New Membrane Product Removes Contaminants from Natural Gas

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UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, has launched a new membrane element that more efficiently removes contaminants from natural gas and reduces the amount of valuable methane and natural gas liquids (NGLs) lost during the contaminant removal process.

Honeywell’s UOP Separex Select membrane element is the next-generation technology to remove contaminants such as acid gas and water from natural gas. Methane, or dry natural gas, is in high demand for heating and power generation, while NGLs are valuable feedstock for the production of petrochemicals such as plastics.

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“UOP is dedicated to introducing more efficient gas processing technologies that help maximize the recovery of valuable methane and natural gas,” said Rebecca Liebert, vice president and general manager of Honeywell’s UOP Gas Processing and Hydrogen business unit. “With the addition of Separex Select, UOP now offers the broadest portfolio of advanced membrane elements, designed to enable gas producers to tailor solutions for highest value, minimal cost and operational ease.”

Separex Select membrane elements are designed as a replacement option for the elements currently housed within Honeywell’s UOP Separex systems. These elements upgrade natural gas streams by removing carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and water vapor in a single process to meet the quality standards specified by pipeline transmission companies and end-users of the natural gas.

Honeywell’s UOP developed Separex Select as a more selective element in gas separation. It offers an increase in membrane selectivity compared with existing cellulose acetate (CA) membrane elements, driving significantly higher recovery of methane and NGLs, while simultaneously reducing hydrocarbon emissions. In multi-stage Separex systems, Separex Select can also help producers lower their operating costs due to reduced inter-stage compression requirements.

Honeywell’s UOP Gas Processing and Hydrogen business offers technology, equipment and materials to treat and process natural gas, as well as to purify hydrogen used in refineries. Its gas technologies extract contaminants such as water, mercury, sulfur and carbon dioxide from raw natural gas. Honeywell’s UOP also offers technologies to recover NGLs.

Honeywell’s UOP has increased its offerings in natural gas in recent years. In 2012, the company purchased a majority stake in Thomas Russell Co., which offers key technologies and modularized packaged plants enabling shale and conventional natural gas producers to remove contaminants from natural gas and recover high-value NGLs used for petrochemicals and fuels. Thomas Russell products are now part of the UOP Russell line. Honeywell’s UOP also has marketing alliances with Twister B.V., and Ortloff Engineers Ltd. for natural gas separation technology to recover NGLs.

Honeywell’s UOP Gas Processing and Hydrogen business has also expanded its global footprint, opening a gas processing design center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2008. In 2011, it opened a manufacturing and operations center to produce natural gas membrane elements in Penang, Malaysia, to better serve growing natural gas markets in Southeast Asia and around the world.

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