This paper presents a LNG Liquefaction cycle configuration using two stages of methane expansion and a single stage of nitrogen expansion (Dual Refrigerant) to improve the efficiency of the conventional methane and nitrogen refrigerant expansion cycle. The chosen configuration further optimizes the composite cooling and heating curve of the liquefaction cycle, resulting in a higher thermodynamic efficiency. The production efficiency of the liquefaction cycle can be improved by reducing the interval between the cooling curve of the natural gas and the warming curve of the refrigerant: the closer both curves are, the better the efficiency of the cycle. This optimization is achieved by adjusting the refrigerant operating temperatures and pressures. The advanced dual refrigerant expansion cycle includes three levels of expansion, each having different temperature and pressure levels. In the methane expansion loop there are two stages, which are classified warm and cold. The warm loop is applied in the pre-cooling zone and the cold loop is responsible for the main liquefaction. The nitrogen loop is a single stage and is used for sub-cooling. This configuration allows the methane and nitrogen warming curve to closely match the cooling curve of the natural gas cooling curve by changing the methane and nitrogen warming curve from two straight lines into multiple intersecting straight lines of different gradient. That is to say, the additional new methane expander generates an added inflection point within the cold composite curve. As a result, thermodynamic inefficiencies are minimized and the power requirements are reduced when compared to Methane & Nitrogen Expansion Cycle. In comparison with other previous expansion cycles, the cycle efficiency has increased approximately from 13.13 to 12.08 kW/ton/day (8% efficiency increase) assuming similar feed gas (methane: 80%, MW: 21.38). The composition of this feed gas is representative for associated gas or pipe line gas which is preliminary treated to remove bulk water and hydrocarbon condensate. A case study is presented for an open sea associated gas FLNG concept, comparing three kinds of liquefaction processes (Double Nitrogen Expansion Cycle, Methane & Nitrogen Expansion Cycle and Developed Dual Refrigerant Expansion Cycle). A Life Cycle Cost (LCC) analysis based on Net Positive Value (NPV) also shows an improvement in terms of project NPV, against a minor increment of the CAPEX of these cycles.

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