CM Global Systems (CMGS) has developed, fabricated, and tested a prototype for the enhancement/refinement of natural gas (NG) systems. Titan-ER™ has been designed to significantly reduce the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) inherent to natural and synthetic gas streams, improve process efficiency, and turn waste streams into viable products.
CMGS has the ability to modify the configuration of Titan-ER™ to synergize various technologies to alleviate other issues integral to gas systems such as H2S gas. Research concludes that there are various techniques for the removal of H2S. The cons, however, outweighing the pros in some cases. Experimentation leading to the optimization of the absorption/adsorption (chemisorption/physisorption) of H2S through the use of Titan-ER™ impregnated with highly effective amines (i.e. Exxon’s FLEXSORB SE Plus) would be the goal.
CMGS believes that Titan-ER™ will be applicable, as well as valuable, in the fuel production industry. The mechanics leads to user friendly integration into existing processes and will pursue viable opportunities to prove efficacy.
CMGS had a third-party analysis completed to evaluate the following:
- Differences in the chemical composition of the target material (low molecular weight hydrocarbons) before and after refinement.
- Composition of the active material from the bottom vs. the top to determine the level of penetration of the compounds removed from the target material.
Schematically Titan-ER™ is installed to allow for the target material to enter through the bottom and exit through the top (up-flow mode). Therefore, samples of the active material inside Titan-ER™, bottom vs. top, were analyzed for volatile organic compounds and semi-volatile organic compounds to determine breakthrough. Samples for volatile analysis were prepared by packing a known amount of sample in a thermal desorption tube, called a VOST (volatile organic sampling tube) and heating to 300ºC. The sample was thermally desorbed into methanol. Then, the methanol was analyzed by GC/MS per EPA SW846 Method 80608. The semi-volatile organic compounds were determined by the extraction of an aliquot of the Titan-ER™ material with dichloromethane and then analyzing the solvent by GC/MS per the EPA SW846 Method 8270C.
Target Material Evaluation
The target material was analyzed for organics by EPA Method T0-15, a Gas Chromatography/ Mass Spectrometry procedure. The results, before and after treatment of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) determined in the target are summarized in Table 1. These results show that 11 compounds were detected in the unrefined target above the analyte reporting limit and four compounds detected below the reporting limit and, therefore, were considered estimated results. Table 1 also shows that in the refined target all of the compounds were significantly reduced with only four compounds detected above the analyte reporting limit. All analysis results are given in parts per million, volume per volume (ppm(v/v)). Based on the data in Table 1, the total VOCs in the unrefined target sample was 18,467 ppm(v/v) or 1.85 volume percent and the refining process removed 94.2 volume percent of VOCs overall.
The data shows that the volatile organic compounds were being retained in the bottom portion of Titan-ER™ when used in the up-flow configuration. Higher concentrations of volatile organic compounds were found in the active material samples than in the target material samples since Titan-ER™ was concentrating the compounds from the target material.
The central conclusion is that there were volatile organic compounds in the target material that were greatly reduced by Titan-ER™. Since there were improvements shown by reduction of volatile organic compounds in the target material by this treatment, further process work may be justified to determine its effect on the end use of the enhancement/refinement of other targets.
Natural Gas (NG) Refinement Opportunities for Titan-ER™
There are several specific criteria that the NG from the wellhead must meet before going into the pipeline. These are:
- Specific BTU content range
- Reduction of contaminants
- Removal of heavy hydrocarbons
- Reduction of water content
Considering the stages in the production of pipeline quality NG, Titan-ER™ may find use in several stages or may allow for the combining of the dehydration and decontamination stages improving efficiency of the overall process. This may allow for the customization of the following stages to meet the variations of the NG stream realized at different wellheads.
Stage B – Condensate Separator: The gas stream enters the processing plant at high pressure through what is termed an inlet slug catcher, where free water is removed from the gas and is directed to storage. When BTU levels are below requirements condensate can be processed in Titan-ER™ to add low molecular weight hydrocarbons that would be mixed with the NG or just stored as a separate product for sale.
Stage C – Dehydration: When the water content is too high in Stage B, Titan-ER™ will find use in the dehydration step by converting the remaining water to a hydrocarbon gas that would become part of the NG production by preventing the formation of hydrates. This would eliminate the need for absorption/adsorption techniques that would require additional cleaning or disposal costs.
Stage D – Contaminant Removal: Based on the evaluation of the enhancer/refiner as a tool for the removal of heavy hydrocarbons, carbon disulfide, and water vapor, Titan-ER™ should find use in this stage. Although amines are used for the removal of other contaminants, there will be a synergy when the two processes are combined, barring compatibility issues. The remainders of the contaminants are removed by gravity, with smaller particles combining to form larger particles and flowing to the lower section of the unit.
Opportunities for Titan-ER™
Outside the box thinking led to the development of Titan-ER™. CMGS will continue to improve and reengineer the system to meet the needs for potential customers. Whether hard wiring Titan-ER™ into their current scheme or using it through a skid-mount system, the goal is to improve the efficiency of the production process, increase the lifetime of the equipment and instrumentation downstream from Titan-ER™, and bring exceptional value to the customer. However, protection of the environment is one of our main concerns to increase the quality of life for generations to come.