Continuous ion-exclusion chromatography system for acid sugar separation
A simulated moving bed ion exclusion chromatography system was constructed for the continuous separation of the components in an aqueous feed solution of sucrose and sulfuric acid. A system of 18 columns was arrayed about a central manifold system. Each column was packed with approximately 820 mL of porous cationic exchange resin. The system was designed for the flexibility to use fluid recycle loops and unrestricted placement of all inlet and outlet streams. Monitoring and control functions were performed using a Camile 2000 process controller integrated with a custom-built control computer. The aqueous feed solution, usually containing 10 wt.% sucrose and 10 wt.% sulfuric acid, was generally introduced into the system at a rate of roughly 2 L/hr. Approximately 4 L/hr of water was used to elute materials through the separation system. After optimization, the separation system allowed greater than 95% recovery of the feed sucrose in an exit stream containing 8.8 wt.% sucrose and 98% recovery of the feed, acid in a second exit stream containing 5 wt.% acid.