Essay on Talking: Ethanol and Distillation Column

Submitted By awill23
Words: 808
Pages: 4

Distillation Unit



The refinery and chemical plants may process different materials, but have the same equipment for the most part. One of the main units of any refinery is the distillation column. To understand a distillation column one must understand what they do, and what feeds are made of. A distillation column is a unit that uses boiling points to separate the feed into its corresponding products. This process is called fractionation by boiling points. Secondly, the feed stock going into distillation column is rarely ever a single thing like water. Most feeds are made of two or more substances mixed together. This is called binary feed stock.


The purpose for using the distillation unit is to extract the Isopropyl alcohol (also isopropanol, propan-2-ol, 2-propanol, rubbing alcohol or the abbreviation IPA) from water. Using 20 ounces of isopropyl alcohol to two gallons of water, this allows for a good mixing of the two feeds together. Using boiling points of isopropyl alcohol which has a boiling point of 80.37⁰ C or 176.666⁰ F. This is well below the boiling point of water, so it should allow only the isopropyl alcohol to be the end product.


1. Pour 20 ounces of isopropyl alcohol and two gallons water into feed tank.

2. Make sure valves V-8, V-5, and V-7 are open completely.

3. Start Feed Pump at a quarter its full speed.

4. Start the Bottom Pump at a slightly slower speed the then Feed Pump. (not by a lot)

5. Allow unit to run its system to where the preset temperatures are set at (preset temperatures and cooling water instructions are in the pre start area of this paper).

6. After about an hour to an hour and a half, the isopropyl alcohol should of started to collect in the Distillation Reservoir.

7. Once all the alcohol is collected in the Distillation Reservoir, turn valve V-3 to collect all the alcohol in a container to measure.

8. Start to cool down the system, by lowering the temperature sets to 35⁰F. This should be done for both Feed Heater, and Boiler.

9. Turn off the condensate water, and detach the hose.

10. After the system has cooled down, flip the Control to cut the power to the system.

11. Flip the breaker to cut power to everything.

12. Unplug the system and wrap it up nicely.


Items that will be needed:

1. Two garden hoses

2. Screwdriver

Pre-Start Procedure

1. Connect one garden hose to the Water In connection, and the other end to a faucet.

2. Use the screwdriver to tighten the hose so water does not leak around the faucet.

3. The second hose should be connected to the Water Out connection, and the other end to a drain.

4. Make sure that V-1 and V-9 are open.

5. Turn the water on, and look for leaks and ensure water is coming out at the faucet.

6. Unwrap the power cord, and plug it into the wall securely.

7. Flip the breaker on the machine.

8. Flip the Control switch and the instruments should all come on.

9. Preset the Feed Heater to about 135⁰ F, and the Boiler to 180⁰ F.

10. Start using the Procedure now.


| |
|Time |Boiler |Feed |Reflux |
|Set temperature |180 degrees F |130 degrees F |76 degrees F |
|Actual temperature at 2:36 pm |