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Proceedings of the Twenty-first (2011) International Offshore and Polar Engineering Conference Maui, Hawaii, USA, June 19-24,

2011 Copyright 2011 by the International Society of Offshore and Polar Engineers (ISOPE) ISBN 978-1-880653-96-8 (Set); ISSN 1098-6189 (Set); www.isope.org

Development of Compact Heat Exchanger for LNG FPSO


Seungwhan Baek, Gyuwan Hwang, Jinhyuck Kim, Sangkwon Jeong Cryogenic Engineering Laboratory, Department of Mech. Eng. KAIST Daejeon, Korea Reactor & Safety Evaulation Department, KINS Daejeon, Korea

ABSTRACT
LNG-FPSO (Liquefied Natural Gas - Floating Production Storage and Offloading) is a promising energy-efficient method compared to onshore NG (Natural Gas) treatment facility when the gas well is located in a distant offshore ocean. The heat exchanger for LNG-FPSO should be more compact than the ones in onshore liquefaction plant due to its limited platform area. PCHE (Printed Circuit Heat Exchanger) is a newly developed heat exchanger with favorable characteristic of compactness. In this paper, we fabricated PCHE, and applied to MR-JT (Mixed Refrigerant Joule Thomson) cycle to simulate SMR (Single Mixed Refrigerant) process. Tube heat exchangers are also fabricated to compare performance of cooling system. The experimental results of the MR-JT cooling system are discussed in this paper.

production method has a great advantage in that it does not need to transfer natural gas from offshore place to onshore plant to liquefy it. FPSO can also transport LNG to another ship, which is cost effective. (Fig. 1) Because many types of equipment must be loaded on the small platform ship in FPSO, there are some technical constraints for FPSO as follows (Michael Barclay, 2005). Lightness of the ship Compactness Safety

One of the large and heavy equipments in LNG plant is a heat exchanger. Compact heat exchangers shall decrease the whole size or weight of liquefaction facility of FPSO. PCHE (Printed Circuit Heat Exchanger) is a compact heat exchanger constructed by chemical etching method and diffusion bonding. It is possible to construct a PCHE with a flow channel diameter that is much smaller than that of a commercial plate heat exchanger by employing these techniques.(Fig. 2) PCHE has an advantage of compactness, but it also has a disadvantage in performance due to axial conduction, especially in cryogenic application (Maranzana, Perry et al., 2004). For LNG FPSO as one of the cryogenic application of PCHE, it is important to observe the characteristics of PCHE in a similar environment with LNG FPSO. MIXED REFRIGERANT & PCHE FOR LNG FPSO Researchers have been studying about liquefaction process for LNG FPSO. Mixed refrigerant process (Fig. 3) and nitrogen expansion process (Fig. 4) are two big categories of candidates (Michael Barclay, 2005). Both processes have advantage and disadvantage in respect of simplicity, and safety. However, mixed refrigerant process in general shows better efficiency than nitrogen expansion cycle as indicated in Table 1. Regarding both onshore and offshore liquefaction processes, mixed refrigerant process is becoming an important technology and the usefulness MR (Mixed Refrigerant) has drawn great attention recently. To apply PCHE to MR process, it is important to know flow characteristic of mixed refrigerant at micro-channel, but they are not

KEY WORDS: LNG; FPSO; PCHE; Axial conduction; MR-JT INTRODUCTION


LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) implies the liquid state of natural gas, which is liquefied at temperature around -161 (112 K) (Waldmann, 2008). The composition of NG (Natural Gas) is mostly methane. The liquid density at the normal boiling point of methane is approximately 610 times greater than that of the gas at ambient temperature and pressure. Consequently, a given volume of liquid contains over 600 times the heating value as the same volume of ambient gas. This density increase at ambient pressure makes it attractive to liquefy, transport, and store natural gas in large quantities (Kidnay and Parrish, 2006). South Koreas LNG demand is currently increasing like the worlds LNG demand. LNG was the source of 25% of world energy consumption at 2005, but this demand will be increased up to 50% in next ten years (Allison Ball, 2003). It is important to develop more energy efficient LNG plant for securing future energy demand. The offshore gas plant development is revaluated as one of the promising energy industries, because 20% of natural gas wells are under the sea. FPSO (Floating Production Storage & Offloading) refines, liquefies and stores natural gas from the sea. This LNG

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