Two University of Wyoming engineering professors have recently received a provisional patent for a method, using cryogenic transport, to help the oil and gas industry reduce emissions.

Brian Toelle, a professor of practice in UW’s Department of Petroleum Engineering, and Maohong Fan, a UW School of Energy Resources professor in chemical and petroleum engineering, received a patent for their FlareNitro process.

Capturing produced gas has proven to be economically and technically difficult for the oil and gas industry, but a possible solution is the liquefaction of natural gas at the well site.

The current method of gas flaring refers to the combustion of associated gas generated during various processes, mainly oil recovery.

Toelle states that their process is currently in the conceptual phase. He explained that it would work like this: At the well site, produced gas would be gathered and stored at the well location. Liquid nitrogen is then transported from a nearby facility by a tanker truck. A FlareNitro reaction vessel also is taken to the well site and charged with liquid nitrogen. The internal temperature inside the reaction vessel would be brought to less than minus 320 degrees Fahrenheit.

The natural gas stored on-site would then be flowed into the reaction vessel, where it would condense and be collected as liquefied nitrogen gas (LNG), which is then loaded onto another tanker truck. The LNG tanker truck would then be driven to a nearby pipeline and off-loaded.

“The FlareNitro process shifts the energy input for this from the well location to a liquefaction center,” Toelle says in an article from the University. “This means the need for a fuel source at the well location is decreased, if not eliminated.”

For the full article on this project, follow the link here. 

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