Operation of a Binary Distillation Column - Level 2

Practical Simulator Training (CORYS IndissPlus simulator)

Who should attend?

  • This course provides a deeper understanding of operating distillation columns under all conditions, with a practical understanding of operations and control systems through a hands-on experience.
Public :
  • Console operators and production supervisors, shift supervisors involved in the operation of distillation column.

Level :Skilled

Prerequisite :
  • To fulfill at least one of the following criteria:
  • to have at least 1 year's proven experience in operation in a refinery, chemical or petrochemical unit,
  • or in the process of being moved to a position in operation to site with distillation columns.

Course Content


      • Behavior of flash mixtures: vaporized fraction, liquid-vapor separation and distribution of components according to their volatility.
      • Material balance of the column: concepts of cut point, separation quality and fractionation capability.
      • Heat balance: reflux and reboiling ratios and selectivity assessment.
      • Column pressure effects: pressure control and pressure profile along the column - Flow rates, concentration and temperature profiles.

      • The trainees will experience these causes and effects on a debutanizer simulator.
      • Effects of liquid-vapor flow rates, reflux and reboiling ratios on separation - Influence of liquid-vapor traffic on concentration and temperature profiles.
      • Position of inlet tray.
      • Fractionation capability and its relationship to energy consumption.

      • Impact of reflux and reboiler duty on material balance, and consequences on product specifications.
      • Impact of disturbances on column mass balance and product purities.
      • Definition of and how to identify the sensitive tray, and its influence on concentration profiles and products qualities.
      • Implementation of sensitive temperature control systems, advantages and limitations.

      • Survey of operating disturbances, their common origins and causes - Pressure control and its impact on column stability.
      • Analysis of disturbances caused by the feed, composition, temperature or flow rate.
      • Reboiler fouling, loss of condensing, and tray flooding - External and internal reflux control, and reboiling control by means of flowrates or duty.
      • Optimizing heat balance, influence of additional energy through feed or reboiler, and benefits of low pressure operation.
      • Implementation of control systems based on quality measurement.

      • Operation of the column at its limits: thermal equipment fouling, cooling water troubles and flooding - Failures of instruments and pumps.

      • Analysis of the behavior in the column at each step of start-up and shutdown.

Learning Objectives

  • Upon completion of the course, the participants will be able to:
  • achieve normal column operation with common control strategies,
  • be familiar with all parameters and profiles for the analysis of distillation columns,
  • understand the concepts necessary for optimizing the column on the basis of typical economics and constraints,
  • anticipate, recognize and react to disturbances in order to maintain safe operation and avoid negative economic consequences,
  • be thoroughly familiar with the main steps of start-up and shutdown procedures.

Ways & Means

  • Highly efficient learning process: use of a virtual column modeled on CORYS IndissPlus dynamic simulators.
  • Exercises are conducted in small groups of 2 to 3 participants, each group operating its own virtual column. Each exercise includes: a pre-discussion of the problem; definition of the target exercise objective; adequate time to run the virtual columns; open analysis of the results, shared with all participants; and practical conclusions related to the operation of the columns.
  • Attendees are invited to bring descriptions of their specific column control strategies for group discussion and analysis. Conclusions drawn from the exercises on the simulator can be transposed to other actual control schemes.
  • The content of the exercises can be customized to the needs and specific features of the client site.
  • Parts of or whole session adaptable to virtual classroom.
To French entities : IFP Training is referenced to DataDock ; you may contact your OPCO about potential funding.
Please contact our disabled persons referent to check the accessibility of this training program : referent.handicap@ifptraining.com