For Gas Sweetening, H2S Removal and Gas Processing solutions
What is Gas Sweetening?
Gas sweetening is the process of removing H2S or the sulfur from natural gas.
Sulfur exists in natural gas and is known as hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Natural gas is usually considered "sour" if the H2S (hydrogen sulfide) content exceeds 5.7 milligrams of H2S per cubic meter of natural gas. The H2S removal process from "sour gas" is commonly referred to as "gas sweetening."
Diagram of the Gas Sweetening Process
courtesy of NaturalGas.org
The primary process for sweetening "sour" natural gas
("sour" natural gas contains H2S or hydrogen sulfides) is quite similar to the
processes of glycol dehydration and NGL absorption. In this case, however, amine
solutions are used to remove the hydrogen sulfide. This process is known simply
as the 'amine process', or alternatively as the Girdler process, and is used in
95 percent of U.S. gas sweetening operations. The sour gas is run through a
tower, which contains the amine solution. This solution has an affinity for
sulfur, and absorbs it much like glycol absorbing water. There are two principle
amine solutions used, monoethanolamine (MEA) and diethanolamine (DEA). Either of
these compounds, in liquid form, will absorb sulfur compounds from natural gas
as it passes through. The effluent gas is virtually free of sulfur compounds,
and thus loses its sour gas status. Like the process for NGL extraction and
glycol dehydration, the amine solution used can be regenerated (that is, the
absorbed sulfur is removed), allowing it to be reused to treat more sour gas.
Although most sour gas sweetening involves the amine absorption process, it is also possible to use solid desiccants like iron sponges to remove the sulfide and carbon dioxide.
Sulfur can be sold and used if reduced to its elemental form. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow powder like material, and can often be seen in large piles near gas treatment plants, as is shown. In order to recover elemental sulfur from the gas processing plant, the sulfur containing discharge from a gas sweetening process must be further treated. One sulfur recovery process is called the "Claus" process, and involves the use of thermal and catalytic reactions to extract the elemental sulfur from the hydrogen sulfide solution.
Some of the above information from www.NaturalGas.org with our thanks.
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