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  • Writer's pictureSara McIntosh

New Absorption Technology for VOC Capture

While technology focus in our industry has been centered on automation and monitoring capabilities, little new science has been developed. Vapor Point and its partner framergy, Inc have begun exploring the industrial usability of a new material science known as Metal Organic Frameworks. Through this partnership, we’ve performed lab and pilot scale testing of various technologies important to our industry including absorption of light hydrocarbons from atmospheric emissions, separation of light hydrocarbons, capture of H2S from vapor and aqueous phase sources and absorption of contaminates in waste waters.

To reach the end user, oil and gas production at the wellhead must be transmitted through the country and distributed to a wide range of customers. This logistical system requires natural gas gathering lines, processing facilities, product storage tanks, and an array of other equipment. What results is air pollution caused by industry losses during these operations and the use of continuous or intermittent venting/flaring to mitigate other issues. One of the main components of this pollution is Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), with the increasing popularity of unconventional oil and natural gas production in the US, controls on VOC release have become increasingly important to maintain current health and safety standards.

VOC Capture: The first MOF company, framergy, Inc., is a current Phase II grantee by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program to investigate VOC Capture. In the Phase I activity, framergy, in collaboration with Vapor Point, showed the feasibility of a combined methane and VOC capture technology that can be used at well sites, natural gas gathering and processing facilities, storage tanks/sites, and transmission facilities to reduce pollution. The Phase I results have shown that this technology is capable of separating, storing, and recycling natural gas and VOCs. This innovation is a combination of Vapor Point’s VOC solvents and novel Metal-organic Frameworks (MOFs) adsorbents targeted to capture a wide range of volatile products and light hydrocarbons before they are vented into the atmosphere.

This technology is suitable as a portable temporary or a permanent installation. It can be applied to pipeline pigging operations where products are either free vented to the atmosphere, combusted using flares and other destruction devices, or sent to VRU units. Our technology can be utilized in a wide range of oil and gas sector facilities such as:

· Storage tank relief vents

· Process equipment vents - glycol dehydrators, amine recovery systems, truck loading activities (oil/condensate/water)

· Deinventory and blowdown activities - towers/drums and other production equipment

· Vent controls for compressor seal leaks or by-pass events

About the Author

Ray Ozdemir, COO of framergy, Inc., is a mechanical engineer with a Master’s degree in industrial and systems engineering. He has over 15 years of experience in adsorbent development, scale up, and product development. Ray has been leading several new technology and product development projects funded by EPA and NSF as their principal investigator. He actively publishes in peer-reviewed journals and in conference proceedings.

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