Stabilizer (process engineering)

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A stabilizer , also known as “Stabi” for short, is a large device used in process engineering to separate light components from a liquid mixture by distillation.


The stabilizer is a column that can be recognized from the outside by the typical taper in the head area. Similar to distillation columns , internals (trays) are present in the interior, which enable an intensive exchange of substances and energy within the column.


The mixture to be separated is fed into the column at a certain inlet temperature on a tray in the middle and meets the gas-liquid mixture that is already present. There is an exchange of energy, low-boiling components become gaseous and rise to higher floors, higher-boiling components remain liquid and run off to the next floor. In the column bottom, heat energy is supplied from the outside in order to maintain the process. That is where the temperature is greatest. The lightest gases that are drawn off via the top of the column are then cooled in order to be brought back into liquid form.


To simplify matters, one can say that the stabilizer is needed to remove the light components from the gasoline in the refinery and to reduce the outgassing at the gas station .