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Toluene Trans Alkylation

Stream 3 Stream 5

Stream 1

Stream 2
Stream 4

Stream 7 Stream 6

Stream 8

Figure 1 Toluene Trans Alkylation

The Toluene Trans Alkylation is a process used to produce benzene. The main reaction in the
process is:

Toluene, C7H8 + H2 Benzene + CH4

Toluene and hydrogen are converted in a reactor packed with catalyst to produce benzene and
methane. Typically the reaction reaches a conversion of 90%. The reaction is highly exothermic
and the typical operating conditions are 500oC to 600oC, and 20 bar to 60 bar. Figure 1 shows the
block diagram of the Toluene Trans Alkylation process.

The mixture of hydrogen and toluene is preheated before it is introduced to the heater or furnace.
In the furnace the stream is heated to 600 oC, the reaction temperature, then introduced into the
reactor. The reactor is where the main reaction happens:

C7H8 + H2 C6H6 + CH4


The catalytic process occurs at lower temperatures and offers higher selectivity but requires
frequent regeneration of the catalyst. The products are then cooled and introduced into a pair of
separators that separate the unreacted hydrogen. Portion of the unreacted hydrogen is
compressed and recycle back to the feed and the reactor. The products leaving the separators are
then heated before being introduced into a distillation column, where toluene is separated from
the stream and recycle to the feed. This allow for greater conversion. Then further fractionation
separates methane and toluene from the benzene product. The heating requirements are achieved
with low, high and medium pressure steam. The cooling requirements are achieve by cooling
water at temperature of 30 C and pressure of 1 bar. Table 1 lists the results of the material
balance of each stream in the simulation.
Table 1 Simulation Material Balance

Steam Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Description Toluene Toluene Benzene Fuel


Gas

Phase Liquid Liquid Vapor Vapor Mixed Mixed Liquid Vapor

Temperature, 25 112 600 671.015 38 90 38 35.661


o
C

Pressure, bar 1.9 2.43 24.8 24.8 25.5 2.455 2.955 2.5

Flowrate, 18.84 63 110.82 459.25 408.79 81.92 18.92 402.75


kmol/hr

Composition

Toluene 1.000 0.970 0.170 0.041 0.000 0.248 0.004 0.000

Hydrogen 0.000 0.000 0.618 0.495 0.600 0.000 0.000 0.585

Methane 0.000 0.000 0.206 0.337 0.400 0.005 0.000 0.406

Benzene 0.000 0.030 0.000 0.127 0.000 0.747 0.996 0.000