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Dynamics of Solid Bed Dehydration in a Niger Delta Natural Gas Liquids Plant

Author(s): Akpabio, E.J | Aimikhe,V.J

Journal: International Journal of Engineering and Technology
ISSN 2049-3444

Volume: 2;
Issue: 12;
Start page: 2026;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: Dew point | Molecular sieves | saturation gradient | dehydration | regeneration | cooling process.

This work focuses on the study of a natural gas liquid solid bed dehydration plant in the Niger delta. The dehydration system of the plant is made of a 3-bed cycling unit placed upstream the cryogenic section of the plant to prevent hydrate formation (desired dew point of -1010C). The system comprised three (3) solid desiccant beds, which are packed with molecular sieves and alumina balls. Each bed had a maximum design capacity of 300million standard cubic feet per day. The dehydrator beds are configured to operate under a timed cycle, such that two (2) beds are always online while the third bed is undergoing regeneration. During the dehydration (drying) cycle, the amount of moisture adsorbed by the molecular sieves, at different cross section of the tower varied with time. At the initial stage of the drying cycle, most of the moisture was adsorbed by the molecular sieves at the top of the bed, since the flow direction was from top to bottom. Thus, as the gas flowed through the bed, the molecular sieves at the bottom only adsorbed traces of water, which were not adsorbed at the top. This enabled the attainment of the required dew point or maximum parts per million (ppm) of water in the gas. Based on this, it was noted that the topmost layer of the molecular sieves got saturated first and with continuous flow of gas through the bed, the saturated layer of the molecular sieves moved gradually, with time to the bottom of the bed. This resulted in the formation of a saturation gradient across the height of the bed. Critical examination of the dehydration, regeneration and cooling processes of the beds revealed that for effective and optimum results, dehydration was done for approximately 1200mins, regeneration 410mins and cooling 150mins while De-pressurization and re-pressurization took 20mins.

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