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The removal of carbon dioxide with activated solutions of methyl-diethanol-amine

By E. P. van Elk, S. van Loo and G. F. Versteeg


The (bulk) removal of carbon-dioxide (CO2) from industrial gases, e.g. natural gas, is usually realized with a reactive absorption technique in which (non-)aqueous solutions of alkanolamines are used. From the absorption rate point of view, primary or secondary amines are preferred. However, in case the costs of regeneration are also taken into account, tertiary amines are much more attractive. In order to combine the specific properties of tertiary and primary/secondary alkanolamines respectively, mixtures of both types of compounds are used. A well known example is the activated methyl-di-ethanol-amine (MDEA)-process in which MDEA is mixed with (small amounts) of piperazine. In this paper mixtures of MDEA with several activators, being primary and secondary amines, are studied with respect to the performance of CO2 removal from natural gas. The absorption process in a tray column has been simulated. For a number of default cases the impact of the activator on the total number of trays has been calculated. From these simulations the optimal number of trays in combination with the amount of activator-addition can be established. Furthermore, insight is obtained on the mechanism of the absorption steps in mixed amine solutions. It is demonstrated that the working action of the accelerator, the fast reacting amine, is substantially influenced by the partial pressures of carbon dioxide in the gas mixture. Moreover, this effect is strongly depending on the molar fraction of the accelerator.

Year: 2007
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