Distillation Technology

Reboiler for Distillation Plants

Falling Film Evaporators and Forced Circulation Reboilers according to product characteristics and plant concepts.


A = Feed reboiler, B = Bottom Product, D = Steam inlet; 1 = Falling film reboiler, 2 = Heating Tubes, 3 = Baffles, 4 = Column, 5 = Platform, 6 = Trays, 7 = Downcomer, 8 = Reboiler-to-column duct, 9 = Manhole

GEA uses different types of reboilers for the energy input to the distillation columns. The choice of the suitable type depends on surrounding process and product parameters.

The falling film evaporator as reboiler supports an easy adjustment and rapid start-up and shut-down of the column due to its limited liquid holding capacity. It is also suited to operation with very small temperature differences.

Falling film reboilers are therefore used for temperature-sensitive products and are particularly suited to energy saving, multiple-effect distillation processes.

Forced circulation reboilers are used for reboiler duties where viscose and/or heavily contaminated media are to be expected in the bottom product.

High liquid velocities in the tubes and the resulting shearing forces ensure that this type of heat exchanger is operated within its optimum performance range, while keeping fouling to a minimum. Pump selection influences performance and efficiency. Forced circulation reboilers can be designed for either horizontal or vertical installation.

The thermo-syphon reboiler is most attractive regarding the investment cost and operational costs, but needs very stable process conditions and allowable high temperature differences. Because of its requirements on the process it is limited in its applications. In modern energy saving concepts with multiple-effect distillation units, the thermo-syphon usually is seldom used.

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