Compact and Lightweight Contactors For Natural Gas Purification Operations

Award Information
Department of Energy
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Science Research Laboratory
15 Ward Street, Somerville, MA, 02143
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Henry Eppich
Principal Research Scientist
(617) 547-1122
Business Contact:
Dr. Jonah Jacob
(617) 547-1122
Research Institution:
102 Compact and Lightweight Contactors For Natural Gas Purification Operations--Science Research Laboratory, Inc., 15 Ward Street, Somerville, MA 02143-4228; (617) 547-1122 Dr. Henry Eppich, Principal Investigator Dr. Jonah Jacob, Business Official DOE Grant No. DE-FG02-97ER82514 Amount: $74,949 Natural gas is an important form of fossil fuel. However, contaminated with hydrogen sulfide, it is an environmental hazard, corrosive to distribution systems, and inhibits the use of 19 trillion cubic feet of known reserves and 80 trillion cubic feet of estimated reserves. The scrubbing towers (contactors) used to remove hydrogen sulfide and water vapor from natural gas are very large, heavy, and expensive, and their operation is often disrupted and degraded by aerosols resulting from the condensation of high molecular weight hydrocarbons. An alternative electron beam-based natural gas hydrogen sulfide removal process being developed converts hydrogen sulfide in situ to hydrogen gas and submicron sulfur particles. The commercial feasibility of this process depends on implementing an efficient submicron particle separation stage. This project will develop a novel wet scrubbing concept known as the confined vortex scrubber to reduce the size, weight, and cost of natural gas contactors and efficiently remove submicron particles and aerosols from condensed hydrocarbon species. The new scrubber should achieve very high particle separation efficiencies (>98% for 0.3 micron particles), and could provide a reduction in amino and glycol contactor volumes by factors of 5-50. Phase I will include system optimization and economic assessment efforts for each of the contacting applications and a detailed design for a Phase II system. In Phase II, confined vortex scrubber, flow system, and diagnostics will be fabricated, integrated and tested. Performance will be compared with that offered by commercial contactors as well as other advanced purification systems. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: The Phase I and II efforts should make possible significant reductions in the size, weight, and cost of components in current natural gas purification processes; enable the implementation of the electron beam sweetening process currently under development; and form the basis of a new class of gas/liquid contacting systems for amine sweetening and glycol dehydration processes in the natural gas industry.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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