PROCESS FOR CONDITIONING A CONTAINER COMPRISING A GRANULAR MATERIAL
1. A process for conditioning a container comprising a granular material A enabling the adsorption of the nitrogen contained in a feed gas stream, comprising a step of injecting, into the container, a gas or a gas mixture G such that the adsorption capacity of the material A with respect to G is less than 10 Ncm3/g at 25°
- C. and 1 atm.
Process for conditioning a container including a granular material A enabling the adsorption of the nitrogen contained in a feed gas stream, including a step of injecting, into the container, a gas or a gas mixture G such that the adsorption capacity of the material A with respect to G is less than 10 Ncm3/g at 25° C. and 1 atm.
- 1. A process for conditioning a container comprising a granular material A enabling the adsorption of the nitrogen contained in a feed gas stream, comprising a step of injecting, into the container, a gas or a gas mixture G such that the adsorption capacity of the material A with respect to G is less than 10 Ncm3/g at 25°
- C. and 1 atm.
- View Dependent Claims (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
The present invention relates to a process for conditioning a container comprising a granular material A enabling the adsorption of nitrogen.
The present invention will be applied both to the barrels of adsorbents, for example suppliers'"'"' barrels of adsorbents, and to the adsorbers.
Regarding the application to adsorbers, even though the present invention will first and foremost be applied to adsorbers of VSA (Vacuum Swing Adsorption gas separation process) type, the present invention will also be able to be applied to all adsorbers of PSA (Pressure Swing Adsorption gas separation processes) type:
- VSA processes are pressure swing adsorption processes in which the adsorption is substantially carried out at atmospheric pressure, referred to as high pressure, i.e. between 1 bara and 1.5 bar, and the desorption is carried out at a pressure below atmospheric pressure, typically between 0.3 to 0.5 bar.
- VPSA processes in which the adsorption is carried out at a high pressure substantially greater than atmospheric pressure, i.e. generally between 1.6 and 8 bara, preferentially between 2 and 6 bara, and the low pressure is below atmospheric pressure, typically between 30 and 800 mbara, preferably between 100 and 600 m bara.
- PSA processes in which the adsorption is carried out at a high pressure significantly greater than atmospheric pressure, typically between 1.6 and 50 bara, preferentially between 2 and 35 bara, and the low pressure is above or substantially equal to atmospheric pressure, therefore between 1 and 9 bara, preferably between 1.2 and 2.5 bara.
Hereinafter, use will be made of the term (V)PSA which will encompass VSA, PSA, and VPSA.
(V)PSA cycles comprise at least the following steps: production, decompression, purge, recompression.
In the case of a V(P)SA O2 adsorber, the molecular sieve has the function of selectively retaining nitrogen with respect to oxygen and argon. This molecular sieve therefore has a very high affinity with respect to nitrogen, which changes very substantially with the temperature at which the material is exposed.
Conventionally, the material is activated at the adsorbent manufacturer'"'"'s premises with preferentially dry air and then exposed to a flushing with dry air, with ultrapure nitrogen during phases during the filling of the adsorber in the factory in order to minimize contamination by atmospheric moisture. Thus, after filling, the adsorbent material is at equilibrium with nitrogen or air at atmospheric pressure and at the temperature of the factory.
Subsequently, the outside temperature will vary, during storage in the factory, transportation, or storage at the plant site with consequently an adsorption or a desorption of nitrogen (and of other constituents to a lesser extent) depending on whether the outside temperature is lower or higher than the filling temperature. This respiration of the adsorbent material leads to risks of pollution (in particular when the pressure in the container becomes lower than atmospheric pressure) and/or of exceeding the permissible adsorber pressure depending on the conditioning method conventionally selected.
On that basis, one problem that arises is that of providing an improved adsorber conditioning process.
One solution of the present invention is a process for conditioning a container comprising a granular material A enabling the adsorption of the nitrogen contained in a feed gas stream, comprising a step of injecting, into the container, a gas or a gas mixture G such that the adsorption capacity of the material A with respect to G is less than 10 Ncm3/g at 25° C. and 1 atm.
Depending on the case, the process according to the invention may have one or more of the features below:
- the container is a container intended to store the adsorbent in a manner that is impermeable to the air located outside of the container.
- the container is an adsorber.
- the adsorber is an adsorber of V(P)SA O2 type.
- said process comprises, after the injection step, a step of pressurizing the inside of the adsorber to a pressure of between 1.05 bar and 3 bar, preferably between 1.05 bar and 1.8 bar, even more preferentially between 1.1 and 1.5 bar.
- the injection step consists of an inflation with the gas G, a flushing of the gas G through the granular material A, inflations with the gas G, successive deflations or a combination of at least two of these methods. Note that in the case of a container intended to store the adsorbent, the injection will be carried out throughout the duration of the conditioning, in particular up to the end of the cooling necessary after the activation of the adsorbent.
- the adsorption capacity of the material A with respect to G is less than 5 Ncm3/g at 25° C. and 1 atm.
- the granular material A is selected from zeolites of A and X structures exchanged at least partially with one or more elements selected from lithium, calcium, sodium, potassium, zinc or silver.
- the gas G is selected from argon, oxygen and helium.
Within the context of the invention, it is a question of conditioning the adsorber in the factory under a slight overpressure of a poorly adsorbable gas (relative to nitrogen) in order to minimize the respiration of the adsorbent during the temperature cycles to which the adsorber may be subjected during the transportation or storage thereof.
Depending on the filling conditions, including the composition of the gas mixture within the adsorber and the temperature of the factory, the filling pressure will be able to be adjusted so that the pressure is always below the maximum permissible pressure and is as far as possible above atmospheric pressure. The maximum permissible pressure is determined by the conditions of the process for the adsorbers, and is given by the adsorbent suppliers.
The invention applies more particularly to a PSA or V(P)SA O2 adsorber, the adsorbent of which is selected due to its strong affinity for nitrogen.
The conditioning gas will preferentially be argon, but may also be selected from O2 or helium. Helium representing the ideal case in terms of respiration of the adsorbent since the adsorption thereof is virtually zero, but it does prove more expensive.
The present invention will be described in greater detail with the aid of the example below.
The adsorber taken for the example is an axial adsorber with an internal diameter of 2 m that comprises a volume of LiLSX sieve of 2.5 m3 and an additional void volume of 2.7 m3.
At 25° C. and 1 atm, the N2, O2 and Ar capacities considered on an LiLSX are respectively 22.5 Ncm3/g, 3.8 Ncm3/g and 3.8 Ncm3/g.
Two initial states are selected corresponding to extreme conditions of factory filling:
- overpressure of 100 mbar and temperature of 10° C.
- no overpressure and temperature of 30° C.
Here are the two final states corresponding to extreme conditions of on-site storage:
- Temperature of 35° C.
- Temperature of 0° C.
For each of the 2 cases, the impact of a filing with dry air and with argon was estimated (cf. Table 1)
It is observed that when the adsorber is conditioned with argon, the pressure variations in the closed adsorber are substantially lower than with a dry air filling. In particular, the maximum pressure reached with an air filling exceeds the maximum permissible pressure of a typical VSA adsorber (2 bara) whilst with an argon conditioning, this limit is far from being reached. The most favourable case is a conditioning at a pressure close to 1.5 bara that makes it possible to never exceed 2 bara and to drop below 0.9 bara when the temperature varies within a range from 0° C. to 35° C. in the adsorber during the storage or transportation thereof.
The greater the volume of the adsorber relative to the amount of adsorbent material that is selective with respect to nitrogen, the easier it will be to select a filling pressure range that makes it possible to stay within the [Patm-Pmax permissible] range. Note that the volume of the adsorber may be between 1 litre and 200 m3.
It will be understood that many additional changes in the details, materials, steps and arrangement of parts, which have been herein described in order to explain the nature of the invention, may be made by those skilled in the art within the principle and scope of the invention as expressed in the appended claims. Thus, the present invention is not intended to be limited to the specific embodiments in the examples given above.