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This project aimed at providing a distillation shortcut algorithm for non-ideal mixtures as a CAPE-OPEN compliant unit operation in order to simplify the assessment of distillation sequences. The shortcut algorithms employed simplify the determination of feasibility and minimum energy demand of mixtures exhibiting non-ideal behavior and were developed at the Chair for Process Systems Engineering at Aachen University. The project was carried out as a collaboration of AixCAPE together with Atofina, BASF, and Degussa in order to assess the status of the shortcut algorithms developed at the university against industrially relevant problems and to provide the algorithms in a form that allows their use as part of the daily work of an engineer.

A benefit of the CAPE-OPEN integration for the user is that manual data transfer is minimized by integrating the shortcut algorithms into the flowsheet of a CAPE-OPEN compliant simulator. The simulator automatically iterates the mass balances including recycles as they usually occur in the distillation of mixtures exhibiting azeotropic behavior. The definition of each separation step in a sequence is supported by the shortcut toolbox algorithms by providing a list of azeotropes occurring in the mixture and determining the feasibility of the separation task.