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Recovery of Argon from Hydrocarbon Furnace Exhaust Streams

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000249090D
Publication Date: 2017-Feb-03

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

A method for recovering argon from a combustion exhaust gas from a hydrocarbon furnace is disclosed, the combustion exhaust gas comprising carbon dioxide,oxygen, nitrogen and argon.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 6% of the total text.

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[0001] TITLE

[0002] Recovery of Argon from Hydrocarbon Furnace Exhaust Streams

[0003] BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0004] Hydrocarbon furnace power plants typically produce considerable combustion exhaust

streams containing a variety of gases (i.e., flue gases), including carbon dioxide (CO2), oxygen (O2),

nitrogen (N2), and argon (Ar). Emission of these gases into the atmosphere—particularly carbon

dioxide and other greenhouse gases—is an ever-present concern, and techniques have been

developed to lessen such emissions.

[0005] One technique, referred to as oxy-fuel combustion, involves replacing air that is

ordinarily used to burn fuel in hydrocarbon furnaces with an oxygen-enriched gas mixture (e.g., 95%

oxygen). Using an oxygen-enriched gas mixture as the oxidant produces significantly lower volumes

of combustion exhaust gases. Further, using an oxygen-enriched gas mixture decreases nitrogen

oxide (NOx) production and results in a combustion exhaust stream primarily consisting of water

(H2O) and carbon dioxide, which can make subsequent purification of the combustion exhaust

stream more efficient. The water in the combustion exhaust stream can be removed by condensation,

and the carbon dioxide can be sequestered. For example, compressed carbon dioxide can be

sequestered by pumping it into depleted underground oil and natural gas reservoirs or saline aquifers

for long-term storage rather than being vented into the atmosphere. Alternatively, the carbon dioxide

can be used for enhanced oil recovery (EOR).

[0006] After the combustion exhaust stream is compressed for carbon dioxide separation and

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sequestration, the resulting pressurized waste stream is usually vented to the atmosphere or expanded

to drive a turbine for power generation. This waste stream, however, has a relatively high

concentration of argon (e.g., ten- to twenty-eight-fold increase in argon concentration) as compared

to air, and such an argon-enriched gas stream can have significant value in terms of both the value of

argon and the ability to recover argon from the stream with less cost and greater efficiency.

[0007] Accordingly, there is an unmet need for improved, cost-effective systems and processes

that enable an argon gas stream to be recovered from hydrocarbon furnace exhaust streams.

[0008]

[0009] BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] The present invention will hereinafter be described in conjunction with the appended

drawing figures wherein like numerals denote like elements.

[0011] Figure 1 is a block diagram of a production system in accordance with a first exemplary

embodiment of the invention.

[0012] Figure 2 is a block diagram of a production system in accordance with a second

exemplary embodiment of the invention.

[0013] Figure 3 is a block diagram of a production system in accordance with a third exemplary

embodiment of the invention.

[0014] Figure 4 is a block diagram of a production system in accordance with a fourth exemplary

embod...