(19)
(11)EP 2 685 191 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
15.01.2014 Bulletin 2014/03

(21)Application number: 12305848.9

(22)Date of filing:  13.07.2012
(51)Int. Cl.: 
F25J 3/02  (2006.01)
F25J 5/00  (2006.01)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME

(71)Applicant: L'AIR LIQUIDE, SOCIETE ANONYME POUR L'ETUDE ET L'EXPLOITATION DES PROCEDES GEORGES CLAUDE
75007 Paris (FR)

(72)Inventors:
  • Briglia, Alain
    49140 CORZE (FR)
  • Darde, Arthur
    75005 PARIS (FR)
  • Terrien, Paul
    75015 PARIS (FR)

(74)Representative: Mercey, Fiona Susan 
L'Air Liquide SA Direction de la Propriété Intellectuelle 75, Quai d'Orsay
75321 Paris Cedex 07
75321 Paris Cedex 07 (FR)

  


(54)Process and apparatus for the separation of a gas rich in carbon dioxide


(57) In a process for the separation of a gas rich in carbon dioxide and containing at least one component lighter than carbon dioxide, the feed gas rich in carbon dioxide is cooled in a first heat exchanger (E1), partially condensed and separated to form a gaseous portion and a liquid, sending the liquid portion to the top of a distillation column (K) , removing a liquid stream richer in carbon dioxide than the feed gas from the bottom of the distillation column, removing a gaseous stream (17) less rich in carbon dioxide than the feed gas from the top of the distillation column and warming the gaseous stream in the first heat exchanger, sending the gaseous portion to a shell and tube heat exchanger (V3) in which it condenses at least partially to form a liquid fraction, sending the liquid fraction (35) to the top of the distillation column, vaporizing a liquid stream (19) from the bottom of the distillation column outside or within the distillation column to form a gas which is subsequently separated in the distillation column, expanding a liquid stream (21) from the bottom of the distillation column, vaporizing at least part of the expanded liquid stream in the shell and tube heat exchanger to form a vapor and warming the vapor formed in the first heat exchanger.




Description


[0001] The present invention relates to a process and an apparatus for the separation of a gas rich in carbon dioxide.

[0002] A gas rich in carbon dioxide contains at least 65% carbon dioxide. It also contains at least one other component chosen from the following list: oxygen, nitrogen, argon, carbon monoxide, hydrogen, nitrogen monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, nitrous oxide, mercury, methanol, ethanol, ammonia or hydrocarbons.

[0003] Preferably it contains less than 5% methane, all percentages in the document relating to purities being molar percentages.

[0004] The gas rich in carbon dioxide may result from an oxy-fuel combustion, a cement works, a steel works, a steam methane reformer or any other known source.

[0005] The present invention proposes, amongst other possibilities, to carry out the final cooling stage of a carbon dioxide purification unit feed gas in a shell-tube exchanger.

[0006] The feed gas is cooled in the tubes which are surrounded by a bath of carbon dioxide at its triple point.

[0007] There are many advantages associated with operating the system at its triple point.

[0008] Firstly the pressure of the shell is perfectly stable at the triple point. If the compressor which compresses the vaporised carbon dioxide coming from the shell tube exchanger removes too much gas, the liquid will flash, forming solid and gas, the whole resting at the triple point pressure. On the other hand, if too little gas is removed, the pressure cannot increase to a substantial extent, due to the presence of frozen carbon dioxide. When the solid phase is in the form of micro-cristals mixed in with the liquid, a liquid-solid "slush" is formed, which increases the solid-liquid exchange surface, as compared with the situation when large blocks of frozen carbon dioxide are formed in the liquid.

[0009] Secondly, the feed gas will be cooled as much as possible, to increase the yield of produced carbon dioxide and thereby improve the specific energy and specific cost of the plant (the additional expense to capture the additional tones of carbon dioxide is less than the average expense per tonne).

[0010] Thirdly, the feed gas cannot freeze since the cold source is stabilized at the triple point temperature and the feed gas will necessary be above that temperature.

[0011] The arrangement allows the solid carbon dioxide to be stored and melted, meaning that the energy can be stored and/ or the liquefaction capacity increased.

[0012] In the case where energy is stored, when energy prices are low, an additional compressor (or the product compressor) removes more gaseous carbon dioxide than would naturally be vaporized, to create a suction effect. The liquid in the storage then flashed forming gas (to stabilize the pressure at the triple point) and solid, which mixes with the remaining liquid.

[0013] When energy prices increase, the liquid carbon dioxide is melted by sending additional gaseous carbon dioxide into the storage; the solid carbon dioxide melts by liquefying the gaseous carbon dioxide, the additional liquid formed is pumped outside the cold box and the carbon dioxide can be produced at the production pressure, without using the product compressor.

[0014] The product compressor is designed to take advantage of these flow variations, the flowrate for a centrifugal compressor being down to 80% of the nominal flowrate. One solution to the problem could be to use three smaller compressors, representing each 50% of the nominal flowrate. In this case, under normal operation, two compressors would operate. During the storage of solid CO2 phase (when energy costs are low), three compressors would operate and during the high energy cost period, one compressor and a pump would operate In this case, the pump is required to pressurize the liquid coming out of the shell and tube heat exchanger prior to mixing it with the remainder of the CO2 product (either liquid or supercritical).

[0015] Under normal operation, the solid carbon dioxide formed and builds up in the storage. At peak production, more carbon dioxide is available to be liquefied, it is sent in gaseous form to the storage where it liquefies against the solid carbon dioxide, which melts, thus increasing the maximum liquefying capacity, without increasing the dimensions of the apparatus.

[0016] According to an object of the invention, there is provided a process for the separation of a gas rich in carbon dioxide and containing at least one component lighter than carbon dioxide in which the feed gas rich in carbon dioxide is cooled to a subambient temperature in a first heat exchanger, partially condensed and separated to form a gaseous portion and a liquid, sending the liquid portion to the top of a distillation column following an expansion step, removing a liquid stream richer in carbon dioxide than the feed gas from the bottom of the distillation column, removing a gaseous stream less rich in carbon dioxide than the feed gas from the top of the distillation column and warming the gaseous stream in the first heat exchanger, sending the gaseous portion to a shell and tube heat exchanger in which it condenses at least partially to form a liquid fraction, sending the liquid fraction or a liquid derived therefrom to the top of the distillation column, vaporizing a liquid stream from the bottom of the distillation column outside or within the distillation column to form a gas which is subsequently separated in the distillation column, expanding a liquid stream from the bottom of the distillation column, vaporizing at least part of the expanded liquid stream in the shell and tube heat exchanger to form a vapor and warming the vapor formed in the first heat exchanger.

[0017] According to further optional aspects:
  • the shell and tube heat exchanger operates at the triple point pressure of carbon dioxide and the triple point temperature of carbon dioxide.
  • the vapor formed in the shell and tube heat exchanger and warmed in the first heat exchanger is compressed in at least one compressor.
  • the gaseous portion is at least partially condensed in the tubes of the shell and tube heat exchanger and the liquid stream is at least partially vaporized within the shell and tube heat exchanger, outside the tubes.
  • in the case of operation with a given carbon dioxide production, solid carbon dioxide is formed in the shell and tube heat exchanger, in the case of increased production of carbon dioxide, the flowrate of the gaseous portion sent to the shell and tube heat exchanger increases and the solid carbon dioxide in the shell and tube heat exchanger melts and the flowrate of the liquid fraction removed from the shell and tube heat exchanger increases.
  • in the case of operation with a given carbon dioxide production, solid carbon dioxide is formed in the shell and tube heat exchanger and in the case of reduced production of carbon dioxide, the amount of solid carbon dioxide formed in the shell and tube heat exchanger increases.
  • liquid carbon dioxide is withdrawn from the column as a final product.
  • two streams of liquid carbon dioxide from the bottom of the column are expanded and sent to the shell and tube heat exchanger.
  • partially condensed feed from the shell and tube exchanger is separated and the liquid stream formed is expanded and sent to the top of the distillation column.
  • part of the liquid outside the tubes is purged in order to de-concentrate the liquid in at least one impurity.
  • the at least one impurity is chosen from SOx, NOx, mercury, hydrocarbons, methanol, ethanol, ammonia.


[0018] According to a further object of the invention, there is provided an apparatus for the separation of a gas rich in carbon dioxide and containing at least one component lighter than carbon dioxide comprising a first heat exchanger for cooling the feed gas rich in carbon dioxide to a subambient temperature, a shell and tube heat exchanger, a first phase separator, a column, a conduit for sending partially condensed feed from the first heat exchanger to the first phase separator, a conduit for sending a liquid portion from the first phase separator to the top of a distillation column via an expansion valve, a conduit for removing a liquid stream richer in carbon dioxide than the feed gas from the bottom of the distillation column, a conduit for removing a gaseous stream less rich in carbon dioxide than the feed gas from the top of the distillation column and for sending the gaseous stream to be warmed in the first heat exchanger, a conduit connecting the first phase separator to the shell and tube heat exchanger, a conduit for sending a liquid fraction from the shell and tube heat exchanger or a liquid derived therefrom to the top of the distillation column, a conduit for sending a liquid stream from the bottom of the distillation column to be vaporized outside or within the distillation column to form a gas which is subsequently separated in the distillation column, an expansion valve expanding a liquid stream from the bottom of the distillation column, a conduit for sending the expanded liquid stream to the shell and tube heat exchanger to be at least partially vaporized to form a vapor and a conduit for sending the vapor formed to the first heat exchanger.

[0019] The apparatus may comprise a compressor for compressing the vapor formed in the shell and tube heat exchanger.

[0020] There are means for sending the gaseous portion to be at least partially condensed in the tubes of the shell and tube heat exchanger and means for sending the liquid stream to be at least partially vaporized within the shell and tube heat exchanger, outside the tubes.

[0021] Preferably there are means for expanding two streams of liquid carbon dioxide from the bottom of the column and means for sending the two expanded streams to the shell and tube heat exchanger.

[0022] A further phase separator may separate partially condensed feed from the shell and tube exchanger and expansion means may be provided to expand the liquid stream formed as well as means for sending the expanded liquid to the top of the distillation column.

[0023] Purge means may be provided for removing liquid outside the tubes of the shell and tube heat exchanger.

[0024] The invention will be described in greater detail with reference to the figures, Figure 1 illustrating a process for separating a gas rich in carbon dioxide according to the invention and Figure 2 illustrating in greater detail a component of Figure 1.

[0025] In Figure 1 a gas 1 contains at least 65% carbon dioxide and at least one other component, chosen from at least one other components chosen from the following list: oxygen, nitrogen, argon, carbon monoxide, hydrogen, nitrogen monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, nitrous oxide, mercury. The gas may originate from an oxyfuel combustion, in which case, it contains at least oxygen, nitrogen and argon.

[0026] The gas 1 is compressed in a compressor C1 to a pressure between 6 and 20 bars abs, cooled using a cooler 3 and then purified in one of a pair of adsorbers A to remove humidity. The purified feed stream 5 is then cooled in a heat exchanger E1 to a temperature of around -50°C and thereby partially condensed. The partially condensed feed is sent to a first phase separator V1 in which it is separated into a gaseous portion 11 and a liquid portion 9. The gaseous portion 11, less rich in carbon dioxide than the feed 5, is sent to a heat exchanger V3 of the shell and tube type. The liquid portion 9 is expanded in a valve 13 and sent to the top of a column K. The bottom of the column K is heated using a heat exchanger E3 to boil the bottom liquid 19 and send the gas formed back to the column. Another liquid portion 21 removed from the column K is divided in three. Two portions 23,27 are expanded in valves 25,29 and sent to the heat exchanger V3. The remaining portion 33 is expanded in valve 33 and vaporized in heat exchanger E1 to form gaseous stream 35. The streams 23, 27 vaporise in heat exchanger V3 to form gaseous stream 41 which is warmed in heat exchanger E1 to form warmed stream 43 which is compressed in compressor C2. The gas 35 is sent to an intermediate stage of compressor 35 and the total gaseous stream 45 is removed as a gaseous product. A liquid product 15 is also removed as a liquid from the bottom of column K, warmed in exchanger E1, expanded and removed as a liquid product.

[0027] The gas 11 from the first phase separator V1 is condensed in the heat exchanger V3 to form liquid 35 and the liquid is sent to second phase separator V2. The liquid 37 formed in the second phase separator is expanded in valve 39 and sent to the top of column K. The gas 47 from the second phase separator V2 is warmed in the heat exchanger E1. The gas 17 from the top of the column is warmed in heat exchanger E1 and sent to compressor C1.

[0028] The heat exchanger E1, E3, phase separators V1, V2, heat exchanger V3 and column K are contained within in a cold box 7.

[0029] Further details of the shell and tube heat exchanger V3 are shown in Figure 2, which shows a more realistic disposition of arrivals of gas and liquid. The gas 11 from the first phase separator 11 enters the top of the heat exchanger and flow down through the tubes 53 to form liquid 35. The two bottom liquids 23, 27 enter at the bottom of the heat exchanger V3 within the shell 51 and form a bath 49 of liquid carbon dioxide. Above the surface of the liquid, vaporized gas 41, less rich in carbon dioxide than the feed 5, is removed and sent to the heat exchanger E1.

[0030] The shell and tube heat exchanger 49 operates at the triple point pressure of carbon dioxide and the triple point temperature of carbon dioxide.

[0031] The process is designed for operation with a given carbon dioxide production. In this design case, solid carbon dioxide is formed in the shell and tube heat exchanger 49 at the point where the liquid streams 23, 27 enter the shell 51. In the case of increased production of carbon dioxide, the flowrate of the gaseous portion 11 sent to the shell and tube heat exchanger increases and the solid carbon dioxide in the shell and tube heat exchanger melts and the flowrate of the liquid fraction 35 removed from the shell and tube heat exchanger increases.

[0032] In the case of reduced production of carbon dioxide, the amount of solid carbon dioxide formed in the shell and tube heat exchanger 49 increases.


Claims

1. Process for the separation of a gas rich in carbon dioxide and containing at least one component lighter than carbon dioxide in which the feed gas rich in carbon dioxide is cooled to a subambient temperature in a first heat exchanger (E1), partially condensed and separated to form a gaseous portion and a liquid, sending the liquid portion to the top of a distillation column (K) following an expansion step, removing a liquid stream richer in carbon dioxide than the feed gas from the bottom of the distillation column, removing a gaseous stream (17) less rich in carbon dioxide than the feed gas from the top of the distillation column and warming the gaseous stream in the first heat exchanger, sending the gaseous portion to a shell and tube heat exchanger (V3) in which it condenses at least partially to form a liquid fraction, sending the liquid fraction (35) or a liquid derived therefrom (37) to the top of the distillation column, vaporizing a liquid stream (19) from the bottom of the distillation column outside or within the distillation column to form a gas which is subsequently separated in the distillation column, expanding a liquid stream (21) from the bottom of the distillation column, vaporizing at least part of the expanded liquid stream in the shell and tube heat exchanger to form a vapor and warming the vapor formed in the first heat exchanger.
 
2. Process according to Claim 1 wherein the shell and tube heat exchanger (V3) operates at the triple point pressure of carbon dioxide and the triple point temperature of carbon dioxide.
 
3. Process according to Claim 1 or 2 wherein the vapor formed in the shell and tube heat exchanger (V3) and warmed in the first heat exchanger (E1) is compressed in at least one compressor (C2).
 
4. Process according to any preceding claim wherein the gaseous portion (11) is at least partially condensed in the tubes of the shell and tube heat exchanger (V3) and the liquid stream (23, 27) is at least partially vaporized within the shell and tube heat exchanger, outside the tubes.
 
5. Process according to any preceding claim wherein in the case of operation with a given carbon dioxide production, solid carbon dioxide is formed in the shell and tube heat exchanger (V3), in the case of increased production of carbon dioxide, the flowrate of the gaseous portion (11) sent to the shell and tube heat exchanger increases and the solid carbon dioxide in the shell and tube heat exchanger melts and the flowrate of the liquid fraction (35) removed from the shell and tube heat exchanger increases.
 
6. Process according to any preceding claim wherein in the case of operation with a given carbon dioxide production, solid carbon dioxide is formed in the shell and tube heat exchanger (V3) and in the case of reduced production of carbon dioxide, the amount of solid carbon dioxide formed in the shell and tube heat exchanger increases.
 
7. Process according to any preceding claim wherein liquid carbon dioxide (15) is withdrawn from the column (K) as a final product.
 
8. Process according to any preceding claim wherein two streams of liquid carbon dioxide (23, 27) from the bottom of the column are expanded and sent to the shell and tube heat exchanger (V3).
 
9. Process according to any preceding claim wherein partially condensed feed from the shell and tube exchanger (V3) is separated and the liquid stream (37) formed is expanded and sent to the top of the distillation column (K).
 
10. Process according to claim 4 wherein part of the liquid outside the tubes is purged in order to de-concentrate the liquid in at least one impurity.
 
11. Process according to claim 10 wherein the at least one impurity is chosen from SOx, NOx, mercury, hydrocarbons, methanol, ethanol, ammonia.
 
12. Apparatus for the separation of a gas rich in carbon dioxide and containing at least one component lighter than carbon dioxide comprising a first heat exchanger (E1) for cooling the feed gas rich in carbon dioxide to a subambient temperature, a shell and tube heat exchanger (V3), a first phase separator (V1), a column (K), a conduit for sending partially condensed feed (5) from the first heat exchanger to the first phase separator, a conduit for sending a liquid portion (9) from the first phase separator to the top of a distillation column via an expansion valve (13), a conduit for removing a liquid stream richer in carbon dioxide than the feed gas from the bottom of the distillation column, a conduit for removing a gaseous stream less rich in carbon dioxide than the feed gas from the top of the distillation column and for sending the gaseous stream to be warmed in the first heat exchanger, a conduit connecting the first phase separator to the shell and tube heat exchanger, a conduit for sending a liquid fraction from the shell and tube heat exchanger or a liquid derived therefrom (37) to the top of the distillation column, a conduit for sending a liquid stream (19° from the bottom of the distillation column to be vaporized outside or within the distillation column to form a gas which is subsequently separated in the distillation column, an expansion valve (25, 29) expanding a liquid stream from the bottom of the distillation column, a conduit for sending the expanded liquid stream (23, 27) to the shell and tube heat exchanger to be at least partially vaporized to form a vapor and a conduit for sending the vapor formed to the first heat exchanger.
 




Drawing