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Process simulation of sodium methoxide production from methanol and sodium hydroxide using reactive distillation coupled with pervaporation

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  • Natthiyar Aeamsuksai
  • Thirawat Mueansichai
  • Pongtorn Charoensuppanimit
  • Pattaraporn Kim-Lohsoontorn1
  • Farid Aiouache
  • Suttichai Assabumrungrat
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/11/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Engineering Journal
Issue number6
Number of pages15
Pages (from-to)63-77
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This research investigates the process simulation of sodium methoxide
(NaOCH3) synthesis from methanol (CH3OH) and sodium hydroxide (NaOH) under three synthesis schemes: schemes A, B, and C. Scheme A consisted of one equilibrium reactor and two distillation columns, scheme B one reactive distillation column and one distillation column, and scheme C one reactive distillation column and pervaporation membrane. The simulation parameters included CH3OH/NaOH feed flow ratio (1.2-1.6), number of stages (5-30), bottom flow rate (1400-1600 kg/h), and feed stage location (5, 10,
15, 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24). The simulation parameters were varied to determine the optimal NaOCH3 synthetic conditions under different schemes with 0.01 wt% water content, maximum 45 wt% NaOCH3, and lowest total energy consumption. The results showed that scheme C had the lowest total energy consumption (34.25 GJ/h) under the optimal synthetic condition of 1.4 for CH3OH/NaOH feed flow ratio, 25 for the number of stages, 1550 kg/h for the bottom flow rate, and the 24th feed stage location, with the NaOCH3 flow rate of 675 kg/h. Scheme C thus holds promising potential as an energy efficient alternative for synthesis of NaOCH3. The novelty of this research lies in the use of pervaporation membrane in place of distillation column to separate CH3OH from water and to lower energy consumption and capital cost.