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Modular Process Systems & Pilot Plants

Steam Stripping Systems

Steam stripping systemsDo you have waste water streams that you need to remove Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) from? Does your process have delicate compounds or biological agents that are sensitive to high temperatures? Are you searching for an alternative to cryogenic removal of contaminants? Do you need to reduce foaming or meet regulation standards (such as EPA PEG (the clean air act) or National Emissions Standards (NESHAP) including Max achievable control technology (MACT), Hazardous organics (HON) or Miscellaneous Organic Chemicals (MON)?

Steam stripping may be the best technique to achieve your desired separation. Steam stripping, or steam distillation, is an effective method of separation that is often appropriate for: VOC removal from air or gas streams; purifying fouled wastewater; separating insoluble contaminants; or separating petrochemicals, fatty acids, soaps, and other organic compounds.

Our distillation experts will take turnkey responsibility for your system, simulating your steam distillation process to find vapor-liquid equilibrium’s (VLE) or liquid-liquid equilibrium (LLE) and optimal operating conditions. A finalized design that meets your separation and budget goals is agreed upon, after which EPIC uses proven methods to fabricate a distillation module for your facility. Contact an EPIC engineer today to discuss your custom steam distillation column: (314)845–0077.

Proven Project Examples: Steam Stripping

Bio-polymer Separation Achieved with Industrial Steam Distillation System

Pilot plant with steam distillation columnSteam is injected into the client’s process to coagulate a bio-polymer in solvent. After the biopolymer is coagulated, a steam stripping process is used to distill the solvent off and leave the bio-polymer behind.

Steam was the optimum technology for this particular process because the steam injected into the bio-polymer/solvent solution acts as a barrier liquid to prevent the rubbery compound from trapping the solvent and hardening into a rubber plug. This process is currently running as a successful demonstration plant at Iowa State University, helping develop new biopolymer technologies.

Key Features: Steam injection, steam distillation, demonstration plant

Steam Stripping for 90% CO2 Removal

steam distillation towerA two-step absorption and steam stripping process removes CO2 from flue gas in a distillation skid for Akermin, Inc. A re-boiler generates steam to the second column of the system, where a bio-based enzyme is separated from the CO2 to assist absorption in the first step of the process. The system was recently expanded to increase per-hour capacity. Read full steam distillation case study

Key Features:  Modular distillation system, packed columns, absorption column, steam stripping column, reboiler, DeltaV DCS, installed at power plant facility

Client Testimonial

“We were impressed with the professionalism and dedication of EPIC Systems’ entire organization, from the shop floor to their management team. Throughout the entire project, their team communicated with clarity and transparency. 

This was especially important to us as this distillation system was a first-of-its-kind for Akermin. Project scope changes were handled quickly and equitably.  I would return to EPIC for future projects and I recommend their project management expertise to other organizations requiring a turnkey contractor for design, fabrication, and commissioning.” – Bob Martinelli, Director, Engineering Operations at Akermin, Inc. 

Advantages to Steam Stripping

EPIC-distillation-stepsSteam stripping can be an extremely efficient process. Generally speaking a pound of steam will vaporize 4-5 pounds of organics because steam has a latent heat of vaporization of nearly 1000 BTU/lb vs. 200 BTU/lb more typical of organics.

An efficient way to remove contaminants and control the amount of waste water leaving your facility is to use wastewater to generate steam to strip itself. Vaporizing waste-water as steam (using a re-boiler) for a stripping column to remove VOCs and other contaminants from the same effluent stream controls the amount of waste stream generated and reduces shipping costs.

If you are in a facility which has to comply with GMP or FDA requirements, a reboiler doesn’t contain the additives and minor contaminants a regular boiler would contain. Steam stripping from the process waste stream offers a cleaner solution than live steam from traditional boilers, and lower cost than a clean steam generation system.

Steps for Acquiring Your Turnkey Steam Distillation System:

  1. Know your own process technology – EPIC does not provide specific process technologies. You should know what you are separating and a basic process for achieving that separation. EPIC will help you scale your process into a working pilot plant or full-scale production system.
  2. Contact EPIC or call us at (314) 845- 0077 to discuss your application. A thorough discussion of your distillation goals, budget and technology will help both parties determine if this project is a technical and commercial fit. Our engineers will meld your process technology with our proven engineering methods and turnkey responsibility approach to ensure success.
  3. Front-end engineering and system design are completed with EPIC as your project partners. EPIC’s distillation scale-up specialists simulate (using Aspen Plus or Aspen HYSYS) your process parameters at the increased scale, complete Process Flow Diagrams (PFD’s), Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams (P&ID’s), material balances, equipment lists and any other required design documentation to present you with a complete bid package.
  4. Fabrication and controls engineering will begin on your custom steam distillation system. Our state-of-the-art fabrication plant allows for remote system fabrication that does not interfere with any on-site civil modifications take place at your facility. Our open door policy means you are welcome to come to EPIC to see your distillation module take shape at any point during the process.
  5. Testing, shipping and installation. Your completed steam distillation column will be fully tested before shipment, and arrives on-site ready for process hookups. Installation typically takes less than a week for modular distillation systems, and on-site commissioning will begin immediately.
  6. Full system start-up is complete, and training is provided for system operators. EPIC will not leave until all punch-list items are checked off and you feel comfortable running and troubleshooting the system.

Get your custom designed steam distillation system today, call (314) 845 – 0077

How Industrial Steam Distillation Works:

Steam distillation, or steam stripping, is usually a continuous distillation technique to separate organic compounds from water. VOCs can be removed from air, gas or liquids using steam stripping, which takes advantage of lower boiling points or limited solubility of the compounds in water.

Steam stripping generally involves the following steps:

  1. steam stripping processThe VOC contaminated process is fed to the top of the stripping column.
  2. Live (or reboiled) steam is fed to the bottom of the stripping column.
  3. As the steam rises it evaporates volatile organics and a portion of it becomes condensed.
  4. The overhead vapor leaving the top of the stripping column is condensed.
  5. The condensed Overheads are often decanted to separate into an organic product and a water layer saturated with organics.
  6. If VOCs are soluble in water, rectification stages and refluxing may be added to the column to further remove water from the process.
  7. The water layer can be recycled to the feed vessel or is sometimes refluxed back to the column to increase the efficiency and/or degree of separation.
  8. The bottoms stream from the stripping column, with VOCs removed to design specifications can be recycled as process water or discharged.

Talk to a distillation expert today or read more about custom distillation systems.

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