Linde developed a novel process to recover high-value products from natural gas successfully combining leading technologies of BASF and Linde.
The process simultaneously recovers valuable helium, liquid hydrocarbons, and purified CO2 in addition to conditioning natural gas for pipeline transportation adjusting the water and heavy hydrocarbon dew point, as well as the CO2 concentration.
Helium is commonly recovered from natural gas when a cryogenic separation is employed. The hybrid process eliminates the need for cryogenic conditions, giving access to a new highly profitable helium source.
The process consists of two stages of Linde’s HISELECT Powered by Evonik membranes, an upstream BASF Durasorb hydrocarbon removal unit (HRU), an integrated BASF OASE acid gas removal unit (AGRU) and an integrated Linde Helium PSA unit.
The two HISELECT membrane stages are simultaneously used for helium enrichment and adjustment of CO2 to pipeline specification. The Linde Helium PSA purifies the enriched helium up to 99.999% with highest yield.
BASF’s OASE AGRU is used to selectively remove the CO2 from an internal recycle without any helium, or methane loss. BASF’s Durasorb HRU removes heavy hydrocarbons and water to meet pipeline dew point, produce liquid hydrocarbons as valuable byproduct and to ensure high membrane performance.
The combination of these technologies and the expertise of the companies allows for optimisation of performance and the generation of additional value streams from the gas treating process. A project utilising this approach will generate additional revenue, resulting in a high ROI and short payback period.
“The newly developed process changes project economics and helps our customers to generate additional value. As an additional high-value stream can be generated, we will see more projects move forward,” says Detlef Ruff, senior vice president, process catalysts at BASF.
“It is exciting to see how the combination of technology from three leading companies result in such a unique, efficient and sustainable process,” says Tobias Keller, head of Linde Engineering’s Adsorption and Membrane Plants.
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