Hannover Messe 2019 Research: Drying natural gas

Editor: Theresa Knell

The Fraunhofer IKTS has developed a new process for drying natural gas. Compared with conventional models, it conserves resources significantly better.

On a laboratory scale, the new Fraunhofer IKTS process successfully dried natural gas to < 0.5 % water.
On a laboratory scale, the new Fraunhofer IKTS process successfully dried natural gas to < 0.5 % water.
(Source: Fraunhofer IKTS)

The Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and System (IKTS) offers a process for drying natural gas on the basis of nano-porous ceramic membranes and which avoids the disadvantages of conventional processes. It enables the removal of water from the wet triethylene-glycol using a simple filtration process. To make the membranes, a thin coating of zeolites is precipitated onto the interior walls of porous ceramic pipes. Zeolites are crystalline minerals and compounds from the silicates group found in multifarious forms in nature.

The diameters of the pores in these minerals allow water to pass, but hold back the larger triethylene glycol particles. On a laboratory scale it has thus been possible to dry natural gas to better than <0.5% water. In addition, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute have succeeded in keeping the membrane characteristics stable over several months.

Tests were done on a pilot installation with 225 membranes (30 m2) installed directly on a natural gas reservoir in Staßfurt in Saxony-Anhalt. In one discharge period, 4 t water were removed from 8 mln. m3 of natural gas. The low working temperature of 120 °C led to 30 % savings in operating costs compared to classical distillation and a reduction of 9.2 t in the CO2 emissions.

Visit Fraunhofer-IKTS at Hannover Messe in Hall 27, Booth E45.

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