A Master of Science thesis in Chemical Engineering by Muhammad Tahir Ashraf entitled, "Analysis and Optimization of p-Xylene Production Process," submitted in June 2013. Thesis advisor is Dr. Rached Mohamed Chebbi and Co-advisor is Dr. Naif Abdelaziz Darwish. Available are both soft and hard copies of the thesis.
In this study a process is developed for selective production of p-xylene from toluene methylation using reactive distillation for p-xylene separation. Complete process is simulated in Aspen Plus® and reaction parameters are optimized to get 97.5% p-xylene selectivity using built-in optimization tool. Highly selective p-xylene production greatly reduces the separation cost and also reduces the production of less desired xylene isomers. After separation p-xylene product stream purity of 99.7% is achieved. Then a second law analysis is made on the process developed and lost work of different blocks is compared. Heat integration of the process is done using Aspen Energy Analyzer® resulting in 23% reduced total lost work generation.