Low-quality natural gas sulfur removal/recovery

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A significant fraction of U.S. natural gas reserves are subquality due to the presence of acid gases and nitrogen; 13% of existing reserves (19 trillion cubic feed) may be contaminated with hydrogen sulfide. For natural gas to be useful as fuel and feedstock, this hydrogen sulfide has to be removed to the pipeline specification of 4 ppm. The technology used to achieve these specifications has been amine, or similar chemical or physical solvent, absorption. Although mature and widely used in the gas industry, absorption processes are capital and energy-intensive and require constant supervision for proper operation. This makes these processes ... continued below

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107 pages

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Amo, K.; Baker, R.W.; Helm, V.D.; Hofmann, T.; Lokhandwala, K.A.; Pinnau, I. et al. January 29, 1998.

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A significant fraction of U.S. natural gas reserves are subquality due to the presence of acid gases and nitrogen; 13% of existing reserves (19 trillion cubic feed) may be contaminated with hydrogen sulfide. For natural gas to be useful as fuel and feedstock, this hydrogen sulfide has to be removed to the pipeline specification of 4 ppm. The technology used to achieve these specifications has been amine, or similar chemical or physical solvent, absorption. Although mature and widely used in the gas industry, absorption processes are capital and energy-intensive and require constant supervision for proper operation. This makes these processes unsuitable for treating gas at low throughput, in remote locations, or with a high concentration of acid gases. The U.S. Department of Energy, recognizes that exploitation of smaller, more sub-quality resources will be necessary to meet demand as the large gas fields in the U.S. are depleted. In response to this need, Membrane Technology and Research, Inc. (MTR) has developed membranes and a membrane process for removing hydrogen sulfide from natural gas. During this project, high-performance polymeric thin-film composite membranes were brought from the research stage to field testing. The membranes have hydrogen sulfide/methane selectivities in the range 35 to 60, depending on the feed conditions, and have been scaled up to commercial-scale production. A large number of spiral-wound modules were manufactured, tested and optimized during this project, which culminated in a field test at a Shell facility in East Texas. The short field test showed that membrane module performance on an actual natural gas stream was close to that observed in the laboratory tests with cleaner streams. An extensive technical and economic analysis was performed to determine the best applications for the membrane process. Two areas were identified: the low-flow-rate, high-hydrogen-sulfide-content region and the high-flow-rate, high-hydrogen-sulfide-content region. In both regions the MTR membrane process will be combined with another process to provide the necessary hydrogen sulfide removal from the natural gas. In the first region the membrane process will be combined with the SulfaTreat fixed-bed absorption process, and in the second region the membrane process will be combined with a conventional absorption process. Economic analyses indicate that these hybrid processes provide 20-40% cost savings over stand-alone absorption technologies.

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107 pages

Notes

OSTI as DE00775213

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  • Other Information: PBD: 29 Jan 1998

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  • Report No.: DE--AC21-92MC28133-01
  • Grant Number: AC21-92MC28133
  • DOI: 10.2172/775213 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 775213
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc717393

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • January 29, 1998

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 29, 2015, 5:31 a.m.

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  • April 15, 2016, 2:10 p.m.

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Amo, K.; Baker, R.W.; Helm, V.D.; Hofmann, T.; Lokhandwala, K.A.; Pinnau, I. et al. Low-quality natural gas sulfur removal/recovery, report, January 29, 1998; Morgantown, West Virginia. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc717393/: accessed December 13, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.