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Figura2: Sistema tpico de remocin de humedad del gas

natural usando absorcin a base de glicol.

En los sistemas de adsorcin generales, el gel de slice:


Puede manejar fcilmente una amplia gama de velocidades de flujo de
alimentacin y amplias variaciones.
Tiene un alto rango de caudales.

Se adapta fcilmente a los cambio de condiciones de operacin


Ofrece disponibilidad instantnea (despus del primer ciclo todava
ofrece gas acondicionado segn las especificaciones.
Son fciles de operar y tienen poco mantenimiento (se puede
controlar a distancia).
No consume energa durante la operacin en reposo.
Tienen relativamente pequea demanda de energa durante la
regeneracin (71 000 Btu frente a 102000 Btu en esta comparacin
de adsorcin de slica gel frente a absorcin de TEG).

Water in Liquid Form


Whereas water vapor is easily adsorbed by silica adsorbents, the presence
of water droplets in natural gas streams poses additional problems. For
instance, water droplets create a hydraulic hammer effect, and lead to
localized overheating, which causes the adsorbent materials to break down.
This leads to higher pressure drop and channeling-reducing the overall
performance of the unit.
In addition to the use of an inlet separator to maximize water-droplet
removal, a guard layer (equal to about 10-20% of bed volume) of
specialized, water-stable adsorbent can be added on top of the main
adsorbent bed. This water stability can be imparted using tempering, i.e.
heating to high temperatures over a long time, however, this process
reduces greatly water adsorption capacity.
Water stable Sorbead adsorbents are produced according to precision
manufacturing procedure, without resorting to tempering having full liquid
water stability and high capacity. This often allows for smaller vessels and
longer lifetimes of the main bed. Use of water stable Sorbead as a guard
bed is common in such applications such as LNG units, where the main
adsorbent isnt even a silica gel, but a molecular sieve.
REMOVING HEAVY HYDROCARBONS FROM NATURAL GAS
Heavy hydrocarbons, which can condense out of a natural gas stream, are
another common cause of plugging in gas-transmission pipelines and
valves, and they can foul related equipment such as gas-separation
membranes. Such constituents are typically described in terms of the
hydrocarbons and water vapor from natural gas. The design of as silicabased system for heavy hydrocarbon removal is more complicated than that
of a system for the removal of water only.
For instance, different grades of silica gel may be required. The system must
be designed to accommodate the adsorption of more than one component.
And much shorter cycle times (as short as 45-60 minutes) are typically
required, as are often three or more adsorption vessels instead of two
(further discussion of this is beyond the scope of this article; for more
information, consult your adsorbent supplier).
Several non-absorption related technologies including low-temperature
separation (LTS), turbo expansion, and mechanical refrigeration are also
used to remove heavy hydrocarbons from natural gas streams (additional
discussion of these technologies can be found in Reference). Today, silicabead adsorption offers a cost-effective alternative to these approaches.
REMOVING NITROGEN FRM NATURAL GAS
In addition to water vapor and heavy hydrocarbons, natural gas streams
also contain unwanted nitrogen. Nitrogen is inert, so its presence depresses

the fuel value of natural gas; as such, it is typically removed to residual


levels around 4%.

This typical cost comparison of the moisture-removal processes shown in


figures 1 and 2 (the use of adsorption via silica gel beads, versus
absorption using TEGG), shows that the TEG-based method is generally
only cost-effective at relatively small flowrates in this case.

Depicted is a typical adsorption cycle for the removal of heavy


hydrocarbons from natrual gas.

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