Separation of isotope 13C using high-performance structured packing

Separationof isotope 13C usinghigh-performance structured packing

Hu-Lin Li a,b,, Yong-LinJua,Liang-Jun Li b, Da-GangXub

a Institute of Refrigeration and Cryogenics,Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 800 Dongchuan Road, Shanghai 200240, China

b Shanghai Research Institute of ChemicalIndustry, 345 East Yunling Road, Shanghai 200062, China


A specialhigh-performance structured packing, PACK-13C, with the surface area high as1135m2m−3was developed, and thefirst stable isotope 13C pilot-scale plant using structured packing wasdesignedand constructed by carbon monoxide cryogenicdistillation, which has run smoothly over 6 months. Theheight and innerdiameter of the distillation column were respectively, 20mand 45mmand theheight ofpacking bed was 18 m. The column was well insulated byvacuum multilayer insulation and the total heatleakage of the columnwas less than 30 W. When the F-factor changes from 0.18 to 0.90ms−1 (kgm−3)1/2,the numbers oftheoretical plates per meter decreases from 30 to 20, the pressure drop is lessthan 25 Pafor each theoretical plate, the dynamic liquid holdup isbetween 11% and 21%, and the pilot-scale plantproduces 2.1 g 15%isotope 13C each day. The fluid mechanical and mass transfer empiricalequations weredeveloped according to the experimental data of PACK-13C.The PACK-13C structured packing exhibitsvery high performancesin isotope separation efficiency and operational flexibility, which is farsuperiorto the traditional random packing. PACK-13C is a perfectpacking to serve in 13C separation to increaseproductivity andreduce consumption.

Keywords: Cryogenic distillation13C isotope separationStructured packingPACK-13C