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Reflux accumulators

A heat exchanger removes vapor from the upper parts of the fractionator, cools it to a liquid, and pumps it into an accumulator (reflux drum). Reflux pumps then draw liquid from the bottom of the accumulator and pump part of it back (reflux) where it is reintroduced at a lower point in the column. This refluxing process improves separation in the column by assuring sufficient downward liquid flow meeting the rising vapor.

Challenge

Accurate and reliable level monitoring and control is necessary for the reflux accumulator to serve as a distribution point for reflux and distillate, and prevent excessive reflux from returning back to the tower.