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SKN 3113

2010/2011

HYDROCARBON GAS DEHYDRATION


Why dehydration (chap. 3) ? (Video Clip : Fire from ice)
Gas hydrate prevention methods
Hydration prevention (Chap 3)
Dehydration
Refrigeration (low temperature separation, e.g.
Joule-Thomson Expansion) Chap 4
Absorption (Liquid Desiccant Dehydration)
Adsorption (Solid Desiccant Dehydration)

ABSORPTION DEHYDRATION
Water removal process from gas mixture stream by
contacting a gas stream with a liquid desiccant / absorbing
agent (e.g. glycol solution) which has a greater affinity for
water than gas
Contacting takes place at an elevated pressure (usually that
of gas pressure to be used/sold ~ 60-70 bar))
After contacting gas, water rich liquid desiccant /
absorbing agent is regenerated by heating (usually at
atmospheric temp.)
liquid desiccant / absorbing agent is then cooled and recirculated back to the contactor

Glycol dehydration is the most commonly applied method as it can lower the
dew point temperature by about 56 oC adequate to meet most requirement
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SKN 3113

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BASIC FLOW DIAGRAM OF ABSORPTION


DEHYDRATION

Gas Processing and Separation

Contactor Tower

Glycol Cooler

Reboiler

Dry Gas
Outlet

Inlet Scrubber

Surge Tank

Wet Gas Inlet


High Pressure Filter

Condensate Outlet

Excess Separated
Gas Outlet

Three Phase Gas, Glycol &


Condensate Separator
Condensate Outlet

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Wet Glycol from Absorber (High Pressure)


Wet Glycol to Reboiler (Low Pressure)
Dry Glycol from Reboiler (Low Pressure)
Dry Glycol to Absorber (High Pressure)

SKN 3113

2010/2011

LIQUID DESICCANT / ABSORBENT


(refer to summary of advs & disadvs of absorption liquids)

High affinity for water (very much fall in love with water !!!)
Low cost
Non corrosiveness
Stability (non-reactive) towards gas components
Stability during regeneration (no/little thermal decomposition)
Ease of regeneration ( easily separated from water)
Low or moderate viscosity (less prone to foaming)
Low vapour pressure at contact temperature (exist in liquid
form)
Low solubility for natural gases and hydrocarbon liquids (hate
these H/C components !!!!)
Low Foaming or emulsifying tendencies (no mushy solution
interrupt flow dynamics in absorber / gas line)
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COMPARISON OF LIQUID DESICCANTS

Gas Processing and Separation

GLYCOL DEHYDRATION PERFORMANCE


Temperature of inlet gas
..amount of water present in inlet gas
Temperature of inlet glycol
Inlet glycol should be a few degree higher than inlet gas
Lower temp than gas will cause foaming due to over
cooling & H/C condensation
Higher temp might increase glycol loss
Inlet gas pressure
.efficiency of absorption
High contact / tower pressure
Lower pressure drop between inlet and outlet
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Lean glycol concentration


.outlet water concentration in processed gas
.higher glycol purity gives greater dew point
depression
Glycol concentration (EG, DEG or TEG ???)
.efficiency of absorption
see comparison of liquid desiccants
Number of trays in the absorber
.efficiency of absorption

REGENERATION OF GLYCOL

Reboiler temperature
Glycol loss & thermal decomposition
EG, DEG less than 150-160 oC
Lean glycol concentration
~ 204 oC at atmospheric pressure for 98.4-98.7 w/w % TEG

Reboiler pressure
.amount of water in lean glycol (influence partial pressure of
water vapor), e.g. ~ 204 oC at atmospheric pressure for 98.4-98.7
w/w % TEG
Purity of lean glycol can be increased by
- lowering reboiler pressure (lower reboiler temp.)
- using stripping gas (dry, low pressure gas, insoluble with water &
thermally stable such as methane)
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- azeotropic agent such as liquid iso-octane

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SKN 3113

2010/2011

OPERATING PROBLEMS

Glycol loss
Foaming
H/C (aromatic) contamination

Degradation (contribute to foaming & hence glycol loss)


thermal decomposition
accelerated by present sulphur

Corrosion
glycol oxidation
accelerated by present sulphur
salt contamination

Erosion
Sludge
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COMBATING HYDRATE FORMATION


GLYCOL INHIBITION vs GLYCOL DEHYDRATION

Glycol inhibition
Injecting glycol solution in gas line to depress hydrate point
Recover lean glycol solution through separation of water from waterrich glycol in regeneration system
Lean glycol solution concentration ~ 90-95 w/w %
Concentration of glycol to be injected depends on oC depression of
hydrate point

Glycol dehydration
Removal of water from gas stream by contacting water-rich gas stream
with absorbent (glycol solution) in an absorber
High pressure
Recover lean glycol solution through separation of water from waterrich glycol in regeneration system
Lean glycol solution concentration > 98.5 w/w %
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SKN 3113

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INJECTION

ABSORPTION

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ADSORPTION DEHYDRATION
Water removal process from gas mixture stream
by contacting a gas stream with a solid desiccant /
adsorbing agent
Two main sections
Adsorption
Regeneration
Heating cycle
Cooling cycle

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ADSORPTION SYSTEM

GPP 5/6 - Dehydration

Gas Processing and Separation

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Gas Processing and Separation

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ADSORPTION
TOWER

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ADSORPTION SECTION
Wet gas contact dry solid desiccant (in horizontal or
vertical (most common) bed) and consequently water
vapor held on its surface
gas should enter from top of the column and flows
downward at above its hydrate point
Temperatures < 50 oC & high pressure (e.g. 60-70 bar), no effective pressure limitation
Batch / semi-batch operation for 8 hour cycle (most
common) can be 6, 12 & 24 hrs
Low dew point dehydrated gas (e.g. 34 oC)
Desiccant life ~ 1-3 yrs (in absence of poisoning)
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REGENERATION SECTION
(Heating Cycle)
Water is removed from water rich solid desiccant by
heating at bed temperatures between 175-230 oC
Heat requirement = heat of desorption of water (i.e. latent
heat of water) + sensible heat to bring water vapor
Heating medium can be carrier hot gas (~ 200 260oC)
such portion of main gas stream(5-15%), or superheated
steam, usually counter-current to main flow in vertical
tower
Water driven off at 116-120 oC

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SKN 3113

2010/2011

REGENERATION SECTION
(Cooling Cycle)
Once desired bed temperature is achieved, the bed will be
cooled (to ~ 50-55 oC) by flowing unheated/cool gas
through the bed
Cooling less than 50-55 oC will result in water presaturation of the bed (from wet gas stream) & hence
reduction next cycle adsorption efficiency
Water vapor leaving the bed will be condensed and
separated from the regenerated/ cool gas
For normal 8 hour regeneration cycle
6 hours for heating
2 hours for cooling
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ADSORPTION PROCESS
Equilibrium zone desiccant
is saturated with water (last
zone to form)
MTZ zone concentration
gradient exists and when the
leading MTZ reaches the end
of the bed, breakthrough
occurs
Active zone desiccant has
its full capacity of water
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Mass Transfer Zone (MTZ)


Single zone movement through the bed with time

At time (1) it is forming


At time (3) it is fully formed
At time (6) the front of the zone at the bed outlet (breakthrough)
Between time (3) & (6) velocity is almost constant

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ADSORPTION DEHYDRATION
& HYDROCARBON ADSORPTION

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All adsorbable components are


adsorbed at different rates with its
own adsorption zones appearing after
some interval period representing
length of adsorption tower of each
component
Behind the zone all particular
component entering adsorbed on the
bed
Ahead of the zone concentration of
that particular component is zero
These zones form and move down
through the desiccant bed and would
be displaced almost entirely by the
components in the zone following it
down the bed if the cycle is continued
Water would be the last zone formed

Wet gas

Dry gas

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DESIGN OF SOLID DESICCANT ADSORBER


Cycle time
8 hr cycle, 12 hr ????
Allowable gas flow rate
down flow vs upflow
Desiccant capacity
effective length of bed
Required outlet water dew point
Total amount of water to be removed
Dynamic adsorption performance of desiccant tower
Regeneration requirements
Pressure drop limitation
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SOLID DESICCANT
Large surface area for the high capacity (i.e. 500-800
m2/gram)
Possess "activity" for the components to be removed
Mass transfer rate is high
Easily and economically regenerated (reversability of
adsorption and ease of regeneration)
Good activity retention with time
Small resistance to gas flow
High mechanical strength
Fairly cheap, non-corrosive, non-toxic, chemically inert
and possess high bulk density
No appreciable change in volume during adsorption and
desorption

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SOLID DESICCANT PROPERTIES

Bauxite (Al2O3 )
~ outlet dew point - 73oC
4-6 kg water per 100 kg of desiccant

most
expensive

Alumina

4-7 water per 100 kg of desiccant

Gels (Silica or Alumina)


~ outlet dew point - 60oC
Surface area ~ 750-830 m2/gram
7-9 kg water per 100 kg of desiccant

molecular sieves (Zeolite)


~ outlet dew point - 90oC
Surface area ~ 650-800 m2/gram
9-12 kg water per 100 kg of desiccant

Charcoal (not used for dehydration


possess negligible water capacity)

least
expensive

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Nominal diameter of common molecules

Gas Processing and Separation

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Gas Processing and Separation

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DESICCANT PROPERTIES AFFECTING


ADSORPTION PERFORMANCE
The pore opening at the surface of the desiccant must be
large enough to admit the molecules being adsorbed to
the interior of the particle where most of the surface area
exist
The affinity of the molecules being adsorbed must be of
the same polarity ( i.e. polar-to-polar & non-polar to nonpolar) electric charges on the inner surfaces of the
desiccant (e.g. molecular sieves) are attracted to similar
charges on polar molecules (e.g. water)
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SKN 3113

2010/2011

SOLID DESICCANT DEGRADATION


Loss of capacity occurs when the external surface of the
desiccant becomes coated with materials such as amines,
glycol, heavy hydrocarbons, elemental sulphur & liquid
water which block access to the large interior surface

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GPP 5 & 6 ADSORPTION DEHYDRAION

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SKN 3113

2010/2011

FEED GAS
TREATED
GAS

P ~ 70 bara
T=30oC

~ 0.076 mol
% H2O

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Gas Processing and Separation

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SKN 3113

2010/2011

Gas Processing and Separation

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