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Publication Date: 2003-Jun-30

Publishing Venue

The Prior Art Database


The present invention relates to the separation of multicomponent mixtures. In particular, the present invention relates to separation equipment that is subjected to physical movement or mis-alignment during operation. The increased interest in recovering and processing hydrocarbon reserves using equipment mounted on ships or platforms at sea has led to the need for distillation equipment that can operate stably and reliably under dynamic conditions. Dynamic conditions means that the processing equipment is subjected to physical movement or is mis-aligned from the vertical plane during operation. The most common dynamic conditions are complex marine motions that result in tilting, acceleration, vertical and lateral movements of the equipment. Other dynamic conditions include movement of equipment located on aircraft or on mobile land-based transporters. An example of mis-alignment is a permanent tilt, characterized as an equipment item's vertical centerline not being perpendicular to a level baseline. As an example of processing hydrocarbon reserves, Gas-to-Liquids technologies often require industrial gases to be supplied from a cryogenic air separation process. An example of an industrial gas used in Gas-to-Liquids processes is the supply of an enriched oxygen stream for the partial oxidation of natural gas to synthesis gas, a first step in the conversion process. Cost and energy efficiency favor the use of low to medium pressure distillation and low stage pressure drops in one or more (typically two) distillation columns to generate enriched oxygen in a cryogenic air separation process. In addition to air separation, cryogenic distillation technology can be employed in the pre-treatment of hydrocarbon feed streams and for post-reaction treatment of product streams to separate hydrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and other light components for recycling, use in downstream processes (e.g., hydrotreating), or as saleable products.