Journal of Flow Chemistry

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 43–57 | Cite as

A new reactor concept for the combined production of ammonia and methyl ethyl ketone

  • Roozbeh Ghani
  • Davood IranshahiEmail author
Full Paper


In this study, simultaneous production of ammonia and methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) in a multi tubular thermally coupled reactor is presented. Based on this new configuration, the released heat from the ammonia synthesis reaction as an extremely exothermic reaction in the inner tube is employed to supply the required heat for the endothermic 2-butanol dehydrogenation reaction in the outer tube. MEK and hydrogen are produced by the dehydrogenation reaction of 2-butanol and the produced hydrogen is used to supply 30.72% of the required hydrogen for the ammonia synthesis. Furthermore, in spite of the conventional ammonia synthesis and 2-butanol dehydrogenation plants, interstage coolers and furnace are not required for the proposed configuration. Therefore, operational costs, energy consumption and furnace emissions like CO, CO2 and NOx are significantly decreased. It should be also stressed that the multi-objective optimization is employed to enhance the performance of the reactor with the aid of maximizing the summation of the production rate and yield for each side of the reactor. Besides, the effect of the main process parameters variation on the reactor performance has been studied.


Energy consumption minimization Ammonia synthesis process Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) production 2-butanol dehydrogenation Thermally coupled reactor Multi-objective optimization 



Activity of component i

\( {A}_c^{Exo} \)

Cross-section area of inner tube, m2

\( {A}_c^{Endo} \)

Cross-section area of outer tube, m2


Inside area of inner tube, m2


Outside area of inner tube, m2

\( {C}_{P_{N_2}} \),\( {C}_{P_{H_2}} \),\( {C}_{P_{NH_3}} \)

Specific heat capacity of nitrogen, hydrogen and ammonia, kJ kmol−1 K−1

\( {C}_{P_j}^0 \)

Heat capacity of component j in endothermic side, J kmol−1 K−1


Specific heat of the gas at constant pressure, J mol−1

\( {C}_{P_{mix}}^{Endo} \)

Specific heat of gas mixture in endothermic side, kJ kmol−1 K−1

\( {C}_{P_{mix}}^{Exo} \)

Specific heat of gas mixture in exothermic side, kJ kmol−1 K−1


Rate constant


Particle diameter, m


Tube outside diameter, m


Tube inside diameter, m


Fugacity of component i, atm


Molar flow rate of component i in exothermic side, kmol hr.−1


Molar flow rate of component j in endothermic side, kmol hr.−1


Fugacity coefficient of component i


Heat transfer coefficient between fluid phase and reactor wall, W m−2 K−1


Heat of reaction in exothermic side, kJ kmol−1


Heat of reaction in endothermic side, kJ kmol−1


Equilibrium constant of reaction


Adsorption equilibrium constant for 2-butanol


Chemical equilibrium constant


Rate constant


Thermal conductivity of reactor wall, W m−1 K−1


Fluid thermal conductivity, W m−1 K−1


Reactor length, m


Number of components in endothermic side


Mass flow rate of the feed in exothermic side, kg hr.−1


Mass flow rate of the feed in endothermic side, kg hr.−1


Mean molecular weight in the flow in exothermic side, kg kmol−1


Mean molecular weight in the flow in endothermic side, kg kmol−1


Number of components in exothermic side


Total pressure, atm

\( {P}_{A_i} \)

Partial pressure of 2-butanol at interface, atm

\( {P}_{K_i} \)

Partial pressure of MEK at interface, atm

\( {P}_{H_i} \)

Partial pressure of hydrogen at interface, atm


2-butanol dehydrogenation reaction rate, lbmol ft.−2 h−1

\( {R}_{NH_3} \)

Ammonia synthesis reaction rate, kmol m−3 h−1


Gas constant, J mol−1 K−1


Inside tube radius, m


Temperature of exothermic reaction side, K


Temperature of endothermic reaction side, K


Axial velocity in exothermic side, m s−1


Axial velocity in endothermic side, m s−1


Velocity of gas phase, m s−1


Overall heat transfer coefficient, W m−2 K−1


Conversion of nitrogen


Mole fraction of component i


Axial reactor coordinate, m


Exo, Endo

Exothermic and endothermic reaction sides



Numerator for component in exothermic side


Numerator for component in endothermic side

Greek letters


Fluid viscosity, pa sec


Density, kg m−3




Effectiveness factor


Stoichiometric coefficient of component i in exothermic side


Stoichiometric coefficient of component j in endothermic side



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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringAmirkabir University of Technology (Tehran Polytechnic)TehranIran

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