Have you ever heard of it—natural gas dehydration? Well, if you’re in the industry, you certainly have. You’ll know all about the need for managing the formation of hydrates during the pumping and processing of natural gas, but there’s now a new means for preventing such, and it’s a lot more friendly to the environment and company budgets.
That’s right, Siftek. It’s the new name in natural gas dehydration. At least, its creators are hoping it will be. The new technology is the child of Vaperma and Ecana (with Ecana assisting in the funding of the project). Siftek is set to provide a more energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly means for hydration management in natural-gas processing and transportation.
Whenever natural gas is taken from its raw and “natural” state and made into a useable resource, it requires a dehydration process in order to prevent the formation of hydrates. Hydrates are crystalline compounds that form when water molecules are chemically bound to another compound—in this case, natural gases of any form.
Traditionally, natural gas dehydration is accomplished through the use of glycol, often referred to as MEG (or mono-ethylene glycol). This chemical is the same substance used for automobile anti-freeze. The presence of the chemical lowers the freezing point of the gas and, in turn, prevents the formation of hydrates. But glycol is messy stuff and unfriendly to the environment, due to the emissions that come as a result of its use.
The Good News
Vaperma’s membrane-based Siftek, on the other hand, is expected to reduce emissions significantly. And in addition to this, it’s also supposed to be more economical. Thanks to the fact that Siftek is not a chemical, the emissions that come from its use are destined to be drastically lower. This, along with its direct effect on a reduction in energy consumption, makes the new technology a potential breakthrough for the industry.
The testing and demonstration of Vaperma’s Siftek will soon take place at an undisclosed facility in Quebec. If this new product is all it’s hype up to be, then the natural-gas industry is set to become more profitable and environmentally friendly in the very near future.