Project Synopsis

Evaluate alternatives and provide a preliminary process design and cost estimate for an acetylene recovery unit to separate and purify acetylene for sale into the bottled gas distribution market.

Project Summary


Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted by a supplier of industrial gases to evaluate acetylene recovery processes.  A process stream is available on the Texas Gulf coast containing a mixture of acetylene, other hydrocarbons, carbon oxides, and nitrogen oxides (NOx).  The client desired to recover the acetylene from the stream and purify it to a level suitable for marketing to industrial gas users and chemical manufacturers.  Historical industry practice has been to use an acetylene-specific solvent to separate acetylene from gas streams.  The client desired to know if a technology superior to the solvent-based recovery system existed.  Solvents which have been used for acetylene recovery include: NMP, DMF, acetone, and methanol.

PROCESS performed a technology assessment to determine the best available technology.  The selected alternative was evaluated by producing a process simulation of the technology using PROCESS' licensed commercial computer process simulation program.  This was followed by equipment sizing and costing in order to allow the client to determine economic viability of installing the process.

PROCESS provided the following project deliverables:

  • Technology assessment to determine if a technology superior to solvent-based recovery exists.  This included a brief review of the available solvents and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
  • A process simulation at minimum and maximum rates for the selected alternative.  The simulation was the basis for a heat and mass balance and was used to calculate the acetylene recovery efficiency.
  • A preliminary process flow diagram (PFD) with proposed operating parameters for the selected alternative.
  • Preliminary sizing and estimated cost of major pieces of equipment including equipment to remove non-combustible gases.
  • A list of utilities required for the facility (type and quantity) including steam, cooling water, electricity, and instrument air.

Industry Type

  • Industrial Gas Distribution

Utilized Skills

  • Alternatives evaluation
  • Preliminary process design
  • Front end engineering design (FEED)
  • Preliminary cost estimating

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