New Natural Gas Dehydration Technology Improves Energy Efficiency

A potential breakthrough in natural gas dehydration technology will be tested at a demonstration facility in Quebec, thanks to an innovative partnership between Vaperma Inc., EnCana Corporation and Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC).

Developed by Vaperma, the new advanced natural gas dehydration technology has potential to significantly reduce emissions and energy consumption compared to traditional natural gas processing.

The Vaperma–EnCana–SDTC Advanced Natural Gas Dehydration Project is a three-year, $5 million innovation led by Vaperma. The project is enabled by funding of $2.5 million from EnCana's Environmental Innovation Fund, $1.6 million from SDTC (a portion of SDTC's $4.65 million funding to Vaperma for a Natural Gas and Ethanol Dehydration Project) and the balance from Vaperma.

Raw natural gas requires dehydration in order to avoid the formation of hydrates, reduce corrosion and meet sales specifications before it can be sold to the market and be used to heat homes, run hot water tanks and fuel barbeques. Until now, a process using a chemical called glycol has been used for natural gas dehydration.

Vaperma's new technology has potential to offer an environmentally-friendly, energy-saving alternative to traditional glycol natural gas dehydration. Once proven, the technology is expected to significantly reduce air emissions in the dehydration process by replacing glycol with a new membrane-based technology called Siftek. The newly patented technology uses a solvent and a temperature resistant membrane to enable dehydration.

The Siftek technology will be tested at Vaperma's new Research and Technology Centre located in Quebec City. The facility will test various membrane configurations at different natural gas pressures and temperatures. The follow-up phase of the project will demonstrate Vaperma's membrane systems at pre-commercial scale using a wellhead natural gas feed owned by EnCana in Alberta.

"Membrane-based technology offers a promising alternative to conventional processes for natural gas dehydration," said Claude Létourneau, president and CEO of Vaperma.

"Benefits are expected to compare favorably to conventional technologies due to reduced energy consumption, no chemicals being required in the process and reduced emissions. Once demonstrated, Vaperma's Siftek technology could prove to be a significant innovation in the natural gas processing industry as a replacement for glycol dehydration and amine scrubbing processes."

"EnCana is pleased to provide financial support for this project through our Environmental Innovation Fund. This project supports our commitment to Canadian innovation and leadership in cleaner and more efficient energy technologies," said Gerry Protti, executive vice-president, Corporate Relations and president, Offshore & International Division, EnCana Corporation. "EnCana recognizes the need for new technology that has the potential to reduce emissions, such as membrane separation."

"Vaperma's membrane technology is a simple, efficient and environmentally-friendly platform for use in the natural gas and biofuels processing industries," said Vicky J. Sharpe, president and CEO, SDTC.

"We believe it is a highly exportable, clean-technology with a strong potential to succeed in international settings, and one that will help Canada claim a global leadership position in this area. By helping Canadian companies overcome hurdles in the pre-commercial phase, SDTC plays an important role in increasing the likelihood that our companies' innovations succeed."

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As of 2017-12-15 16:03. Minimum 15 minute delay