Patent Number: 6,915,662

Title: Hydrocarbon gas processing

Abstract: A process for the recovery of ethane, ethylene, propane, propylene and heavier hydrocarbon components from a hydrocarbon gas stream is disclosed. In recent years, the preferred method of separating a hydrocarbon gas stream generally includes supplying at least portions of the gas stream to a fractionation tower having at least one reboiler, and often one or more side reboilers, to supply heat to the column by withdrawing and heating some of the tower liquids to produce stripping vapors that separate the more volatile components from the desired components. The reboiler and side reboilers (if any) are typically integrated into the feed stream cooling scheme to provide at least a portion of the refrigeration needed to condense the desired components for subsequent fractionation in the distillation column. In the process disclosed, the tower reboiling scheme is modified to use one or more tower liquid distillation streams from a point higher in the column than is used in the conventional reboiling scheme, providing colder stream(s) for the reboiler(s) that allow more effective cooling of the feed streams and thereby improve the efficiency with which the desired components are recovered. In addition, the tower liquid streams withdrawn from a higher point in the column contain larger quantities of the more volatile components, which when vaporized provide better stripping of undesirable components like carbon dioxide without reducing the recovery of the desired components. The heated distillation stream is returned to a lower point on the fractionation tower that is separated from the withdrawal point by at least one theoretical stage.

Inventors: Wilkinson; John D. (Midland, TX), Hudson; Hank M. (Midland, TX), Pierce; Michael C. (Odessa, TX)

Assignee: ElkCorp.

International Classification: C10G 5/00 (20060101); C07C 7/00 (20060101); C10G 70/00 (20060101); C10G 70/04 (20060101); F25J 3/02 (20060101); C10G 5/06 (20060101); F25J 003/02 ()

Expiration Date: 07/12/2022