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Natural gas applications

Dryers for Natural Gas Vehicle Fuelling Stations

Worldwide since 2000, the natural gas vehicle (NGV) market has seen an annual growth of 30%. There are over 120,000 NGVs in North America and over 8.7 million worldwide. The NGV fuelling stations supporting this market need very dry pipeline natural gas to protect their high-pressure compressors and to satisfy ISO 15403 requirements for compressed natural gas quality. To prevent corrosion inside the high-pressure storage tanks, compressed natural gas must be sufficiently dry that there will be no chance of condensation at the lowest ambient temperature in which the fuelling station operates. Since NGVs first appeared in the 1980s, Xebec has supplied a full range of gas dryer products to Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America while building a 95% share in the North American market.

NGV fuelling stations range in size from very small, light duty home fuelling stations to very large, heavy-duty installations supplying bus fleets. Xebec offers a complete range of gas dryers to answer every need.

Natural Gas Upgrading

The United States Department of Energy estimates that natural gas production worldwide will increase from 90 trillion cubic feet per year in 2002 to 118 trillion cubic feet per year in 2015. A significant portion of natural gas produced worldwide is considered sub-quality due to contamination by carbon dioxide - in 1999 the production of carbon dioxide contaminated gas accounted for 13% of total North American gas production (Gas Technology Institute).

Natural gas pipeline operators have strict specifications with respect to the energy content of gas distributed via pipeline and carbon dioxide must typically be removed from sub-quality gas before the gas can be transported to market.

Our compact, proven, proprietary technology provides Xebec with a competitive advantage in niche markets that demand small size and significant production capacity.

For instance, Venoco, Inc, one of the largest independent oil and natural gas companies in California, purchased Xebec purification technology to purify natural gas to meet strict quality specifications in California. Xebec’s NGX PSA system will increase the quality of ‘associated gas’ produced on Venoco’s Platform Gail. The $700,000 order is the first application of Xebec’s NGX for gas processing on an offshore platform, where the system’s compact size is a significant advantage.

A key step in the processing of carbon-dioxide contaminated natural gas is the separation of carbon dioxide present in the gas. The NGX PSA systems offer compact, low-cost, carbon dioxide separation solutions for lower capacity applications (up to 4,000 NCMH product methane).

Coal Bed Methane (CBM)

Coal bed methane is natural gas that is found adsorbed in virgin coal seams. CBM is near pipeline quality gas needing compression and drying before injection to the pipeline. It is considered a non-conventional gas supply since it is more difficult to extract than from conventional gas fields. In 2006, the United States produced nearly 50 billion m3 of CBM accounting for almost 10% of natural gas production. In Canada, there is an estimated 13 trillion m3 of CBM, of which only 2.5 billion m3 were produced in 2005. Projections are for production to increase to 14.5 billion m3 by 2015. China has estimated its CBM reserves at 35 trillion m3 with production for 2010 expected to rise to 10 billion m3 from 1.4 billion m3 in 2007. Xebec designs and builds zero purge closed loop dryers to accomodate varying CBM gas flows and pressures.

Coal Bed Methane (CBM)

Coal Bed Methane Chart

 

Coal Mine Methane (CMM)

Coal mine methane is methane released from active and abandoned coal mines. CMM is smaller in scale than CBM, but is important because this methane is being released to the environment now. Recent emissions data for the United States has 4.1 billion m3 released per year, while China is at 11.7 billion m3 per year. The US has 39 active projects recovering 1.2 billion m3 for market use. 33 of these projects are for pipeline injection. China has 35 projects also recovering 1.2 billion m3 with 19 projects for heat and power and 11 for town gas (below pipeline quality applications). CMM is produced from a number mine processes and requires compression, drying and sometimes upgrading prior to marketable use.

Xebec's NGX gas dryers can be tailored to treat the broad range of CMM drying needs, and our NGX PSA system offers compact carbon dioxide separation solutions.