The Sulfinol process is a regenerative process developed to reduce H2S, CO2, COS and mercaptans from gases. The sulfur compounds in the product gas can be reduced to low ppm levels. This process has been developed specifically for treating large quantities of gas, such as natural gas, which are available at elevated pressures. The Sulfinol process is unique in the class of absorption processes because it uses a mixture of solvents, which allows it to behave as both a chemical and a physical absorption process. The solvent is composed of Sulfolane, DIPA or MDEA and water. The acid gas loading of the Sulfinol solvent is higher and the energy required for its regeneration is lower than those of purely chemical solvents. At the same time it has the advantage over purely physical solvents that severe product specifications can be met more easily and co-absorption of hydrocarbons is relatively low. For selective absorpton of H2S, COS and mercaptans, while co-absorbing only part of the CO2, the Sulfinol-M process is used. Deep removal of CO2 in LNG plants is another application. Integration of gas treating with the SCOT solvent system is an option.
The feed gas is contacted counter-currently in an absorption column with the Sulfinol solvent. The regenerated solvent is introduced at the top of the absorber. The sulfur compounds loaded solvent (rich solvent) is heated by heat exchange with the regenerated solvent and is fed back to the regenerator where it is further heated and freed of the acid gases with steam.
The acid gases removed from the solvent in the regenerator are cooled with air or water, so that the major part of the water vapor they contain is condensed. The sour condensate is reintroduced into the system as a reflux. The acid gas is passed to the sulfur recovery plant (Claus plant) in which elemental sulfur is recovered.
Very wide ranges of treating pressures and contaminant concentrations can be accommodated. Natural gas pipeline specifications are easily met. Removal of organic sulfur compounds is usually accomplished by the solvent circulations as set by H2S and CO2. In LNG plants a specification of 50 ppm CO2 prior to liquefaction is attained without difficulty.
The utility consumption varies widely with feed gas composition and product gas specification
- Removal of H2S, COS and organic sulfur to natural gas pipeline specification.
- Low steam consumption and solvent circulation.
- Low corrosion rates.
- Selective removal of H2S in some natural gas applications.
- Smaller equipment due to low foaming tendency.
- High on-stream factor.
Jacobs Nederland B.V., Leiden, The Netherlands, and Jacobs Canada, Calgary together forming Jacobs Comprimo® Sulfur Solutions is one of the three authorized licensors on behalf of Shell Research Ltd. since 1981
|Streams to be Treated
||H2S (selectively), CO2 (partly), COS, RSH + organic S
|Oil and coal gasification
||H2S, COS (H2S is selectively removed)
|LNG feedstock, hydrogen manufacture synthesis gas