Novel Integrated Helium Extraction And Natural Gas Liquefaction Process Configurations Using Absorption Refrigeration And Waste Heat

Conceptual design and modeling of novel‐integrated process configurations for helium extraction and natural gas liquefaction is investigated. Mixed fluid cascade (MFC) refrigeration system is considered for providing the needed refrigeration in the natural liquefaction section. Using an absorption refrigeration system as the precooling cycle is investigated in one of the introduced processes. Integrated flash and distillation method is used for helium extraction. Purity of the extracted crude helium is 50% (mole). Process streams operational condition and specifications of the devices are presented and explained. Composite curves of the heat exchangers demonstrate that thermal design has been done properly. Ratio of the power consumption to the produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) of the MFC process is 0.265 kWh per kg LNG and applying absorption refrigeration system instead of the pre‐cooling cycle decreases it to 0.1849 kWh per kg LNG. For the modified process with absorption refrigeration system helium extraction rate and power consumption ratio are 0.951 and 132.9 (kWh/[kgmole Helium]) respectively. Exergy method is applied on the under consideration processes. The results show that the compressors have the highest rate of exergy destruction among the other process equipment. An extensive economic analysis is done on the proposed processes. The results show that prime cost of the product (US$/kg LNG) for MFC and modified MFC processes are 0.1939 and 0.2069, respectively. Finally, a sensitivity analysis is done based on the economic factors such as electrical energy price and prime cost of the product.

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