BASF, Linde Present New Process For Recovering Helium From Natural Gas

Sept. 11, 2019
New process combines treatment of natural gas for pipeline transportation with the simultaneous recovery of valuable helium, liquid hydrocarbons and purified CO2.

Linde develops a novel process to recover high value products from natural gas combining technologies from BASF and Linde. The process simultaneously recovers valuable helium, liquid hydrocarbons and purified CO2 and conditions natural gas for pipeline transportation, adjusting the water and heavy hydrocarbon dew point, as well as the CO2 concentration, according to BASF.

Helium is commonly recovered from natural gas when a cryogenic separation is employed. The hybrid process reportedly eliminates the need for cryogenic conditions, giving access to a new highly profitable helium source.

The process consists of two stages of Linde’s Hiselect Powered by Evonik membranes, an upstream BASF Durasorb hydrocarbon removal unit (HRU), an integrated BASF OASE acid gas removal unit (AGRU) and an integrated Linde Helium PSA unit. The two HISELECT membrane stages are simultaneously used for helium enrichment and adjustment of CO2 to pipeline specification. The Linde Helium PSA reportedly purifies the enriched helium up to 99.999% with highest yield. BASF’s OASE AGRU is used to selectively remove the CO2 from an internal recycle without any helium or methane loss, according to the company. BASF’s Durasorb HRU removes heavy hydrocarbons and water to meet pipeline dew point, produce liquid hydrocarbons as valuable byproduct and to ensure high membrane performance.

”The newly developed process changes project economics and helps our customers to generate additional value. As an additional high value stream can be generated, we’ll see more projects move forward,” says Detlef Ruff, senior vice president process catalysts at BASF.

For more information, visit: