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Simulation and optimization of batch distillation columns

Users of batch distillation columns (pharmaceuticals, specialty chemicals, essential oils, alcohols …) know the advantages of this process: great flexibility, a single column can separate complex mixtures, product identification, etc. They are also aware of the complex phenomena at play, where there is no 'rule of thumb' to achieve the optimal solution: reduced operating time, good product separation, minimum energy consumption, etc. BatchColumn was developed specifically to overcome these challenges.


 Rigorous dynamic model that is fully configurable (semi-batch, multi-fraction operation …).

Detailed representation of the heating system, hydrodynamics of the column, condenser / decanter and associated controls.

Optimization of the most complex separations (azeotropic, extractive, reactive …).

Reliable description of the production recipe (filling, total reflux, variable reflux …).

User-friendly interface, fast calculation and easily exploitable results.

Batch Distillation process simulation  - Distillation column Dedicated to the simulation of the behavior of a batch distillation process. Its flexibility and robustness for the most complex separations and its user friendliness makes it a unique tool used and prized by the largest chemicals and international engineering companies.

BatchColumn is a comprehensive simulation tool for design, analysis and optimization of batch distillation processes. The software comes with an easy-to-use graphical user interface, rigorous thermodynamics and model library for batch distillation, run-time interaction, custom modeling capabilities and rigorous numerical solvers.


Easy simulation environment to learn and use

Improve productivity

Flexibility to model the reality

Improved yields

Increased capacity

Reduced batch cycle times

etc. ...


A very detailed representation of the column and associated equipment

Equipment specification:  column, boiler, condensers…each piece of equipment is defined with the appropriate level of detail to meet your objectives.

The equipment can be chosen from a standard library or customized for the following:

  • vessel bottom: flat, hemispherical …
  • wall heat exchangers (half-shells, double envelop) with external circulation or immersed (coils)
  • mixing devices:  turbine, impeller …
  • wall materials:  vitrified steel …
  • thermal fluids

A software tool (Simulis Technologies) allows you to create and manage a list of the equipment used specifically by your company.

One of the best thermodynamics packages available on the market!

In distillation, the quality of the simulation depends, above all, on correct values for vapor-liquid equilibria (or liquid-liquid-vapor) and other physico-chemical properties of the fluids in the column.   BatchColumn models complex systems by taking advantage of the power of Simulis Thermodynamics:

  • an extensive set of thermodynamic models selected for their reliability and robustness (SRK, NRTL, UNIFAC …)
  • a property database of more than 2,300 pure components (AIChE’s DIPPR database)
  • mixture property and phase equilibrium calculations for many different thermodynamic models
  • Property estimation, able to use in-house proprietary databases, etc.

Instantaneous, equilibrium, reversible, and irreversible chemical reactions that can also take into account the kinetics (Arrhenius, Langmuir Hinshelwood…) allows BatchColumn to efficiently simulate reactive distillations.

>>Refer to Simulis Thermodynamics

  View the following documents:

>> Associated components database

>> Thermodynamic library


Test alternative synthesis routes and new production strategies

The distillation recipe is described as it would be in an industrial unit…by a series of operating steps.  At each step, a different operating mode can be defined:

  • start-up from a steady-state or filling of the column to reach a state of pre-defined trays
  • distillation with fixed or variable reflux (for example, to achieve a desired distillate component purity)
  • distillation with an infinite reflux or a fixed reflux (where the distillate is returned to the boiler)

At each step, it is possible to modify any of the operating parameters:

  • reflux policy: ratio, reflux phase
  • collection tank for the distillate
  • operating pressure (constant, as a function of time,…)
  • flow rate and temperature of the cooling fluid at the level of each condensing stage
  • feeds and product collection (open, closed, flow rates)
  • temperature, hot fluid flow rate for the boiler, parameters of the mixing system
  • stopping or starting the use of a decanter
  • which chemical reactions to use. Etc.

Steps are sequenced automatically through the detection of events described by the user.  These events can be based on operation duration, an amount of product, tray temperature, product purity in a collection tank, achieved reflux ratio, etc.

Easy-to-use interface, fast calculations and easily exploitable results

The intuitive graphical user interface makes it easy to enter the required information for any batch distillation, even the most complicated configurations. 

With its robust and efficient numerical methods, BatchColumn easily handles complex cases: highly non-ideal mixtures, processes with discontinuities.

During the simulation, BatchColumn graphically and numerically displays the evolution of basic parameters (composition profiles in the column, temperature, pressure, reflux ratio…).  At the end of the simulation, results are available in graphical format (with respect to time), tables, and exportable text.      


BatchColumn demonstrates to be very useful to:

optimize the required heating power , reflux ratio, and time required for each fraction or cut,
evaluate the VOC emissions,
reduce batch times and product waste,
quickly design procedures for separating new mixtures,
develop a control strategy for safety reasons,
minimize energy consumption,
study warm-up and shutdown procedures ,
reduce the number of preliminary pilot plant tests,
store the knowledge learned during a separation simply by archiving its model, ...

Application examples

   Optimization for the separation of the mixture: Isopropanol/Water/Ethanol/1-4 Dioxan/Ethylacetate/ Dimethylacetamide
   Water/Acetonitrile/ Toluene/Methanol
   Simulation and optimization of a distillation column with Acetone/Water/IPA
   Simulation and optimization of a distillation column with Water/Sodium hydroxide/Sodium chloride/IPA/Methanol
   Isopropanol regeneration
   Batch distillation of very pure Ethanol
   Design of a trichloroanisole distillation column
   Study of a reconcentration column


Graphical user interface

Choosing the unit system

entering the parameters

Running the simulation
Batch distillation - reviewing the simulation results
Reviewing the simulation results


Can I simulate several batch distillation columns with BatchColumn?

No. BatchColumn simulates one distillation column. If two columns are connected, you can simulate one then consider the composition of the connected stream and enter it as a feed or initial load in your other distillation column.


Does BatchColumn calculate flooding phenomena?

Yes. After you have selected your packing in the BatchColumn library, you indicate the column diameter and packing height. Then BatchColumn calculates hold-ups, pressure drops and flooding factor.


Can I ask the software to calculate the reflux ratio to optimize my distillation?

Yes. In this case you specify a purity to be maintained in the distillate. BatchColumn calculates the reflux policy to reach this specification.


Can I test the software before acquiring it?

Yes. Evaluation versions are fully functional and limited to 30 days of use (from the installation date). Downloadable version of BatchColumn is not available on the ProSim public web site so you will need to get in touch with the Sales Department who will organize this for you.

Contact us to test and evaluate the software

If you are a customer with a valid maintenance (MUTS services) agreement on another ProSim software, you can download BatchColumn from the secured ProSim Support web site and test it for 10 days.


Do you have any examples of industrial processes created with BatchColumn?

BatchColumn is used by many companies around the world. Here is an example that will show use the basics of the software.

To view our application examples, click here




What are the hardware requirements for BatchColumn?

Intel (or equivalent) based PC with:
•    2 GB RAM or more (4 GB recommended).
•    32-bit or 64-bit operating system such as Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 10, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012 (please consult for other systems).
•    At least 2 GB free disk space after install for optimal desktop performance.
•    Internet access to download the software (or CD drive).