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The World of Energy

Chapter 30 LNG Technology - Processes

30.4. In Search of the Best LNG Liquefaction


Ch. 30 - 46
Which LNG Technology is Better, SMR?

SMR (Single Mixed Refrigerant)

Single cycle, less equipment per module
Single cycle requires high volume of circulated
refrigerant, need large axial compressors
Proven axial compressor size currently limit module
capacity to 1.3 mmTpa/module
Larger capacity require multiple parallel modules, end
up with more equipments than other technology with
diminishing impact on economic of scale
Splitted heavy MR fraction (PRICO II) improve
efficiency but cold boxes inlet header re-mixing
mechanism is not proven for large scale
SMR features is favourable for smaller scale LNG Plant
up to 1,3 mmTpa, or large scale LNG train consist of
several smaller modules

Ch. 30 - 47
Which LNG Technology is Better, C3/MR?

C3/MR (Propane Pre-cooled/Mixed Refrigerant)

Dual cycles, more equipments than SMR technology but less
equipment than Triple Cycles technology (Cascade)
The most popular LNG technology with 95% market share (train
Higher thermodynamic efficiency than other LNG technology
(except DMR), less power consumption for the same LNG
Sole source of the Main Cryogenic Heat Exchanger (only
available from APCI), but recently being challenged by
Shell/Linde Main Cryogenic Heat Exchanger (to be used for
Australia NWS-4 and Sakhalin Project)

cost on previous LNG projects.
Largest capacity in operation is 3.5 mmTpa and a plant with 4.8
mmTpa is being built (MLNG-3)
Cost reduction initiatives is a must otherwise it will losing
market share

Ch. 30 - 48
Which LNG Technology is Better, DMR?
Shell DMR (Dual Mixed Refrigerant)
Dual Cycles, characteristic is very similar to APCI
C3/MR technology
Dual MR, theoretically will have highest
thermodynamic efficiency, better than APCI C3/MR
Dual MR will effectively used all available power of
the drivers and efficiently macth the cooling curve of
the gas
Shell use newly designed Linde Spiral Wound Main
Heat Exchanger, performance, efficiency and
reliability is yet to be seen (Australia NWS-4, Russia
If the Linde Main Cryogenic Exchanger is as good as
APCI Main Cryogenic Exchanger, this technology is a
serious contender for the APCI C3/MR
Shell patented this DMR technology, APCI technically
can also offer the same technology but may raise
legal dispute with Shell

Ch. 30 - 49
Which LNG Technology is Better, Split MR?

Split MR (Optimized C3/MR Refrigeration)

Dual Cycles, characteristic is very similar to APCI C3/MR
The concept is to maximize utilitization of the excess power
in the propane circuit by attaching the HP MR Refrigeration
compressor to the propane gas turbine driver.
This concept mitigate the risk of legal dispute with Shell
DMR technology, while thermodynamic efficiency is only
slightly less than the DMR technology.
The use of single large APCI Main Cryogenic Heat
Exchanger may close the gap in efficiency compare to the
Shell DMR technology which uses two smaller Linde Main
Cryogenic Heat Exchanger
The splitting of MR refrigeration circuit into two different
driver pose a more complicated operation and control
system, must be designed carefully. A dynamic process
simulation is a must.

Ch. 30 - 50
Which LNG Technology is Better, Cascade?

Phillips Optimized Cascade (Triple Cycle Refrigeration)

Triple Cycle, use more equipment than other technology
Use pure component refrigerant (propylene, ethylene and
methane), thermodynamically less efficient than MR cycle
Pure component refrigeration circuit makes this technology
easiest to operate.
Propylene and ethylene is not readily available in the feed gas,
may pose some logistic problem for a remote LNG Plant.
The new Optimized Cascade apply and open cycle for the
methane refrigeration, where part of the methane refrigerant
is re-mix with the gas being liquefied and function as a
quenching fluid.
Open cycle and quenching scheme improve process efficiency,
reduce the requirement of heat exchanger area. Quenching is
heat exchange without heat exchanger.
Currently being design using three GE Frame-5 gas turbines,
limit the capacity to 1.8 mmTpa per module
If three GE Frame-7 is used, module capacity will be close to
4.5 mTpa (Trinidad Train-4 is 5.2 mmTpa. Largest LNG train
capacity in operation)

Ch. 30 - 51
In Search of LNG Technology Excellence

The most efficient technology is the one that can effectively match
the cooling curve of the liquefied gas
Thermodynamically speaking, Mixed Refrigeration is better efficiency
than Pure Component Refrigeration. And, multiple cycle refrigeration
is better efficiency than single cycle (for the same refrigerant type)

Use infinite number of refrigeration cycles, and
Use mixed refrigeration in each cycles
But wait . . . , those minute refrigeration equipments do not exist in

Equipment design calls for a larger and less equipment to improve

cost and economics

thermodynamic efficiency and the use of the largest (and proven)
technology that match your specified capacity, gas composition and
commercially available process drivers, refrigeration compressors and
main heat exchanger technology

Ch. 30 - 52
In Search of LNG Technology Excellence
Capacity Rule of Thumb
For smaller capacity, up to 1 mmTpa such as in peak shaving LNG Plant, motor

available gas turbine driver.

Current LNG industry is dominated by GE Frame-5D (33 MW) and GE
Frame-7EA (84 MW). Approximate power to capacity match, not included
helper power
One GE F-5D (33 MW) : 0.6 mmTpa
Two GE F-5D (66 MW) : 1.2 mmTpa
One GE F-7EA (84 MW) : 1.5 mmTpa
Three GE F-5D (99 MW) : 1.8 mmTpa
One GE F-9EC (127 MW) : 2.3 mmTpa
Two GE F-7EA (168 MW) : 3.0 mmTpa
Three GE F-7EA (252 MW) : 4.4 mmTpa
Two GE F-9EC (254 MW) : 4.5 mmTpa
Best Fit Rule of Thumb : pick your desired LNG capacity, find the closest
macth of driver configuration (rounded up), find the technology that using
the same number of cycles as the driver configuration.

investment with this methodology. Set a competitive technology bid, and

do a thorough technical and economical evaluation.

Ch. 30 - 53
In Search of LNG Technology Excellence
Sharpen your pencil : many ways to improve LNG design efficiency and
Gas Turbine Waste Heat Utilization (Co-generation System)
Improve gas turbine system efficiency by 15%, equivalent to production
efficiency of 5%
LNG Expander
Improve production efficiency by 2%
Starter/Helper Dual Function
Applicable for large gas turbine which requires large starter (such as Frame-7
and Frame-9), use the starter power as continous helper power
All Motor Driven Refrigeration
Centralized very large and efficient electrical power co-generation (Frame-9)
Reduced overall CO2 emission, more environmentally friendly option
High efficiency motor driver, but requires complex starting system (torque
Use of Largest Gas Turbine (GE Frame-9)
Not a proven application. Require Frame-5 as starting device.
Tandem refrigeration compressors add to operation complexity and probably
Use Very Large, Single Brazed Aluminum Exchanger (Goodbye APCI . . .)
Unfortunately not commercially available, current largest BAE is only 1/10 of
one APCI Spiral Wound Heat Exchanger

Ch. 30 - 54
LNG Capacity, Power & Technology Matching

2 F-7EA + 40 MW
Dual MR

6 F-5D C3/MR
6.00 Cascade
2 F-7EA Single MR
Capacity (MMTPA)

4.00 3 F-5D 3 F-7EA

3.00 1 F-7EA 8 F-5D

2 F-7EA + 70 MW
1 F-9
0 50 100 150 200 250 300
Power (MW)

Ch. 30 - 55