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Operation Flexibility Considerations in the Selection of a Pumped LOX Air Separation Process Incorporating a Source of High Pressure Feed Air

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000019369D
Publication Date: 2003-Sep-12
Document File: 14 page(s) / 91K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

An air separation process separates ambient or synthetic mixtures composed primarily of nitrogen, oxygen and argon into one or more streams that are enriched in one or more of the feed components. A typical example is the production of oxygen from air for use in a partial oxidation chemical process such as the conversion of a hydrocarbon into a synthetic gas stream composed primarily of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. A second example is the production of nitrogen from air for use as an inert gas for injection into oil or gas fields to enhance hydrocarbon production. A third example is the co-production of oxygen, nitrogen and argon streams in relatively pure form, as liquids and/or gases, for use in a variety of industrial applications.

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Operation Flexibility Considerations in the Selection of a Pumped LOX Air Separation Process Incorporating a Source of High Pressure Feed Air

Introduction

An air separation process separates ambient or synthetic mixtures composed primarily of nitrogen, oxygen and argon into one or more streams that are enriched in one or more of the feed components. A typical example is the production of oxygen from air for use in a partial oxidation chemical process such as the conversion of a hydrocarbon into a synthetic gas stream composed primarily of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. A second example is the production of nitrogen from air for use as an inert gas for injection into oil or gas fields to enhance hydrocarbon production. A third example is the co-production of oxygen, nitrogen and argon streams in relatively pure form, as liquids and/or gases, for use in a variety of industrial applications.

The use of a high pressure air feed source to supply a portion of the air separation unit’s (ASU) total air requirement has become of interest in light of the development of gas turbine combined cycle projects using a fuel produced from partial oxidation of a hydrocarbon feed. The gas turbine’s air compressor is an example of a source of compressed air for supply to a cryogenic ASU. Methods of recovering the energy in a high pressure air feed supply to an ASU are described, along with alternative design approaches to maintain stable ASU operation over a wide range of air supply flows and pressures.

Air Separation Processes

Air can be separated into its constituents by a variety of methods. Major categories of air separation processes include adsorption, cryogenic, membrane, and others such as chemical absorption. Within each major category of separation process, many individualized flowsheets or "cycles" have been developed for the manufacture of a specific product or combination of products for different optimization criteria. Examples of optimization criteria include capital cost, power consumption, flexible product manufacture (varying the amount of one or more of the product’s flow or purity), schedule to erect the plant, and ease of operation. Recently, air separation processes have begun to be more highly integrated with other industrial equipment and processes. An example is the integration of an air separation process in a facility that gasifies hydrocarbon feedstocks for use as fuel gas in a gas turbine based, combined power cycle for the production of electricity. In this type of facility pressurized air from the gas turbine can be sent to the air separation unit to supply all or a portion of the total air feed requirement. Sources of pressurized air for standalone or integrated air separation processes include, but are not limited to: dedicated air compression devices, the air compressor section of gas turbines, stored high pressure air sources (e.g. Compressed Air Energy Storage processes), and other equipment or processes requiring pressuri...