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Automatically varying the composition of a mixed refrigerant solution for single mixed refrigerant LNG (liquefied natural gas) process at changing working conditions

Xiongwen Xu, Jinping Liu, Le Cao and Weiqiang Pang

Energy, 2014, vol. 64, issue C, 931-941

Abstract: The SMR (single mixed refrigerant) process is widely used in the small- and medium-scale liquefaction of NG (natural gas). Operating the MR (mixed-refrigerant) process outside of the design specifications is difficult but essential to save energy. Nevertheless, it is difficult to realize because the process needs to alter the working refrigerant composition. To address this challenge, this study investigated the performance diagnosis mechanism for SMR process. A control strategy was then proposed to control the changes in working refrigerant composition under different working conditions. This strategy separates the working refrigerant flow in the SMR process into three flows through two phase separators before it flows into the cold box. The first liquid flow is rich in the high-temperature component (isopentane). The second liquid flow is rich in the middle-temperature components (ethylene and propane), and the gas flow is rich in the low-temperature components (nitrogen and methane). By adjusting the flow rates, it is easy to decouple the control variables and automate the system. Finally, this approach was validated by process simulation and shown to be highly adaptive and exergy efficient in response to changing working conditions.

Keywords: Natural gas liquefaction; Mixed refrigerant; Composition; Working condition; Control solution (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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