New technology for removal of carbon dioxide from natural gas

The Japanese companies JGC Corp. and INPEX Corp. jointly with BASF SE have successfully completed tests of a new technology for the removal of carbon dioxide (CO2) from natural gas under high pressure. The performance of this new gas treatment technology enables a reduction of 25-35% in the cost of CO2 recovery and compression.
The so-called “High Pressure Acid gas Capture Technology” (HiPACT) was developed by JGC and BASF. The tests of the technology commenced in August 2010, at INPEX ’ Koshijihara natural gas plant, one of the largest plants of this type in Japan, located in Nagaoka.
“We greatly appreciate the involvement of INPEX, allowing us to test the new technology in a commercial natural gas plant. Targeting demand in the market, we successfully demonstrated an excellent energy saving performance, ” said Takashi Yasuda, an executive officer at JGC .
 “INPEX strives to reduce energy consumption as much as possible. This new technology offers a great opportunity to improve energy conservation. It also reduces our carbon footprint and helps curb greenhouse gas emissions,” said Kazuo Yamamoto, an executive officer for INPEX .

Natural gas, an increasingly important source of energy, often contains CO2 when it is extracted from the well. Most of this CO2 is usually removed directly at the natural-gas source. The removal is achieved by means of an amine-based solvent developed by BASF. The solvent temporarily absorbs the CO2 from the high-pressure natural gas stream. The solvent is then regenerated at low pressure and fed back to the process, but this regeneration requires energy . Traditionally the CO2 released in the regeneration process has been emitted to the environment.
Alternatively the CO2 can be injected underground for storage after separation from the natural gas. To do that the CO2 must first be compressed above its high pressure. This has to date required an additional high energy input, which the new process can reduce significantly. The process uses a solvent that is not affected by high pressure levels and elevated temperatures during regeneration, so it remains stable and intact during the capture process. Thus, the new technology can be operated at a higher pressure. This reduces the cost of compressing the CO2 for underground re-injection. Moreover, the solvent, which has an excellent CO2 absorption capability compared to the existing solvents, enables reduction of the solvent regeneration energy.

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