Home > alcohol distillation, distillation, distilling > How to Adapt Traditional Distillation Methods

How to Adapt Traditional Distillation Methods

How to adapt traditional distillation methods

Distillation is the practice of extracting individual components from a liquid mixture by heating it to its boiling point and allowing its constituent vapors to collect separately and be collected by condensed streams. Distillation is most frequently employed to separate water from alcohol for production of spirits, but can also be applied to fermented substances containing alcohol.

This method takes advantage of a phenomenon known as azeotrope formation, in which two immiscible liquids combine their vapor pressures and form an intermediate phase with lower vapor pressure than either of its pure components. Azeotropic distillation offers an easy way to separate mixtures that would otherwise be difficult to break apart chemically.

Distillation processes in industrial settings typically use a fractionation tower, which features liquid outlets at regular intervals along its length to allow the removal of products at each step. Since this energy-intensive process takes significant resources to run efficiently, many efforts are undertaken in order to increase its efficiencies.

Energy consumed in distillation plants is often spent heating vapors, and conserving this resource as efficiently as possible is of critical importance. Therefore, work has been conducted to optimize design of distillation equipment and its control methods to conserve as much energy as possible. One such strategy that has proven particularly successful at conserving energy consumption in distillation systems is increasing reflux levels for improved separation efficiency between higher boiling components such as alcohols and lower boiling components.