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Butyl acetate is synthesized by the reaction of acetic acid and butanol in the
presence of strongly acidic catalyst which is sulfuric acid. Butanol, acetic acid and
catalyst are charged to the esterification reactor producing an ester-water azeotrope
which then brought to reflux through the esterification column. The water layer
containing some butanol and butyl acetate is continuously removed from the
decanter and fed to the refining column. Butanol and butyl acetate distillate returned
to the reactor and the water, essentially free of all organics, is collected and sent to
waste treatment facilities. A portion of the organic phase is returned to the column
as reflux and the remainder is fed to a refining column. Butanol, water and some
butyl ester are being removed from the top of the column and returned to the
esterification reactor while n-butyl acetate of purity usually up to 99 % mass is
withdrawn as a bottom product.
Major equipments involved in the process are esterification reactor (R-100),
heater (E-100), esterification column (T-100), refining column (T-101) and cooler (E101). Those equipments have designed where both the chemical and mechanical
part of the equipment are being considered.
For the process control part, it is done with the objective of maintaining the
important variables to the equipment depending on its process. Temperature,
pressure, level, concentration, flowrate is the important variables need to be control
in almost all of the equipment. Pressure relief valve is also added to the R-100 and
E-100 to make sure that the pressure accumulated in the equipment is released and
thus avoiding from explosion due to high pressure.
Safety of the plant is important to ensure that the plant is designed and
operated under their control and identify the possible hazard through the Hazard
and Operability Study (HAZOP) to prevent damage to plant and any event that may
cause death. The overall plant includes the emergency route is laid out considering
all the safety issue.
Through economic evaluation, it is found that the annual profit of the plant
producing 50,000 metric tonnes of Butyl Acetate is RM 22,942,016.40 with the
payback period of 6 years and 8 months. It is also found that the sales revenue and
manufacturing cost per annum is RM 212,350,000 and RM 189,407,983.60, while

the fix capital investment is RM 55,717,534.71, current asset, RM 5,571,753.47 and
the cost for land is RM 8,712,381.60.
Heat integration is performed to develop a design of heat exchanger network
which guarantee minimum energy levels in order to minimize total cost. Comparing
the process between before and after the integration, it shows that there is reduction
of 15.39% in energy which will as well reduce the capital cost.
The wastes produced by the plant consist of liquid and gas waste which
need to be treated before being released to the environment. The wastes has to
undergo several processes in order to achieved a standard condition comply with
the regulation provided by Department of Environment.