Researchers develop technology to reduce cost of purifying natural gas

July 29, 2015, Queen's University Belfast
Queen's researchers develop technology to reduce cost of purifying natural gas
Project coordinator, Dr Natalia Plechkova, from the Queen's University Ionic Liquid Laboratories Research Centre. Credit: Queen's University Belfast

Researchers at Queen's University Belfast have developed a cutting-edge method of reducing the carbon dioxide content of natural gas, a process of major economic and environmental importance in the oil and gas industry.

A team of researchers in the Queen's University Ionic Liquid Laboratories (QUILL) Research Centre has developed an innovative technology that uses a mixture of water and (salts which are liquid under ambient conditions) to remove carbon dioxide from raw extracted from natural reservoirs under the sea.

The new process is aimed at reducing the global environmental and economic costs of purifying natural gas, which is by far the cleanest burning fuel available in large amounts. In comparison to current conventional 'amine' purifying systems, which use volatile and corrosive materials, the new ionic liquid system is safer, more efficient, and more environmentally friendly.

The process offers a range of commercial and industrial opportunities. It is compact enough to be utilised on off-shore platforms or installed on land-based gas-processing plants, and once captured the carbon dioxide may be stored, reprocessed, or used for enhanced oil recovery.

Dr David Wassell, who led the team from the Queen's University Ionic Liquid Laboratories (QUILL) Research Centre, said: "Using ionic liquids to remove the carbon dioxide from natural gas could have significant impact on the gas processing industry, particularly with the promise of using the for . It could make a significant contribution to reducing the environmental impact caused by this energy source."

Project coordinator, Dr Natalia Plechkova, from the Queen's University Ionic Liquid Laboratories (QUILL) Research Centre, said: "This joint project, developed with the global energy company PETRONAS, shows the progress which can be made in genuinely collaborative industry-university projects. The key to success was an integrated team approach."

"This is the latest example of the commitment of researchers and staff at Queen's to advancing knowledge and achieving excellence for the benefit of society."

Explore further: Scientists develop perfume which smells better the more you sweat

More information: Carbon dioxide uptake from natural gas by binary ionic liquid–water mixtures, Green Chemistry, … c00720h#!divAbstract

Related Stories

Sequestration and fuel reserves

July 30, 2013

A technique for trapping the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide deep underground could at the same be used to release the last fraction of natural gas liquids from ailing reservoirs, thus offsetting some of the environmental impact ...

Recommended for you

Targeting 'hidden pocket' for treatment of stroke and seizure

January 19, 2019

The ideal drug is one that only affects the exact cells and neurons it is designed to treat, without unwanted side effects. This concept is especially important when treating the delicate and complex human brain. Now, scientists ...

Artificially produced cells communicate with each other

January 18, 2019

Friedrich Simmel and Aurore Dupin, researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), have for the first time created artificial cell assemblies that can communicate with each other. The cells, separated by fatty membranes, ...

Using bacteria to create a water filter that kills bacteria

January 18, 2019

More than one in 10 people in the world lack basic drinking water access, and by 2025, half of the world's population will be living in water-stressed areas, which is why access to clean water is one of the National Academy ...

Hand-knitted molecules

January 18, 2019

Molecules are usually formed in reaction vessels or laboratory flasks. An Empa research team has now succeeded in producing molecules between two microscopically small, movable gold tips – in a sense as a "hand-knitted" ...

This computer program makes pharma patents airtight

January 17, 2019

Routes to making life-saving medications and other pharmaceutical compounds are among the most carefully protected trade secrets in global industry. Building on recent work programming computers to identify synthetic pathways ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.