23 November 2017
Dehydrating natural gas using less heat
Published online 6 June 2017
Researchers present a new energy-saving technique for removing water vapor from natural gas.
Scientists invent a new method that dehydrates natural gas at a temperature as low as 105 °C — a departure from previous methods that use adsorbents that need heating at 250 °C.
Natural gas needs to be dried of water before it’s transported — a process that is typically heat intensive because of the use of energy-consuming microporous adsorbents. But an international team of researchers have come up with a way around this: using a fluorinated metal-organic framework with nickel metal centers1.
“The ability to design and construct a made-to-order adsorbent that can selectively and energy-efficiently remove water from gases and vapors is a tour-de-force in MOF chemistry,” says Mohamed Eddaoudi, director of Advanced Membranes and Porous Materials Research Center at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, and co-author of this study.
The material that Eddaoudi and his peers have developed can capture water molecules from different gases, such as CO2, N2, CH4, in addition to higher hydrocarbons typical of natural gas. It only needs a thermal pre-treatment of 105 °C; nearly half of what is needed to pretreat commonly used dehydrating agents such as zeolites.
“This platform is highly versatile and can be adjusted depending on the targeted applications,” says Eddaoudi. “MOF chemistry is at a mature stage and can afford the design of porous materials that can address enduring challenges facing our society pertaining to energy and environmental sustainability.”
- Cadiau, A. et al. Hydrolytically stable fluorinated metal-organic frameworks for energy-efficient dehydration. Science 356, 731–735 (2017)