A team of Russian chemists from the Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology, Alekseev NSTU and Lobachevsky NNSU have developed a natural gas purification technology that is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than existing industrial analogues.

This is reported in the journal Separation and Purification Technology.

The new technology is a natural gas purification system using a double-layer filter.

The first layer consists of a polymer membrane, the second one of an ionic liquid-based absorbent.

The system cleans the gas from harmful impurities - hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide.

The results of laboratory studies have shown that in the end it is possible to obtain methane with a purity of 99.998%.

At present, amine solutions are most often used to remove impurities from gas.

During the purification process, the gas is heated and cooled using a complex installation of many modules.

This technology is

expensive and not very environmentally friendly: chemical solutions partially evaporate and pollute the environment.

  • By removing impurities from natural gas, its calorific value increases

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As Ilya Vorotyntsev, one of the authors of the work, head of the SMART laboratory of polymer materials and technologies of the RCTU, explained in an interview with RT,

hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide in natural gas contribute to the destruction of pipelines and reduce the calorific value of the gas.

“The elegance of our solution lies in the rejection of constant heating of gas,” noted Vorotyntsev.

According to scientists, the new method is 30-40% more economical than the industrial analogue currently used.

At the same time, it can still be further optimized by selecting the ratio of absorbent and membrane, as well as other solutions.

According to Ilya Vorotyntsev, the use of the new technology does not require an expensive replacement of equipment, while the gas will be cleaned in a continuous mode and practically without pressure loss.

The specialist noted that oil and gas companies are interested in such a development.

He added that practical tests of the new technology are expected within two to three years.

In the future, the researchers plan to conduct similar experiments for ternary gas mixtures.