Low Cost Chemical Feedstocks Using an Improved and Energy Efficient Natural Gas Liquid (NGL) Removal Process, Final Technical Report

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The overall objective of this project is to develop a new low-cost and energy efficient Natural Gas Liquid (NGL) recovery process - through a combination of theoretical, bench-scale and pilot-scale testing - so that it could be offered to the natural gas industry for commercialization. The new process, known as the IROA process, is based on U.S. patent No. 6,553,784, which if commercialized, has the potential of achieving substantial energy savings compared to currently used cryogenic technology. When successfully developed, this technology will benefit the petrochemical industry, which uses NGL as feedstocks, and will also benefit other chemical industries that ... continued below

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Meyer, Howard, S. & Lu, Yingzhong August 10, 2012.

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The overall objective of this project is to develop a new low-cost and energy efficient Natural Gas Liquid (NGL) recovery process - through a combination of theoretical, bench-scale and pilot-scale testing - so that it could be offered to the natural gas industry for commercialization. The new process, known as the IROA process, is based on U.S. patent No. 6,553,784, which if commercialized, has the potential of achieving substantial energy savings compared to currently used cryogenic technology. When successfully developed, this technology will benefit the petrochemical industry, which uses NGL as feedstocks, and will also benefit other chemical industries that utilize gas-liquid separation and distillation under similar operating conditions. Specific goals and objectives of the overall program include: (i) collecting relevant physical property and Vapor Liquid Equilibrium (VLE) data for the design and evaluation of the new technology, (ii) solving critical R&D issues including the identification of suitable dehydration and NGL absorbing solvents, inhibiting corrosion, and specifying proper packing structure and materials, (iii) designing, construction and operation of bench and pilot-scale units to verify design performance, (iv) computer simulation of the process using commercial software simulation platforms such as Aspen-Plus and HYSYS, and (v) preparation of a commercialization plan and identification of industrial partners that are interested in utilizing the new technology. NGL is a collective term for C2+ hydrocarbons present in the natural gas. Historically, the commercial value of the separated NGL components has been greater than the thermal value of these liquids in the gas. The revenue derived from extracting NGLs is crucial to ensuring the overall profitability of the domestic natural gas production industry and therefore of ensuring a secure and reliable supply in the 48 contiguous states. However, rising natural gas prices have dramatically reduced the economic incentive to extract NGLs from domestically produced natural gas. Successful gas processors will be those who adopt technologies that are less energy intensive, have lower capital and operating costs and offer the flexibility to tailor the plant performance to maximize product revenue as market conditions change, while maintaining overall system efficiency. Presently, cryogenic turbo-expander technology is the dominant NGL recovery process and it is used throughout the world. This process is known to be highly energy intensive, as substantial energy is required to recompress the processed gas back to pipeline pressure. The purpose of this project is to develop a new NGL separation process that is flexible in terms of ethane rejection and can reduce energy consumption by 20-30% from current levels, particularly for ethane recoveries of less than 70%. The new process integrates the dehydration of the raw natural gas stream and the removal of NGLs in such a way that heat recovery is maximized and pressure losses are minimized so that high-value equipment such as the compressor, turbo-expander, and a separate dehydration unit are not required. GTI completed a techno-economic evaluation of the new process based on an Aspen-HYSYS simulation model. The evaluation incorporated purchased equipment cost estimates obtained from equipment suppliers and two different commercial software packages; namely, Aspen-Icarus and Preliminary Design and Quoting Service (PDQ$). For a 100 MMscfd gas processing plant, the annualized capital cost for the new technology was found to be about 10% lower than that of conventional technology for C2 recovery above 70% and about 40% lower than that of conventional technology for C2 recovery below 50%. It was also found that at around 40-50% C2 recovery (which is economically justifiable at the current natural gas prices), the energy cost to recover NGL using the new technology is about 50% of that of conventional cryogenic technology.

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  • Report No.: DOE-GO13150
  • Grant Number: FC36-03GO13150
  • DOI: 10.2172/1048105 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1048105
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc831395

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  • August 10, 2012

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 9:45 a.m.

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  • July 22, 2016, 4:23 p.m.

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Meyer, Howard, S. & Lu, Yingzhong. Low Cost Chemical Feedstocks Using an Improved and Energy Efficient Natural Gas Liquid (NGL) Removal Process, Final Technical Report, report, August 10, 2012; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc831395/: accessed December 10, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.