Huge underground gas reserves, up to 16% of the total reserves, remain unused. The natural gas in these fields is too contaminated for exploitation. With existing technology, cleaning these fields is much too costly. As a result of research done by Ralph van Wissen MSc these fields may in the future become more profitable. In cooperation with Shell, Van Wissen developed a cleaning technique based on the centrifugal separation of gasses. He further built a prototype that can be scaled up to be used in producing natural gas. Van Wissen has obtained a doctorate from the Eindhoven University of Technology on Monday 4 December.
Depleted gas reserves
According to most predictions, the world’s gas reserves will be depleted within this century. Therefore, the discovery of new reserves and the full exploitation of existing reserves are high on the agenda of the big oil and natural gas companies. It is almost impossible to convey the economic value of 16% of the world’s reserves. They represent more that 360 times the annual natural gas production of Shell, Exxon, and BP put together.
Relatively clean gas mixture
These unrecoverable gas reserves are contaminated with CO2 and H2S (hydrogen sulphide). Current cleaning processes, which use selective absorption techniques and membranes technology, are too limited. If the concentration of CO2 and H2S is more than 15%, more energy is lost in these cleaning processes than is gained in natural gas. With the new technique developed by Van Wissen it is possible to clean highly contaminated natural gas (containing 15% to 70% CO2 and H2S) and turn it into a relatively clean gas mixture with only 5% contamination. The resulting energy loss is only a very small percentage. Conventional cleaning processes can be used without much extra costs or waste of energy to further purify this mixture.
Centrifugal gas separator
The trick of the trade is the centrifugal gas separator’s expansion tank. In this tank the gas mixture expands very fast, resulting in the condensation of CO2 and H2S particles. This condensate can be compared to the small cloud of vapor that appears when opening a bottle of champagne. The natural gas and the condensed droplets subsequently flow through a rotating cylinder. In this cylinder, which is made up of many thin channels, the centrifugal powers press the droplets to the outer side of the channels. The CO2 and H2S can then be relatively easily separated from the natural gas.
The prototype Van Wissen built can process a gas stream of 60 m3 an hour. Very little, compared to the more than a thousand times larger output of an average natural gas field. That is why Van Wissen paid special attention to the proper dimensioning of his prototype to enable up scaling, so it can be used in actual practice. He succeeded and Shell plans to further develop this technology on the basis of his prototype.
Xavier Theunissen | alfa
When corals eat plastics
24.05.2018 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
24.05.2018 | Medical Engineering
24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy