The ability of the WES Absorber technology to dramatically reduce absorber size for a given separation process is a significant benefit to high pressure gas/liquid absorption processes.
Applications of particular interest include natural gas processing (onshore and offshore), refining and petrochemical sectors.
After extraction, natural gas must be purified or processed before it can be injected into a transport pipeline to end-user utilities. After separation of the gas mixture from condensed liquids (water and heavy hydrocarbons), the gas is first dehydrated and then acid gas contaminants (H2S and CO2) are removed. These processing steps can occur at either the wellhead or a centralized processing facility that services several gas wells.
- H2S and CO2 Removal: High pressure processes where WES technology enables significantly smaller absorbers; decreased diameter and wall thickness because of higher gas velocities, less tower height because of increased mass transfer efficiency.
- Gas Dehydration
- Compact System Capability for Offshore and Remote Well Sites
Natural gas usage as an energy source has grown significantly in the last two decades as a lower-emission alternative to coal, and this growth is expected to continue through 2050. Gas processing capacity has also grown as gas production has increased, and processing facilities have to be added near newly developed fields that have replaced retired production fields.
Absorbers in these applications have high capital costs due to the size of the pressure vessels required by current state of the art packed bed absorbers. Packed bed absorbers operate with counter current gas/liquid flow. The packing material is designed to provide a surface to allow direct contact between the gas and the liquid to facilitate mass transfer. The size of these columns is dictated by a gas velocity limit, as the gas flow rate increases so does the diameter required. Due to the high operating pressures, the walls of the absorber column require thicker steel the larger the diameter of the column, which results in higher weight and fabrication cost. This challenge is particularly acute in offshore applications where equipment size and weight has a large cost to the design of the offshore structure.
WES Absorber technology can reduce both the size and weight of an absorber column for high pressure applications. The improved mass transfer capability of WES Absorber technology enables column height reductions of up to 50% compared to current state of the art packed bed absorbers. Since the WES Absorber technology is able to operate at gas velocities far in excess of those which could be tolerated in conventional gas/liquid absorbers, the column diameter can be reduced by more than 50%.