Aspen Plus Modelling for PTD

Process modelling tools such as Aspen Plus are indispensable in developing new unit operations like PTD and predicting how they will perform in the context of a chemical plant.


In 2016 Hayley Hayden Smestad wrote her Chemical Engineering Master’s thesis at Worcester Polytechnic Institute on the topic of applying PTD to ethanol/water separation.

She concluded “Aspen Plus V8.8 was used for the determination of parameters to use with the eNRTL­RK property method to accurately model the mixed solvent electrolyte system of ethanol, water and lithium bromide. These parameters can be implemented for a variety of applications especially the pass­through distillation application considered here. The accurate modeling of the ternary system was critical to the development of a foundation for the modeling of pass­through distillation with the specific application of separating bioethanol from a fermentation broth using a combination of evaporation, absorption, stripping and condensing to provide a low pressure, low temperature separation that does not damage temperature sensitive components present in a fermentation broth while at the same time minimizing energy required to achieve the separation. The simulation developed in Aspen Plus V8.8 to model this system will prove useful for future studies, as a teaching tool for how the process works, as well as a platform to test out variations in the system quickly with little associated risk”

There are presently efforts underway at two Universities to extend PTD Aspen modelling.


Institution: McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario Canada

Title: Aspen Plus Modelling of Generation 1 and 2 Biofuel Plants Equipped with Pass-through Distillation

The Team: Danilo Salas Ramirez, Zicong Zou, ViVek Patel, and Salim Kairulla.

Supervisor: Professor Amin Rajabzadeh

Manchester U logo

Institution: The University of Manchester, Manchester UK

Title: Modelling of the In Situ Separation of Ethanol from a Fermentation Broth Using Pass-Through Distillation

Student: Scott Bromley

Supervisor: Prof. Anton Kiss