US3274787A - Method for cooling a gaseous mixture to a low temperature - Google Patents

Method for cooling a gaseous mixture to a low temperature Download PDF

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Publication number
US3274787A
US3274787A US484541A US48454165A US3274787A US 3274787 A US3274787 A US 3274787A US 484541 A US484541 A US 484541A US 48454165 A US48454165 A US 48454165A US 3274787 A US3274787 A US 3274787A
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United States
Prior art keywords
conduit
exchanger
mixture
gaseous mixture
pressure
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US484541A
Inventor
Grenier Maurice
Petit Pierre
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Air Liquide SA
LAir Liquide SA pour lEtude et lExploitation des Procedes Georges Claude
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Air Liquide SA
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Priority to FR863820A priority Critical patent/FR1302989A/en
Priority to FR872325A priority patent/FR80294E/en
Priority to FR988679A priority patent/FR86485E/en
Application filed by Air Liquide SA filed Critical Air Liquide SA
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of US3274787A publication Critical patent/US3274787A/en
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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25JLIQUEFACTION, SOLIDIFICATION OR SEPARATION OF GASES OR GASEOUS OR LIQUEFIED GASEOUS MIXTURES BY PRESSURE AND COLD TREATMENT OR BY BRINGING THEM INTO THE SUPERCRITICAL STATE
    • F25J3/00Processes or apparatus for separating the constituents of gaseous or liquefied gaseous mixtures involving the use of liquefaction or solidification
    • F25J3/02Processes or apparatus for separating the constituents of gaseous or liquefied gaseous mixtures involving the use of liquefaction or solidification by rectification, i.e. by continuous interchange of heat and material between a vapour stream and a liquid stream
    • F25J3/0228Processes or apparatus for separating the constituents of gaseous or liquefied gaseous mixtures involving the use of liquefaction or solidification by rectification, i.e. by continuous interchange of heat and material between a vapour stream and a liquid stream characterised by the separated product stream
    • F25J3/0257Processes or apparatus for separating the constituents of gaseous or liquefied gaseous mixtures involving the use of liquefaction or solidification by rectification, i.e. by continuous interchange of heat and material between a vapour stream and a liquid stream characterised by the separated product stream separation of nitrogen
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C07ORGANIC CHEMISTRY
    • C07CACYCLIC OR CARBOCYCLIC COMPOUNDS
    • C07C7/00Purification; Separation; Use of additives
    • C07C7/09Purification; Separation; Use of additives by fractional condensation
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C08ORGANIC MACROMOLECULAR COMPOUNDS; THEIR PREPARATION OR CHEMICAL WORKING-UP; COMPOSITIONS BASED THEREON
    • C08GMACROMOLECULAR COMPOUNDS OBTAINED OTHERWISE THAN BY REACTIONS ONLY INVOLVING UNSATURATED CARBON-TO-CARBON BONDS
    • C08G77/00Macromolecular compounds obtained by reactions forming a linkage containing silicon with or without sulfur, nitrogen, oxygen or carbon in the main chain of the macromolecule
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C10PETROLEUM, GAS OR COKE INDUSTRIES; TECHNICAL GASES CONTAINING CARBON MONOXIDE; FUELS; LUBRICANTS; PEAT
    • C10GCRACKING HYDROCARBON OILS; PRODUCTION OF LIQUID HYDROCARBON MIXTURES, e.g. BY DESTRUCTIVE HYDROGENATION, OLIGOMERISATION, POLYMERISATION; RECOVERY OF HYDROCARBON OILS FROM OIL-SHALE, OIL-SAND, OR GASES; REFINING MIXTURES MAINLY CONSISTING OF HYDROCARBONS; REFORMING OF NAPHTHA; MINERAL WAXES
    • C10G5/00Recovery of liquid hydrocarbon mixtures from gases, e.g. natural gas
    • C10G5/06Recovery of liquid hydrocarbon mixtures from gases, e.g. natural gas by cooling or compressing
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    • F25J1/0002Processes or apparatus for liquefying or solidifying gases or gaseous mixtures characterised by the fluid to be liquefied
    • F25J1/0022Hydrocarbons, e.g. natural gas
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    • F25J1/003Processes or apparatus for liquefying or solidifying gases or gaseous mixtures characterised by the kind of cold generation within the liquefaction unit for compensating heat leaks and liquid production
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    • F25J1/0202Processes or apparatus for liquefying or solidifying gases or gaseous mixtures requiring the use of refrigeration, e.g. of helium or hydrogen Details and kind of the refrigeration system used; Integration with other units or processes; Controlling aspects of the process using only internal refrigeration means, i.e. without external refrigeration in a quasi-closed internal refrigeration loop
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    • F25J1/0211Processes or apparatus for liquefying or solidifying gases or gaseous mixtures requiring the use of refrigeration, e.g. of helium or hydrogen Details and kind of the refrigeration system used; Integration with other units or processes; Controlling aspects of the process using a multi-component refrigerant [MCR] fluid in a closed vapor compression cycle
    • F25J1/0212Processes or apparatus for liquefying or solidifying gases or gaseous mixtures requiring the use of refrigeration, e.g. of helium or hydrogen Details and kind of the refrigeration system used; Integration with other units or processes; Controlling aspects of the process using a multi-component refrigerant [MCR] fluid in a closed vapor compression cycle as a single flow MCR cycle
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    • F25J1/0229Integration with a unit for using hydrocarbons, e.g. consuming hydrocarbons as feed stock
    • F25J1/0231Integration with a unit for using hydrocarbons, e.g. consuming hydrocarbons as feed stock for the working-up of the hydrocarbon feed, e.g. reinjection of heavier hydrocarbons into the liquefied gas
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    • F25J1/0228Coupling of the liquefaction unit to other units or processes, so-called integrated processes
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    • F25J1/0279Compression of refrigerant or internal recycle fluid, e.g. kind of compressor, accumulator, suction drum etc.
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    • F25J3/0204Processes or apparatus for separating the constituents of gaseous or liquefied gaseous mixtures involving the use of liquefaction or solidification by rectification, i.e. by continuous interchange of heat and material between a vapour stream and a liquid stream characterised by the feed stream
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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25JLIQUEFACTION, SOLIDIFICATION OR SEPARATION OF GASES OR GASEOUS OR LIQUEFIED GASEOUS MIXTURES BY PRESSURE AND COLD TREATMENT OR BY BRINGING THEM INTO THE SUPERCRITICAL STATE
    • F25J2205/00Processes or apparatus using other separation and/or other processing means
    • F25J2205/02Processes or apparatus using other separation and/or other processing means using simple phase separation in a vessel or drum
    • F25J2205/04Processes or apparatus using other separation and/or other processing means using simple phase separation in a vessel or drum in the feed line, i.e. upstream of the fractionation step
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25JLIQUEFACTION, SOLIDIFICATION OR SEPARATION OF GASES OR GASEOUS OR LIQUEFIED GASEOUS MIXTURES BY PRESSURE AND COLD TREATMENT OR BY BRINGING THEM INTO THE SUPERCRITICAL STATE
    • F25J2215/00Processes characterised by the type or other details of the product stream
    • F25J2215/04Recovery of liquid products
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25JLIQUEFACTION, SOLIDIFICATION OR SEPARATION OF GASES OR GASEOUS OR LIQUEFIED GASEOUS MIXTURES BY PRESSURE AND COLD TREATMENT OR BY BRINGING THEM INTO THE SUPERCRITICAL STATE
    • F25J2215/00Processes characterised by the type or other details of the product stream
    • F25J2215/64Propane or propylene
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25JLIQUEFACTION, SOLIDIFICATION OR SEPARATION OF GASES OR GASEOUS OR LIQUEFIED GASEOUS MIXTURES BY PRESSURE AND COLD TREATMENT OR BY BRINGING THEM INTO THE SUPERCRITICAL STATE
    • F25J2215/00Processes characterised by the type or other details of the product stream
    • F25J2215/66Butane or mixed butanes
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25JLIQUEFACTION, SOLIDIFICATION OR SEPARATION OF GASES OR GASEOUS OR LIQUEFIED GASEOUS MIXTURES BY PRESSURE AND COLD TREATMENT OR BY BRINGING THEM INTO THE SUPERCRITICAL STATE
    • F25J2270/00Refrigeration techniques used
    • F25J2270/12External refrigeration with liquid vaporising loop
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25JLIQUEFACTION, SOLIDIFICATION OR SEPARATION OF GASES OR GASEOUS OR LIQUEFIED GASEOUS MIXTURES BY PRESSURE AND COLD TREATMENT OR BY BRINGING THEM INTO THE SUPERCRITICAL STATE
    • F25J2290/00Other details not covered by groups F25J2200/00 - F25J2280/00
    • F25J2290/34Details about subcooling of liquids

Description

Sept. 27, 1966 M. GRENIER ETAL 3,274,787

METHOD FOR COOLING A GASEOUS MIXTURE TO A LOW TEMPERATURE Filed Sept. 2, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet l l 1966 M. GRENIER ETAL 3,274,787

METHOD FOR COOLING A GASEOUS MIXTURE TO A LOW TEMPERATURE Filed Sept. 2, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Avrawnz:

Arr Vs.

United States Patent 3,274,787 METHOD FOR COOLING A GASEOUS MIXTURE TO A LOW TEMPERATURE Maurice Grenier, Paris, and Pierre Petit, Chatenay Malabry, France, assignors to LAir Liquide, Societe Anonyme pour lEtude et lExploitation des Procedes Georges Claude Filed Sept. 2, 1965, Ser. No. 484,541 Claims priority, application France, Sept. 18, 1964, 388,679, Patent 86,485 7 Claims. (Cl. 62-23) The invention relates to a method for cooling a gaseous mixture to low temperatures and producing at least one constituent of this mixture in the liquid state, wherein the gaseous mixture is subjected to a fractionate condensation, and the constituent to be produced in the liquid state, after its condensation, is expanded to the pressure at which it is to be produced, then is wholly withdrawn, while at least one of the condensed fractions is expanded and vaporized in heat exchange with the gaseous mixture undergoing fractionate condensation, under a higher pressure than the pressure of withdrawal of the constituent to be produced in the liquid state, then recompressed and reunited to the gaseous mixture to be cooled, characterised in that said gaseous mixture is used as a frigorific fluid within a cooling cycle providing the condensation of a second gaseous mixture consisting of the same main components, and during its cooling is not added to said second gaseous mixture until at a temperature level low enough so that the constituent to be produced in the liquid state be at least mostly condensed within said second gaseous mixture.

It further comprises the following features, either individually or in any combination:

(1) If the gaseous mixture is available at a compara tively high pressure, the vaporized fraction is recompressed only to a lower pressure than that of the gaseous mixture, then cooled independently thereof, and is added to the latter only at a temperature level at which the constituent of the gaseous mixture of gases to be separated in the liquid state is already liquefied at least for its major portion;

(2) The gaseous mixture is used as refrigerating fluid passing through a closed cycle to ensure the fractionated condensation of another gaseous mixture comprising the same main constituents,wherein all the expanded and vaporized fractions coming from the first mixture of gases are reunited so as to reconstitute the first mixture of gases after their reheating and recompression;

(3) At least a part of a fraction separated during the fractionated condensation of the other gaseous mixture is reunited with the fraction expanded during the vaporizing of the first gaseous mixture so as to compensate for losses in the circuit of the latter and/ or to adjust its composition;

(4) At least one part of a fraction separated during the fractionated condensation of the first mixture of gases, acting as refrigerating fluid, is combined with a fraction separated from the other mixture of gases so as to adjust the composition of the first mixture.

The improvement of the invention, and especially that according to (1), makes it possible to use better the cold output resulting from the free expansion of the gaseous mixture of which one constituent is to be produced in the liquid state, without, however, effecting the recycling of the fraction or fractions revaporized and recompressed under a pressure which is economically too high.

The improvement according to (2) facilitates the control of an installation for carrying out the method and provides smaller heat exchange surfaces. Combined with the variations according to (3) and possibly (4), it makes 3,274,787 Patented Sept. 27, 1966 it possible to adapt the composition of the recycled gas to that of the gaseous mixture, of which one constituent is to be produced in the liquid state, in the case in which a gaseous mixture of variable composition is being treated.

The invention will be further described, by way of non-limitative example with reference to the accompanying drawings, showing two installations for liquefying natural gas and comprising the improvements defined above.

FIG. 1 shows an installation for liquefying natural gas in which the latter, available at a comparatively high pressure, is expanded to a pressure equal to that of the recycled gas and is added thereto only after the major part of the methane it contains has been liquefied.

FIG. 2 shows an installation for liquefying natural gas in which the recycled gas passes through a closed circuit which is substantially independent of the natural gas circuit, and the connections between the natural gas circuit and the recycled gas circuit serve only to compensate the losses in the latter and to adjust its composition.

The installation of FIG. 1 comprises substantially cooling and liquefying exchangers, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15, common to the circuits for the natural gas to be liquefied and for the recycling gas, a fractionating column 16, or degassing column, in which nitrogen is removed from the liquefied mixture, and fractionating columns 82 and 92 in which the heavy hydrocarbons (butane, propane) are separated.

The natural gas to be liquefied, available at 30 C. and at an absolute pressure of 50 bars absolute and having for example, the following composition:

Percent by volume Methane Ethane 7 Propane 3 Butanes 3 Nitrogen and other light gases 2 is introduced through a conduit 1 into the exchanger 10 where it is cooled to about -l2 C., concurrently with the gas recycled at high pressure and a liquid fraction rich in butanes separated from the latter, and in indirect heat exchange with the gas recycled at low pressure. The cooled mixture is already partly liquefied and passes through the conduit 2 to an exchanger 11 where it is cooled to 48 C. in heat exchange with the recycled gas; its condensation continues.

The liquid-gas mixture which results is then passed through a conduit 3 to an exchanger 12 where it is cooled down to -72 C.; it is then completely liquefied. It is then expanded in a valve 23 to about 7 bars absolute pressure, mixed with the recycled gas supplied through a conduit 116 and introduced through a conduit 24 into a separator 25. The liquid collected at the bottom of the separator passes through a conduit 26 into an exchanger 13 where it is undercooled to about 85 C. and then recombined through the conduit 27 and an expanding valve 28 with the volatile recycled gas at the cold and of the exchanger 14. The gas coming from the separator 25 passes through a conduit 29 to the exchanger 13 where it is cooled to 97" C.; a substantial part liquefies. The mixture of liquid and vapor passes through the conduit 32 into the separator 33. The liquid accumulating at the 'bottom of the separator and comparatively rich in ethane passes through a conduit 34 to an exchanger 15 where it is undercooled to about 127 C. It is removed through a conduit 35. A fraction may be recombined through an expanding valve 36 with the volatile gas rich in nitrogen issuing from the degasing tower 16. The other fraction passes through a conduit 37 and an expanding valve 38 to 7 bars to the top of the dethe final undercooling of the natural gas product.

gassing tower 16 where nitrogen and other highly volatile gases are removed.

The gaseous fraction removed from the separator 33 through the conduit 39 is again partly refrigerated and condensed in the reflux type exchanger 14. The formed liquid consisting substantially of methane and containing little ethane is passed through the conduit 40 to the exchanger 15 where it is undercooled to about 127 C., then through a conduit 41 and the 7 bars expanding valve 42 into the upper part of the tower 16. The residual nonliquefied gas in the exchanger 14 is evacuated through a conduit 43. A part is expanded near atmospheric pressure in the valve 44 and recombined through a conduit 56 with the residual mixture of methane and nitrogen, to be evacuated prior to its reheating. The other part flows through the conduit 45 into the coil 46 located in the sump of the degasing tower 16 where it is liquefied whilst heating the'bottom of this column. It passes then through a conduit 47 into an exchanger 48, where it is undercooled concurrently with the natural liquefied gas. This portion is evacuated through .a conduit 49 and is then divided into two fractions. The first fraction, expanded in a valve 50 at about 7 bars, is passed in counter-current through the exchanger 48 where it effects the undercooli-ng of the liquid and then recomhines through the conduit 4 with the vapours discharged at the head of the degasing tower 16. The second fraction passes through a conduit 51 into an exchanger 52 where it is again undercooled, then in counter-current through the same heat exchanger through a conduit 53 and an expanding valve 54 to near atmospheric pressure. This produces It is then evacuated through a conduit 55 to an exchanger 57 through which it passes after addition of the first part of the residual gas already mentioned through the conduit '56. After reheating in this exchanger and then in the exchanger 86, to which it is supplied through a conduit 58, in heat exchange with the heavier hydrocarbons (propane, butanes) which are to he added to the liquefied natural gas, it is removed through a conduit 59 and is used, for example, as fuel for boilers, owing to its high methane content.

The liquid introduced into the degasing tower 16 is here separated into a liquid product free from nitrogen, withdrawn from the vessel through a conduit 60, and into vapours rich in nitrogen, removed from the top through a conduit 64. The liquid product is undercooled in the exchanger 48. After the addition of heavier liquid hydrocarbons separated in the fractionating column 92 through the expanding valve 95, it is subjected to a further undercool-ing in the exchanger 52. The liquefied and undercooled gas is finally expanded in the valve 63 to near atmospheric pressure for its introduction into the storage tank (not shown).

The vapours rich in nitrogen, taken from the top of the tower 16 through the conduit 64, are added through the conduit 4 to the fraction vaporized in the exchanger 48 and then through the expanding valve 36 to a fraction of the liquid coming from the separator 33 and undercooled in the exchanger 15. The whole is then vaporized and reheated in the exchanger 15, leaves the same through a conduit 121, is added through the expanding valve 28 to the liquid recovered in the separator 25 and undercooled in the exchanger 13. The whole is vaporized and reheated in the exchanger 14 and passes through the conduit 123 to the exchanger 13 Where it is further reheated. It flows then through the conduit 124 into the exchanger -12, after addition through the expanding valve 114 of the liquid recovered in the separator 112 and undercooled in the exchanger 12. The mixture of gas and liquid is vaporized and reheated in the exchanger 12, flows then through the conduit 126 to the exchanger 11, after addition through the expanding valve 108 and conduit 109 of the liquid recovered in the separator 106 and undercooled in the exchanger 11. The mixtureof gas and liquid is vaporized and reheated in the exchanger 11, passes then through the conduit 127 into the exchanger 10 after addition through the conduit 89 of part of the liquid recovered in the separator 75 and of liquid and gaseous fractions coming from the :fractionating columns 82 and 92, the operation of which is described further below. The mixture of gas and. liquid is vaporized and heated near ambient temperature in the exchanger 10 and is then evacuated through the conduit 128.

The gaseous mixture formed in this way and reheated is then compressed by a turbo-compressor 70 to a pressure of about 30 bars. The compressed mixture passes through a conduit 71 to a cooler 72 equipped with a water cooling coil 73. A fraction consisting mainly of heavy hydrocarbons is condensed and arrives with the remaining gas through the conduit 74 in the separator 75.

The liquid rich in butanes, recovered at the bottom of the separator, passes through the conduit 76 into the exchanger 10 where it is undercooled and from which it is removed through the conduit 77. It is then divided into two parts. A first part is expanded in the valve 83 and combined with difierent other expanded liquid and gaseous fractions, whose origin will be discussed below, and is introduced therewith into the recycled gaseous low-pressure mixture at the cold end of the exchanger 10. The second part is expanded in the valve 78 to about 15 bars and then introduced through the conduit 79 into the fractionating column 82.

In the column 82, heated at the bottom by a steam coil 84, the liquid fraction is separated into comparatively volatile vapours and a residual liquid. The vapours pass through the conduit to the exchanger 86 where they are cooled in heat exchange with the residual mixture of nitrogen and methane, and are then returned through the conduit 87, the expanding valve 88 and the conduit 89 to the low pressure gas mixture at the cold end of the exchanger 10. h

The liquid removed from the bottom of the column 82 through the conduit 90 is expanded in the valve 91 to about 12 bars and introduced into the fractionating column 92. In this column, equipped at the bottom with a steam coil 31 and at the head with a circulating water cooler 101, a liquid fraction rich in butanes is separated, withdrawn through the conduit 96 and, after cooling in the cooler 97, equipped with a water coil 98, passed through the conduit 99 to the expanding valve 100, then through the conduits 30 and 89 to the cold end of the exchanger 10.

The more volatile fraction, rich in propane, condensed in the cooler 101 is evacuated through the conduit 93. It is undercooled in the exchanger 86 by heat exchange with the residual nitrogen-methane mixture and flows then through the conduit 94 to the exchanger 57 where it is cooled again by the same mixture. It is then expanded in the valve to the pressure of 7 bars and recombined with the liquid methane at the cold end of the exchanger 48.

The residual gas withdrawn from the head of the column 92 is combined through the conduit 102 and the expanding valve 103 to 7 bars to the liquid and gaseous low pressure fractions recycled at the cold end of the exchanger 10.

The gas mixture remaining in the separator 75 passes through the conduit 104 into the exchanger 10 Where it is cooled and partly condensed, then through the conduit 105 to the separator 106. The liquid fraction rich in butanes and propane recovered from the separator passes through the conduit 107 to the exchanger 11 where it is undercooled, then expanded in the valve 108, and recombined through the conduit 109 with the gaseous mixture recycled at low pressure at the cold end of the exchanger 11.

The gas mixture remaining in the head of the separator 106 passes through the conduit 110 into the exchanger 11 and leaves the same through the conduit 111.

A liquid fraction rich in propane and ethane is recovered in the separator 112. This fraction is passed through the conduit 113 into the exchanger 12 and after being undercooled in the same, is expanded in the valve 114 and added to the low pressure gas mixture at the cold end of the exchanger 12.

Finally, the residual gas withdrawn from the head of the separator 112 is introduced through the conduit 115 into the exchanger 12 where it is partly liquefied and then added through the conduit 116 to the liquefied natural gas expanded in the valve 23 and introduced together therewith through the conduit 24 into the separator 25.

The installation of FIG. 2 comprises substantially the cooling and liquefying exchangers 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14, common to the natural gas and recycling gas circuits which are here completely separate, the tower 16 for extracting nitrogen from the liquefied natural gas and the fractionating columns 209, 293 and 297 for separating from the natural gas a fraction of heavy hydrocarbons before combining them with the liquid methane.

The natural gas to be liquefied, available at ambient temperature and at a pressure of about 50 bars, having a composition similar to that indicated above and contain ing also some C and C hydrocarbons, arrives through the conduit 201 in the exchanger 10 where it is cooled to 12 C. and slightly condensed. It passes then through the conduit 205 into a separator 206. The condensate enriched in heavy hydrocarbons, passes through the conduit 207 and the expansion valve 208 to 15 bars to the head of a rectification column 209.

The column 209, heated at the bottom by a steam coil 291, separates the introduced liquid fraction into methane and ethane vapours and a liquid residual. The vapours withdrawn from the head through the conduit 305 are passed to an exchanger 282 where they are cooled by exchange with a residual methane and nitrogen mixture, whose origin will be explained further below. Withdrawn therefrom through conduit 309, they are then expanded to about 10 bars absolute in the valve 317 and after addition of heavier hydrocarbons (propane, butane, C hydrocarbons) are liquefied and undercooled in the exchanger 280 in exchange with the same residual mixture, and finally are added through the conduit 320 to the liquid methane coming from the degasing tower 16.

One may divert a liquefied fraction of ethane and methane upstream of the expanding valve 317 and expand the same in a valve 310 to about 7 bars and add it through conduits 311, 312 and 241 to other hydrocarbons fractions which are recycled to the cold end of the exchanger 10.

The residual liquid separated in the sump of the column 209 is expanded in the valve 292 and introduced into a centre zone of the fractionating column 293, equipped with a water condenser and heated by a steam coil 294 which separates it into propane and lighter hydrocarbons on the one hand, and a fraction rich in butanes and heavier hydrocarbons on the other hand.

The propane condensed in the condenser 295 at the head of the column 293 is withdrawn through the conduit 318, then expanded in the valve 319 to 10 bars and added through the valve 304 to C liquid hydrocarbons (and heavier) then added to the liquid methane and ethane mixture already mentioned at the warm end of the exchanger 280 for being undercooled and combined with the liquefied methane.

The uncondensable vapours coming from the head of the column 293 through the conduit 306 are expanded in the valve 307 to 7 bars and combined with the other recycled fractions at the cold end of the exchanger 10 through the conduit 241.

The liquid rich in butanes, taken from the bottom of the column 293, is expanded to 10 bars in the valve 296 and introduced into the fractionating column 297. This separates the butanes and lighter hydrocarbons from the C and heavier hydrocarbons (benzoles). It has also a 6 steam coil 298 for heating the sump and a water condenser 299.

The butanes condensed in the cooler 299 are withdrawn through the conduit 313 and expanded in the valve 314 to about 7 bars, then after adding through the expanding valve 315 the uncondensable gases coming from the head of the column 297, combined through the conduits 316, 312 and 241 with the other recycled fractions at the cold end of the exchanger 10 to compensate for inevitable butane and propane losses in the cycling gas.

The C and heavier hydrocarbons withdrawn from the base of the column 297 pass through the conduit 300 to a cooler 301 with a circulating water coil 302 and after undercooling therein are combined through the conduit 3 03 and the valve 304 With the liquid propane fraction at the warm end of the exchanger 280.

The remaining natural gas evacuated from the separator 206 through the conduit 210 is further cooled in the exchanger 11 to about 47 C., passes then through the conduit 211 into the exchanger 12 where it is cooled to about -78 C. and liquefied. It then flows through the conduit 212 into the exchanger 13 Where it is undercooled to l05 C. It passes then through the conduit 213 to the coil 214 arranged in the sump of the degasing tower 16 where it is undercooled and heats the column. It is finally expanded in the valve 215 to about 10 bars and introduced in to the centre part of this column.

In addition to the heating coil 216, the column 16 is equipped with a condenser 267 cooled by vaporizing a nitrogen-methane mixture boiling at C. at 7 bars and coming from the closed cooling cycle. The liquefied natural gas is here separated into a liquid fnaction practically free from nitrogen and nitrogen-rich vapours.

The liquid withdrawn from the base of the column 16 is passed through the conduit 220 to the sub-cooling exchanger 221. After addition of the previously separated and then undercooled heavier hydrocarbons through the conduit 320, the liquid is undercooled to about 161 C. in the exchanger 221 in exchange of heat with the methane-nitrogen cycle mixture and then expanded in the valve 222 at the inlet of the storage tank (not shown).

The methane and nitrogen vapours uncondensed in the condenser 267 of the tower 16 are extracted through the conduit 227 and passed successively through the conduits 278 and 281 to the exchangers 280 and 282 where they are reheated to near ambient temperature, then expanded in the valve 283 and removed through the conduit 284 for use, for example, as fuel.

In view to reduce the nitrogen content of the cycling gas it is possible to add to these vapours through the expanding valve 270 a fraction of the gas coming from the separator 262 prior to its entry into the exchanger 14. Similarly, in order to increase the nitrogen content in the cycling gas, it is possible to remove a fraction of these methane and nitrogen vapours, to expand them in the valve 285 and to add them to the gas mixture coming from the condenser 267 of the degasing tower prior to vaporization and reheating in the exchanger 14.

The circuit of the gas mixture acting as refrigerating fluid is as follows:

The gas mixture is compressed by a turbo-compressor 230 to a pressure of about 30 bars absolute. It is then cooled in the cooler 231 with a circulating water coil 232 to about +30 C. and passed through the conduit 233 to the separator 244.

The liquid recovered in the separator is introduced through the conduit 235 into the exchanger 10 where it is undercooled to about -12 C. After evacuation through the conduit 236, it is combined through the expanding valve 239 at 6 bars and the conduits 240 and 241 with the low-pressure recycled gas arriving through the conduit 289 at the cold end of the exchanger 10 for being vaporized so as to contribute to the cooling effect of this exchanger. However, a fraction may be passed through the expanding valve 237 and the conduit 238 to the fractioning column 209 for regulating the composition of the gas mixture of the refrigerating cycle, if the same contains too much high boiling products.

The gas mixture of the cycle leaves the separator 234 through the conduit 242, is then cooled in the exchanger 10 to about 12 C. and undergoes partial condensation. It passes then through the conduit 243 to the separator 244. The liquid fraction recovered in the separator passes through the conduit 245 to the exchanger 11 where it is undercooled to 47 C. and is then combined through the conduit 246 and the expanding valve 247 with the low pressure recycling gas at the cold end of the exchanger 11.

The cycling gas remaining passes through the conduit 248 to the exchanger 11 where it is cooled to 47 C. and again partly condensed, and then through the conduit 249 to the separator 250. The recovered liquid fraction flows from this separator through the conduit 251 to the exchanger 12 where it is undercooled to about 78 C., is then combined through the conduit 252 and the expanding valve 253 to the cold low-pressure cycling gas at the cold end of the exchanger 12.

The cycling gas removed from the head of the separator 250 through the conduit 254 is cooled again to 78 C. and partly condensed in the exchanger 12. It is introduced through the conduit 255 into the separator 256. The liquid fraction recovered in this separator passes through the conduit 257 to the exchanger 13 Where it is undercooled to about 105 C. and then combined through the conduit 258 and the expanding valve 259 with the low-pressure cold recycling gas at the cold end of the exchanger 13.

The remaining cycling gas evacuated from the head of the separator 256 through the conduit 260 is cooled to 105" C. and mainly condensed in the exchanger 13, and then passed through the conduit 261 to the separator 262. The liquid recovered in this separator is introduced through the conduit 263 into the exchanger 14 where it is undercooled to about 132 C. and then through the conduit 264, the expanding valve 265 and the conduit 266 to the condenser 267 at the head of the degasing tower 16, after addition through the conduit 275 of another rnethane-nitrogen fraction, the origin of which will be explained below.

The residual gas from the separator 262 is evacuated through the conduit 269 towards the exchanger 14 where it is cooled to about -132 C. and condensed. The liquid flows through the conduit 272 to the exchanger 221. It is first undercooled concurrently with the liquefied natural gas, then passed in countercurrent through the conduit 273 and the expansion valve 274 to 7 bars through the same exchanger, ensuring the undercooling of both these liquids to about -160 C. After partial vaporization it is added through the conduit 275 to the liquid introduced through the conduit 266 into the condenser 267 of the degasing tower 16.

The nitrogenamet'hane mixture already partly vaporized in the condenser 267 and evacuated through the conduit 268 flows to the cold end of the exchanger 14- and is totally vaporized and reheated. The gaseous low-pressure recycling mixture is then introduced successively into the exchangers 1'3, 1 2, 11, and 10 through the conduits 286, 28-7, 288 and 289, after addition of condensed and undercooled liquid fractions coming from the separators 256, 250, 244 and 234 as indicated above. After Warming up to ambient temperature the gaseous cycling mixture passes through the conduit 290 to the turbo-compressor 230.

What we claim is:

1. In a method for cooling a gaseous mixture to low temperature and producing at least one constituent of this mixture in liquid phase, comprising subjecting a first gaseous mixture to a fraction'ate condensation in a plurality of heat-exchange stages with at least one of the condensed fractions being expanded to a first pressure and vaporized in heat exchange with said first gaseous mixture undergoing fractionate condensation, expanding to a second pressure said at least one constituent after its condensation and withdrawing said expanded constituent as product, said first pressure being substantially higher than said second pressure, thereafter recompressing said at least one fraction to a third pressure substantially higher than said first pressure, and recombining said recompressed fraction with said first gaseous mixture; the improvement comprising progressively cooling a second gaseous mixture in a plurality of heat-exchange stages with said first mixture, said second mixture having the same main components as said first mixture, and maintaining said first gaseous mixture with said second gaseous mixture separate at least until they are under conditions of temperature and pressure such that said constituent to be produced in liquid phase is at least mostly condensed within said second gaseous mixture and said at least one condensed fraction has been withdrawn from said first gaseous mixture for expansion and vaporization.

2. A method as claimed in claim 1, said second gaseous mixture being initially at a fourth pressure substantially higher than said third pressure.

3. A method as claimed in claim 1, in which said first gaseous mixture flows within a closed'cycle and all the expanded and vaporized fractions separated from said first gaseous mixture are reunited to reconstitute said first gaseous mixture.

4. A method as claimed in claim 3, in which said second gaseous mixture is subjected to a fractionate condensation, and adding at least a part of a fraction separated from said second gaseous mixture during fractionate condensation to an expanded fraction of said first gaseous mixture undergoing vaporization, thereby to compensate for losses in said closed cycle and to adjust its composition.

5. A method as claimed in claim 3, and adding at least a fraction separated during the fractionate condensation of said first gaseous mixture to a fraction separated from said second gaseous mixture at such a flow rate as to adjust the composition of said first gaseous mixture.

6. A method of utilizing a first gaseous mixture at relatively low pressure to refrigerate a second gaseous mixture at relatively high pressure, comprising establishing a refrigeration cycle in which said first gaseous mixture is subjected to fractionate condensation in a plurality of heat exchange stages with at least one of the condensed fractions being expanded and vaporized in heat exchange with said first gaseous mixture undergoing fractionate condensation, then recompressed to said relatively low pressure and reunited with said first gaseous mixture, and progressively cooling said second mixture in a plurality of said heat exchange stages.

7. A method as claimed in claim 6, and combining said first and second gaseous mixtures downstream of a plurality of said heat exchange stages.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,936,593 5/ 1960 Grunberg. 2,973,834 3/1961 Cicalese. 3,205,669 9/ 1965 Grossmann 6223 NORMAN YUDKOFF, Primary Examiner.

V. W. PRETKA, Assistant Examiner.

Claims (1)

1. IN A METHOD FOR COOLING A GASEOUS MIXTURE TO LOW TEMPERATURE AND PRODUCING AT LEAST ONE CONSTITUENT OF THIS MIXTURE IN LIQUID PHASE, COMPRISING SUBJECTING A FIRST GASEOUS MIXTURE TO A FRACTIONATE CONDENSATION IN A PLURALITY OF HEAT-EXCHANGE STAGES WITH AT LEAST ONE OF THE CONDENSED FRACTIONS BEING EXPANDED TO A FIRST PRESSURE AND VAPORIZED IN HEAT EXCHANGE WITH SAID FIRST GASEOUS MIXTURE UNDERGOING FRACTIONATE CONDENSATION, EXPANDING TO A SECOND PRESSURE SAID AT LEAST ONE CONSTITUENT AFTER ITS CONDENSATION AND WITHDRAWING SAID EXPANDED CONSTITUENT AS PRODUCT, SAID FIRST PRESSURE BEING SUBSTANTIALLY HIGHER THAN SAID SECOND PRESSURE, THEREAFTER RECOMPRESSING SAID AT LEAST ONE FRACTION TO A THIRD PRESSURE SUBSTANTIALLY HIGHER THAN SAID FIRST PRESSURE, AND RECOMBINING SAID RECOMPRESSED FRACTION WITH SAID FIRST GASEOUS MIXTURE; THE IMPROVEMENT COMPRISING PROGRESSIVELY COOLING A SECOND GASEOUS MIXTURE IN A PLURALITY OF HEAT-EXCHANGE STAGES WITH SAID FIRST MIXTURE, SAID SECOND MIXTURE HAVING THE SAME MAIN COMPONENTS AS SAID FIRST MIXTURE, AND MAINTAINING SAID FIRST GASEOUS MIXTURE WITH SAID SECOND GASEOUS MIXTURE SEPARATE AT LEAST UNTIL THEY ARE UNDER CONDITIONS OF TEMPERATURE AND PRESSURE SUCH THAT SAID CONSTITUENT TO BE PRODUCED IN LIQUID PHASE IS AT LEAST MOSTLY CONDENSED WITHIN SAID SECOND GASEOUS MIXTURE AND SAID AT LEAST ONE CONDENSED FRACTION HAS BEEN WITHDRAWN FROM SAID FIRST GASEOUS MIXTURE FOR EXPANSION AND VAPORIZATION.
US484541A 1961-06-01 1965-09-02 Method for cooling a gaseous mixture to a low temperature Expired - Lifetime US3274787A (en)

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FR863820A FR1302989A (en) 1961-06-01 1961-06-01 A method of cooling a gas mixture at low temperature
FR872325A FR80294E (en) 1961-06-01 1961-09-05 A method of cooling a gas mixture at low temperature
FR988679A FR86485E (en) 1961-06-01 1964-09-18 A method of cooling a gas mixture at low temperature

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Cited By (26)

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US3418819A (en) * 1965-06-25 1968-12-31 Air Liquide Liquefaction of natural gas by cascade refrigeration
US3507127A (en) * 1967-12-26 1970-04-21 Phillips Petroleum Co Purification of nitrogen which contains methane
US3541802A (en) * 1968-06-25 1970-11-24 Judson S Swearingen Recovery of condensable products from gaseous mixtures
US3578073A (en) * 1967-03-31 1971-05-11 Air Liquide Heat exchange apparatus with integral formation of heat exchangers and separators
US3581511A (en) * 1969-07-15 1971-06-01 Inst Gas Technology Liquefaction of natural gas using separated pure components as refrigerants
US3592015A (en) * 1967-12-21 1971-07-13 Messer Griesheim Gmbh Rectification column with two component closed heat exchange cycle
US3596473A (en) * 1967-12-27 1971-08-03 Messer Griesheim Gmbh Liquefaction process for gas mixtures by means of fractional condensation
US3690114A (en) * 1969-11-17 1972-09-12 Judson S Swearingen Refrigeration process for use in liquefication of gases
US3702063A (en) * 1968-11-04 1972-11-07 Linde Ag Refrigeration cycle for the aliquefaction of natural gas
US3729945A (en) * 1968-11-29 1973-05-01 D Linnett Multi-component refrigerant for the liquefaction of natural gas
US3747359A (en) * 1969-08-01 1973-07-24 Linde Ag Gas liquefaction by a fractionally condensed refrigerant
US3763658A (en) * 1970-01-12 1973-10-09 Air Prod & Chem Combined cascade and multicomponent refrigeration system and method
US3808826A (en) * 1970-09-28 1974-05-07 Phillips Petroleum Co Refrigeration process
US3818714A (en) * 1971-03-04 1974-06-25 Linde Ag Process for the liquefaction and subcooling of natural gas
US3874184A (en) * 1973-05-24 1975-04-01 Phillips Petroleum Co Removing nitrogen from and subsequently liquefying natural gas stream
US3884044A (en) * 1970-02-09 1975-05-20 Exxon Research Engineering Co Mixed refrigerant cycle
US3884045A (en) * 1970-02-09 1975-05-20 Exxon Research Engineering Co Mixed refrigerant cycle
US4022597A (en) * 1976-04-23 1977-05-10 Gulf Oil Corporation Separation of liquid hydrocarbons from natural gas
US4251249A (en) * 1977-01-19 1981-02-17 The Randall Corporation Low temperature process for separating propane and heavier hydrocarbons from a natural gas stream
US4331461A (en) * 1978-03-10 1982-05-25 Phillips Petroleum Company Cryogenic separation of lean and rich gas streams
US20090095018A1 (en) * 2006-05-15 2009-04-16 Hillegonda Bakker Method for liquefying a hydrocarbon stream
WO2009101127A2 (en) 2008-02-14 2009-08-20 Shell Internationale Research Maatschappij B.V. Method and apparatus for cooling a hydrocarbon stream
US20100293996A1 (en) * 2007-11-16 2010-11-25 Michiel Gijsbert Van Aken Method and apparatus for liquefying a hydrocarbon stream and floating vessel or offshore platform comprising the same
US20110036120A1 (en) * 2007-07-19 2011-02-17 Marco Dick Jager Method and apparatus for recovering and fractionating a mixed hydrocarbon feed stream
FR2965608A1 (en) * 2010-09-30 2012-04-06 IFP Energies Nouvelles Liquefying natural gas, comprises cooling natural gas by exchanging heat with first refrigerant mixture flowing in first circuit, injecting natural gas into separation system, and withdrawing first refrigerant mixture from first circuit
CN103644706A (en) * 2013-12-11 2014-03-19 辽宁哈深冷气体液化设备有限公司 Liquefied natural gas and high purity nitrogen co-production equipment and production method

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FR2123095B1 (en) * 1970-12-21 1974-02-15 Air Liquide
DE59000200D1 (en) * 1989-04-17 1992-08-20 Sulzer Ag METHOD FOR PRODUCING NATURAL GAS.

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US2936593A (en) * 1956-04-27 1960-05-17 Air Liquide Process for the production of ammonia synthesis gas
US2973834A (en) * 1958-08-12 1961-03-07 Hydrocarbon Research Inc Hydrocarbon recovery from natural gas
US3205669A (en) * 1960-08-15 1965-09-14 Phillips Petroleum Co Recovery of natural gas liquids, helium concentrate, and pure nitrogen

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CA665385A (en) * 1963-06-18 Grenier Maurice Process for cooling a gas mixture to a low temperature
US2041725A (en) * 1934-07-14 1936-05-26 Walter J Podbielniak Art of refrigeration
GB895094A (en) * 1959-10-21 1962-05-02 Shell Int Research Improvements in or relating to process and apparatus for liquefying natural gas
GB1135871A (en) * 1965-06-29 1968-12-04 Air Prod & Chem Liquefaction of natural gas

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US2936593A (en) * 1956-04-27 1960-05-17 Air Liquide Process for the production of ammonia synthesis gas
US2973834A (en) * 1958-08-12 1961-03-07 Hydrocarbon Research Inc Hydrocarbon recovery from natural gas
US3205669A (en) * 1960-08-15 1965-09-14 Phillips Petroleum Co Recovery of natural gas liquids, helium concentrate, and pure nitrogen

Cited By (32)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3418819A (en) * 1965-06-25 1968-12-31 Air Liquide Liquefaction of natural gas by cascade refrigeration
US3578073A (en) * 1967-03-31 1971-05-11 Air Liquide Heat exchange apparatus with integral formation of heat exchangers and separators
US3592015A (en) * 1967-12-21 1971-07-13 Messer Griesheim Gmbh Rectification column with two component closed heat exchange cycle
US3507127A (en) * 1967-12-26 1970-04-21 Phillips Petroleum Co Purification of nitrogen which contains methane
US3596473A (en) * 1967-12-27 1971-08-03 Messer Griesheim Gmbh Liquefaction process for gas mixtures by means of fractional condensation
US3541802A (en) * 1968-06-25 1970-11-24 Judson S Swearingen Recovery of condensable products from gaseous mixtures
US3702063A (en) * 1968-11-04 1972-11-07 Linde Ag Refrigeration cycle for the aliquefaction of natural gas
US3729945A (en) * 1968-11-29 1973-05-01 D Linnett Multi-component refrigerant for the liquefaction of natural gas
US3581511A (en) * 1969-07-15 1971-06-01 Inst Gas Technology Liquefaction of natural gas using separated pure components as refrigerants
US3747359A (en) * 1969-08-01 1973-07-24 Linde Ag Gas liquefaction by a fractionally condensed refrigerant
US3690114A (en) * 1969-11-17 1972-09-12 Judson S Swearingen Refrigeration process for use in liquefication of gases
US3763658A (en) * 1970-01-12 1973-10-09 Air Prod & Chem Combined cascade and multicomponent refrigeration system and method
US3884044A (en) * 1970-02-09 1975-05-20 Exxon Research Engineering Co Mixed refrigerant cycle
US3884045A (en) * 1970-02-09 1975-05-20 Exxon Research Engineering Co Mixed refrigerant cycle
US3808826A (en) * 1970-09-28 1974-05-07 Phillips Petroleum Co Refrigeration process
US3818714A (en) * 1971-03-04 1974-06-25 Linde Ag Process for the liquefaction and subcooling of natural gas
US3874184A (en) * 1973-05-24 1975-04-01 Phillips Petroleum Co Removing nitrogen from and subsequently liquefying natural gas stream
US4022597A (en) * 1976-04-23 1977-05-10 Gulf Oil Corporation Separation of liquid hydrocarbons from natural gas
US4251249A (en) * 1977-01-19 1981-02-17 The Randall Corporation Low temperature process for separating propane and heavier hydrocarbons from a natural gas stream
US4331461A (en) * 1978-03-10 1982-05-25 Phillips Petroleum Company Cryogenic separation of lean and rich gas streams
US20090095018A1 (en) * 2006-05-15 2009-04-16 Hillegonda Bakker Method for liquefying a hydrocarbon stream
US20090095019A1 (en) * 2006-05-15 2009-04-16 Marco Dick Jager Method and apparatus for liquefying a hydrocarbon stream
US8578734B2 (en) 2006-05-15 2013-11-12 Shell Oil Company Method and apparatus for liquefying a hydrocarbon stream
US20110036120A1 (en) * 2007-07-19 2011-02-17 Marco Dick Jager Method and apparatus for recovering and fractionating a mixed hydrocarbon feed stream
US20100293996A1 (en) * 2007-11-16 2010-11-25 Michiel Gijsbert Van Aken Method and apparatus for liquefying a hydrocarbon stream and floating vessel or offshore platform comprising the same
US20110023536A1 (en) * 2008-02-14 2011-02-03 Marco Dick Jager Method and apparatus for cooling a hydrocarbon stream
WO2009101127A3 (en) * 2008-02-14 2013-06-13 Shell Internationale Research Maatschappij B.V. Method and apparatus for cooling a hydrocarbon stream
WO2009101127A2 (en) 2008-02-14 2009-08-20 Shell Internationale Research Maatschappij B.V. Method and apparatus for cooling a hydrocarbon stream
US10539363B2 (en) 2008-02-14 2020-01-21 Shell Oil Company Method and apparatus for cooling a hydrocarbon stream
FR2965608A1 (en) * 2010-09-30 2012-04-06 IFP Energies Nouvelles Liquefying natural gas, comprises cooling natural gas by exchanging heat with first refrigerant mixture flowing in first circuit, injecting natural gas into separation system, and withdrawing first refrigerant mixture from first circuit
RU2571697C2 (en) * 2010-09-30 2015-12-20 Ифп Энержи Нувелль Natural gas liquefaction method by continuous change in composition of at least one cooling mixture
CN103644706A (en) * 2013-12-11 2014-03-19 辽宁哈深冷气体液化设备有限公司 Liquefied natural gas and high purity nitrogen co-production equipment and production method

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
NL6512165A (en) 1966-03-21
NL147252B (en) 1975-09-15
DE1501690A1 (en) 1969-04-03
FR86485E (en) 1966-02-18
DE1776248A1 (en) 1974-10-10
USRE30140E (en) 1979-11-06
GB1125182A (en) 1968-08-28

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