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Foaming is one of the major operating problems in natural gas sweetening alkanolamine plants. The lean methyldiethanolamine (MDEA) samples collected at different times from GASCO (Habshan, Abu Dhabi) sites were analyzed analytically and laboratory foaming studies were carried out to understand the root cause of foaming. Finally, the work aimed to investigate the effect of foam reduction after removal of contaminants such as total organic acid anions and heavy metal ions (chromium and iron) from lean MDEA solutions using bio-polymeric adsorbents. The adsorbents were characterized using SEM and FTIR analysis. In both batch and column studies bio-polymeric adsorbent outperform currently used carbon used by GASCO. The foaming studies after removal of contaminants justified the use of new adsorbents in reclaiming lean MDEA solutions in the plant.


Foaming is one of the major operational problems in the amine absorption process leading to serious consequences like loss of absorption capacity, reduced mass transfer area and efficiency. Alhseinat et al. (2014) reported the significant effect of various organic acids on foaming. Hence, removal of total organic acid anions from lean MDEA solutions are highly essential to lessen the impact of foaming problems faced in gas sweetening units. Recently in our previous research, we identified relatively low cost and biodegradable materials with high sorption capacities, so called the green sorbents for contaminant removal from industrial lean MDEA (Pal et al., 2014).

The main objective of this work is to evaluate the potentiality of the total organic acid anions and heavy metal ions remediation from industrial lean MDEA by adsorption using polymeric adsorbents and reduce foaming. SEM and FTIR and analysis will be carried out to understand the adsorption mechanism. Efforts will be paved on comparing the currently used carbon with bio-polymeric adsorbent in both batch and continuous studies. Finally, foaming studies will be carried out to observe the potentiality of the adsorbents.

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