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Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering

ISSN 2095-0179

ISSN 2095-0187(Online)

CN 11-5981/TQ

Postal Subscription Code 80-969

2018 Impact Factor: 2.809

Front. Chem. Sci. Eng.    2018, Vol. 12 Issue (2) : 209-225    https://doi.org/10.1007/s11705-017-1688-1
RESEARCH ARTICLE |
Study of the robustness of a low-temperature dual-pressure process for removal of CO2 from natural gas
Stefania Moioli1(), Laura A. Pellegrini1, Paolo Vergani2, Fabio Brignoli2
1. Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering “G. Natta”, Politecnico di Milano, Piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, I-20133 Milano, Italy
2. Maire Tecnimont S.p.A. Via Gaetano De Castillia 6/A, I-20124 Milano, Italy
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Abstract

The growing use of energy by most of world population and the consequent increasing demand for energy are making unexploited low quality gas reserves interesting from an industrial point of view. To meet the required specifications for a natural gas grid, some compounds need to be removed from the sour stream. Because of the high content of undesired compounds (i.e., CO2) in the stream to be treated, traditional purification processes may be too energy intensive and the overall system may result unprofitable, therefore new technologies are under study. In this work, a new process for the purification of natural gas based on a low temperature distillation has been studied, focusing on the dynamics of the system. The robustness of the process has been studied by dynamic simulation of an industrial-scale plant, with particular regard to the performances when operating conditions are changed. The results show that the process can obtain the methane product with a high purity and avoid the solidification of carbon dioxide.

Keywords CO2 capture      innovative process      cryogenic distillation      dynamic simulation      solid-liquid-vapor equilibrium     
Corresponding Authors: Stefania Moioli   
Just Accepted Date: 25 September 2017   Online First Date: 26 December 2017    Issue Date: 09 May 2018
 Cite this article:   
Stefania Moioli,Laura A. Pellegrini,Paolo Vergani, et al. Study of the robustness of a low-temperature dual-pressure process for removal of CO2 from natural gas[J]. Front. Chem. Sci. Eng., 2018, 12(2): 209-225.
 URL:  
http://academic.hep.com.cn/fcse/EN/10.1007/s11705-017-1688-1
http://academic.hep.com.cn/fcse/EN/Y2018/V12/I2/209
Fig.1  Process flowsheet
Unit Section P/bar
High pressure column top 46
Low pressure column top 40
Tab.1  Operating conditions of the two columns of the plant
Parameter Value
Temperature /°C 27.64
Pressure /bar 62.01
Vapor fraction 1
Molar flow /(kmol?h?1) 10000
Composition (molar fraction)
Methane 0.6300
Carbon dioxide 0.2500
Nitrogen 0.0090
Ethane 0.0210
Hydrogen sulfide 0.0700
Propane 0.0126
n-Butane 0.0074
Tab.2  Characteristics of the stream fed to the plant
Fig.2  Process flowsheet as simulated in ASPEN HYSYS®
Parameter Top product Bottom product
Temperature /°C −88.11 15.31
Pressure /bar 40 47.03
Vapor fraction 1 0
Molar flow /(kmol?h?1) 6390 3611
Composition (molar fraction)
Methane 0.98584715 1.09E−04
Carbon dioxide 6.65E−05 0.692448
Nitrogen 0.01409 ?
Ethane ? 0.05815
Hydrogen sulfide ? 0.19390
Propane ? 0.03490
n-Butane ? 0.02050
Tab.3  Characteristics of the streams obtained as products of the two columns
Controller Kc tI /min tD /min
FC-309 0.4 0.5 0
PC-C301 10 1 0
PC-V301 10 1 0
TC-320 3 0.2 0
TC-322 5 0.1 0
LC-E301 2 2 0
LC-V301 3 2 0
LC-C301 2 2 0
LC-C302 2 2 0
RefluxC-C301 0.05 1 0
BoilupC-C301 0.1 1 0
Tab.4  Values of parameters of controllers considered for the simulations
Fig.3  Impulse to the carbon dioxide molar fraction in the feed stream (left axis) and response of carbon dioxide molar fraction in the liquid stream from the bottom of the low pressure column (right axis)
Stream/holdup T /°C Tfreeze /°C DTfreeze = T-Tfreeze /°C
C-301 (tray 1) −75.40 −111.8 36.41
C-301 (tray 2) −70.45 −111.8 41.36
C-301 (tray 3) −61.97 −111.8 49.83
321 −83.54 −94.6 11.06
322 −84.55 −94.32 9.769
C-302 (tray 30) −82.83 −87.83 5.001
C-302 (tray 29) −84.06 −111.8 27.76
323 −82.74 −87.88 5.139
Tab.5  Comparison between the operating temperature and the freezing temperature in sections of the plant where a solid phase may form, as resulting from simulations with ASPEN HYSYS®
Fig.4  Detail of splitting of the stream exiting from the high pressure column as simulated in ASPEN HYSYS®
Fig.5  Pressure drops for the vapor and the liquid streams fed to the low pressure distillation column
Fig.6  Difference between the actual temperature and the freezing temperature profiles for (a) feedback control by acting on stream 317 (liquid stream), (b) for feedforward control by acting on stream 317 (liquid stream), (c) for feedback control by acting on stream 318 (vapor stream) and (d) for feedforward control by acting on stream 318 (vapor stream)
Fig.7  Actual temperature and freezing temperature profiles for feedforward control by acting on stream 318 (vapor stream)
Fig.8  (a) Temperature profile of column C-301, (b) temperature profile of column C-302, (c) temperature of vapor stream 320 fed to column C-302, (d) temperature profile of liquid stream 322 fed to column C-302; freezing conditions in the lowest tray of column C-302, expressed as (e) DTfreeze and as (f) the operating temperature and the freezing temperature
Fig.9  (a) Temperature of vapor stream 320 fed to column C-302 and (b) top pressure of column C-301
Fig.10  (a) Temperature profile of column C-301, (b) pressure profile of column C-301, (c) temperature of vapor stream 320 fed to column C-302; freezing conditions in the lowest tray of column C-302, expressed as (d) DTfreeze and as (e) the operating temperature and the freezing temperature; (f) temperature profile of column C-302 and (g) pressure profile of column C-302
Fig.11  (a) CO2 content in the distillate stream and (b) CH4 content in the bottom stream
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