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Natural Gas to BTX

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  • University of PennsylvaniaScholarlyCommons

    Senior Design Reports (CBE) Department of Chemical & BiomolecularEngineering

    4-1-2013

    Natural Gas to BTXDaniel ConsoliUniversity of Pennsylvania

    Nima JelvehUniversity of Pennsylvania

    Hardik KotechaUniversity of Pennsylvania

    Sulim LeeUniversity of Pennsylvania

    This paper is posted at ScholarlyCommons. http://repository.upenn.edu/cbe_sdr/50For more information, please contact repository@pobox.upenn.edu.

  • Natural Gas to BTX

    AbstractA plant that uses three major stages to convert natural gas to produce a 1MMM lb of mixed xylenes stream ayear, which contains 68 wt% of para-xylene, was designed for this project. The three main stages are thedehydrocyclization stage, where methane is converted to benzene; the alkylation stage, where benzene isalkylated to form xylenes; and the post- processing stage that separates para-xylene from the mixed xylenestream. The goal of the project was to produce a billion pounds of BTX while maximizing profits. This reportprovides a detailed design and economic analysis for the production of para- xylene and mixed xylenes on theGulf Coast. Process flow sheets, energy and utility requirements, and equipment summaries have beenprovided and analyzed. The process is currently unprofitable with an IRR of 5.77% and a net present value of$(327,000,000) at a discount rate of 20%. The financials for this venture are highly sensitive to the price ofnatural gas, which is currently $0.02/lb. A few major reasons that make this venture unprofitable are theextremely high costs for the two proprietary processes, namely the Sulfolane process and the Parex process,high use of utilities, and low conversion of methane to benzene. After in depth analysis of the financials, werecommend that this project should not be executed unless the proprietary process costs are significantlyreduced or a better conversion of methane to benzene is achieved.

    DisciplinesBiochemical and Biomolecular Engineering | Chemical Engineering | Engineering

    This working paper is available at ScholarlyCommons: http://repository.upenn.edu/cbe_sdr/50

  • Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

    Senior Design Reports (CBE)

    University of Pennsylvania May 2013

    Natural Gas to BTX

    Daniel Consoli

    University of Pennsylvania

    Nima Jelveh

    University of Pennsylvania

    Sulim Lee

    University of Pennsylvania

    Hardik Kotecha

    University of Pennsylvania

  • CBE 459: PROCESS SYSTEM DESIGN PROJECTS

    Professors Leonard Fabiano and Warren Seider

    Natural Gas to BTX Senior Design Project

    Daniel Consoli, Nima Jelveh, Hardik Kotecha, Sulim Lee

    04/09/2013

    Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

    University of Pennsylvania

    Faculty Advisor: Dr. Wen Shieh, University of Pennsylvania

    Project Author: Mr. Bruce Vrana, DuPont Engineering Research & Technology

  • University of Pennsylvania

    School of Engineering and Applied Science

    Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

    April 9th

    2013

    Dear Dr. Shieh, Mr. Fabiano, and Mr. Vrana,

    As requested in our assigned Senior Design Project Statement, we have designed and

    evaluated a process for the production of benzene, tolune, and xylene products (BTX) from

    natural gas. This process produces one billion pounds of BTX as was specified in the project

    request. A process producing xylenes was pursued as the only product of this process because its

    production was the only one that was calculated to be profitable on a material balance basis

    given the patented process pursued. In spite of the limited information available on many of the

    proprietary technologies needed to optimally run this process, we are confident in the accuracy

    of the costs, energy requirements, and feasibility judgments that are presented in this report

    regarding the production of BTX from natural gas.

    This process provides a detailed process and the potential profitability of the proposed

    BTX plant. The design incorporates a natural gas feed rate of 315,800 lb/hr and methanol feed

    rate of 112,000 lb/hr. Production was assumed to operate 24 hours a day for 330 days a year.

    The main fixed capital investments for this process are the proprietary Parex unit, two multi-

    stage compressors, a proprietary sulfolane unit, and two very large heat exchanger units.

    Based on the provided pricing of BTX components, reagents, and side products, the

    proposed process yields an IRR of 5.77%. This modest return is below the hurdle rate of 20%

    and therefore it is not recommended that this process be pursued.

    This process could be further improved via enhanced separation processes that would

    greatly reduce the cost of utilities required. In addition, further research into the implementation

    of other proprietary processes would allow additional optimization to be achieved.

    Sincerely,

    ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________

    Daniel Consoli Nima Jelveh Hardik Kotecha Sulim Lee

  • Table of Contents

    Table of Contents Natural Gas to BTX ........................................................................................................................ 2

    ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................................ 9

    I) INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................................... 10

    Project Charter .......................................................................................................................... 10

    Process Overview...................................................................................................................... 11

    II) MARKET AND COMPETITIVE ANALYSES ..................................................................... 15

    Market Analysis ........................................................................................................................ 15

    The Use of Natural Gas Over Oil ......................................................................................... 15

    Benzene ................................................................................................................................. 16

    Xylene ................................................................................................................................... 17

    BTX Industry ........................................................................................................................ 18

    Competitive Analysis ................................................................................................................ 20

    Competition........................................................................................................................... 20

    Porters Five Forces: ............................................................................................................. 21

    Customer Requirements ............................................................................................................ 24

    III) PROCESS OVERVIEW, FLOWSHEETS, MASS BALANCE & ENERGY BALANCE... 27

    Preliminary Process Synthesis .................................................................................................. 27

    Assembly of Database............................................................................................................... 41

    Bench-Scale Laboratory Work ................................................................................................. 42

    Process Flowsheet and Material Balances ................................................................................ 44

    Process Description ................................................................................................................... 55

    Energy Balance and Utility Requirements ................................................................................ 67

    Utilities:................................................................................................................................. 68

    Heat Integration Alternatives: ............................................................................................... 70

    Heat Exchanger Network (HEN) Flowsheet ............................................................................. 83

    IV) EQUIPMENT LIST, UNIT DESCRIPTIONS, AND SPECIFICATION SHEETS ............. 91

    Equipment List and Unit Descriptions ...................................................................................... 91

    Distillation Columns ............................................................................................................. 91

    Decanter ................................................................................................................................ 94

    Reactors................................................................................................................................. 94

  • Compressors .......................................................................................................................... 95

    Pumps .................................................................................................................................... 97

    Heat Exchangers ................................................................................................................. 101

    Fired Heaters (Furnac

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