Innovative hydrocarbons recovery and utilization technology using reactor-separation membranes for off-gases emission during crude oil shuttle tanker transportation and natural gas processing.
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SHEHU, H. 2018. Innovative hydrocarbons recovery and utilization technology using reactor-separation membranes for off-gases emission during crude oil shuttle tanker transportation and natural gas processing. Robert Gordon University, PhD thesis.
The increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere, as well as the high rate of depletion of hydrocarbon-based resources have become a global concern. A major source of emissions of hydrocarbon vapours occur during loading and offloading operations in crude oil shuttle tanker transportation. The emitted gases have a typical composition of 60 % N2, 10 % CO2, 5% O2, 5 % C3H8, 10% CH4, 5% C2H6 and 5 % higher hydrocarbons. As a result, various methods aimed to add value to GHG to produce valuable fuels and chemical feedstock are being developed. This work incorporates the use of silica, polyurethane/zeolite and y-type zeolite membrane on an alumina support to selectively permeate methane and carbon dioxide from inert gases and higher hydrocarbons. The recovered gas is upgraded by dry reforming reactions employing rhodium/alumina membrane incorporated into a shell and tube reactor. Mixed gas permeation tests have been carried out with the permeate and feed gases sent to the online gas chromatograph (GC) equipped with a mass spectrometry (MS) detector and an automated 6-port gas sampling valve with a 30 mm HP- Plot Q column. The question is what mesoporous membrane can be highly selective for the separation of methane and carbon dioxide from inert gases and higher hydrocarbons, and what is the effect of temperature and feed gas pressure on the conversion of separated gases? Characterisation of the modified membranes was carried out using nitrogen physisorption measurements and showed the hysteresis isotherms corresponding to type IV and V, which is indicative of a mesoporous membrane. The surface area and the pore size were determined using the Barrett, Joyner, Halenda (BJH) desorption method, which showed the silica membrane had a larger surface area (10.69 m2 g-1) compared to zeolite (0.11 m2 g-1) and polyurethane/zeolite membrane (0.31 m2 g-1). Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy, Scanning Electron Microscope and Energy Dispersive X-ray Analysis confirmed the asymmetric deposition of silica, polyurethane, rhodium and zeolite crystals in the matrix of the alumina support. Single gas permeation tests showed that the synthesised y-type zeolite membrane at 293 K had a CH4/C3H8 selectivity of 3.11, which is higher than the theoretical value of 1.65. The permeating CH4 and C3H8 flux at 373 K and a pressure of 1 x 105 Pa was 0.31 and 0.11 mol s-1 m-2 respectively proving that zeolite has molecular sieving mechanism for separation of methane and propane. The silica membrane exhibited higher effectiveness for the separation of CO2 than the other membranes. For methane dry reforming using a supported rhodium membrane, an increase of the reaction temperature from 973 K to 1173 K showed an increase in conversion rate of CO2 and CH4 from less than 20% to over 90% while increasing the gas hourly space velocity (GHSV) did not have a noticeable effect. The study revealed the high potential of the zeolite and rhodium membrane for gas separation and dry reforming reactions concept in creating value-added carbon-based products from CO2 and CH4.