A hydrogenation system converts acetone and hydrogen to isopropyl alcohol (IPA). The hydrogenation reactor operates in the mixed phase, trickle bed flow regime. Acetone and hydrogen feedstocks enter the reactor and react on a supported nickel catalyst. The effluent from hydrogenation flows to downstream processing for purification of the IPA product.
The feed to purification is a stream containing primarily isopropyl alcohol and water at a composition close to their low boiling azeotrope. The product separation is accomplished using simple distillation, with fewer columns than other technologies. The product is a commercial grade IPA product that conforms to the ASTM D-770 specification. There is also a small vent stream and a small wet purge leaving the purification system.