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Methanol distillation
Uhde has developed various concepts to match the energy requirements of the distillation section with energy available from the front end.

The conventional distillation unit consists of a topping and a refining section. The light ends present in the raw methanol are removed in the topping column. The stabilised raw methanol, consisting of methanol, water and minor amounts of higher alcohols, is fractionated in the refining section to produce grade AA methanol.

In this conventional two-column distillation unit, the heat requirement (i.e. the consumption of LP steam) is the highest for a given methanol yield. However, Uhde's multi-column design maximises the yield and minimises the consumption of LP steam.

The multi-column distillation design consists of three or four columns - one topping column and two refining columns, augmented by an additional recovery column in the case of the four-column design concept.

The appropriate design for the distillation section depends primarily on the plant capacity, the heat available in the process plant and the energy export requirements.
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