Product From Natural Gas

Linde Engineering (Pullach, Germany; has developed a process to recover helium, hydrocarbons and purified carbon dioxide from natural gas, while conditioning the natural gas for pipeline transport by adjusting the water and heavy-hydrocarbon dew point and the CO2 concentration. The process — presented at the Gastech conference last month in Houston — combines technologies of BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany; and Linde. 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 He 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 PSA purifies the enriched helium up to 99.999% with a high yield. BASF’s OASE AGRU is used to selectively remove the CO2 from an internal recycle without any He or CH4 loss. BASF’s Durasorb HRU removes heavy hydrocarbons and water to meet pipeline dew point, and produce liquid hydrocarbons as valuable byproduct.

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