Methyl Tert-Butyl Ether (MTBE) Decomposition with a Reactive Distillation Unit

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This Demonstration simulates a reactive distillation column that produces iso-butene and methanol from the decomposition of methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE). The reaction is MTBE ⇌ iso-butene + methanol. The column is fed with pure MTBE at stage 8. The reactive stages range from 6 to 11. The column has 16 stages, a partial reboiler, and a total condenser. For low Damköhler numbers (with molar hold-up equaling zero), methanol and iso-butene are not formed and the only species present in the column is MTBE. At high Damköhler numbers, we get almost pure methanol as a bottom and pure iso-butene as a distillate.

Contributed by: Housam Binous, Manel Selmi, Ines Wada, Selima Allouche, and Ahmed Bellagi (March 2011)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA



K. Huang and S. J. Wang, "Design and Control of a Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) Decomposition Reactive Distillation Column," Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 46(8), 2007 pp. 2508–2519.

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