pressure drop compared to conventional trays for improved product separation and energy efficiency.

UOP offers a range of High Flux tube products, with both shellside and tubeside surface enhancements. High Flux tubes use a porous surface to provide nucleation sites for enhanced boiling, resulting in an overall heat transfer coefficient two to four times greater than bare tubes, and allow stable boiling at low temperature differentials. This improved heat transfer capability allows for less required surface area, operation at a lower log mean temperature difference (LMTD), or both. For large duty services, the use of High Flux tubes often reduces the number of exchanger shells by half.

Learn more about how UOP’s high performance distillation trays and heat transfer products can improve the profitability of your aromatics complex.

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