3 years ago

Thermodynamic evaluation of the novel distillation column of the air separation unit with integration of liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification

Shiqing Chen, Xuezhi Dong, Jian Xu, Hualiang Zhang, Qing Gao, Chunqing Tan

Publication date: Available online 8 January 2019

Source: Energy

Author(s): Shiqing Chen, Xuezhi Dong, Jian Xu, Hualiang Zhang, Qing Gao, Chunqing Tan


A cryogenic air separation unit (ASU) with the implementation of vapor recompression column (VRC) and LNG cryogenic energy is proposed and investigated. To this end, three types of cryogenic rectification column for air separation are first illustrated, and their thermodynamic characteristics are evaluated by the first and second thermodynamic laws. The results show the purity and recovery ratio of product are determined by the total amount of heat duty and the scheme of heat distribution. Compared with the conventional double rectification column and internally heat-integrated distillation column, the VRC is the most suitable column for the ASU with use of LNG cryogenic energy as its lower demand of shaft work and minimum energy of separation. Based on the above analysis, adopting the cryogenic energy from product to cool the reflux and feed air is beneficial for producing vapor product in the proposed process. The operating pressure of ASU could be reduced by about 24%, and the cryogenic energy of LNG can be used efficiently and sufficiently with respect to the supercritical thermophysical property. By adding the air-aid refrigeration process, the proposed process also has the ability to produce liquid oxygen. Under the same oxygen purity and recovery ratio, the optimal results show the power consumption is about 6.9% and 11.1% lower than that in the previous studies in producing vapor and liquid product respectively, and the minimum energy of separation is improved by use of LNG cryogenic energy.

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