Enhancement of LNG plant propane cycle through waste heat powered absorption cooling

P. Rodgers, A. Mortazavi, V. Eveloy, S. Al-Hashimi, Y. Hwang, R. Radermacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


In liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants utilizing sea water for process cooling, both the efficiency and production capacity of the propane cycle decrease with increasing sea water temperature. To address this issue, several propane cycle enhancement approaches are investigated in this study, which require minimal modification of the existing plant configuration. These approaches rely on the use of gas turbine waste heat powered water/lithium bromide absorption cooling to either (i) subcool propane after the propane cycle condenser, or (ii) reduce propane cycle condensing pressure through pre-cooling of condenser cooling water. In the second approach, two alternative methods of pre-cooling condenser cooling water are considered, which consist of an open sea water loop, and a closed fresh water loop. In addition for all cases, three candidate absorption chiller configurations are evaluated, namely single-effect, double-effect, and cascaded double- and single-effect chillers. The thermodynamic performance of each propane cycle enhancement scheme, integrated in an actual LNG plant in the Persian Gulf, is evaluated using actual plant operating data. Subcooling propane after the propane cycle condenser is found to improve propane cycle total coefficient of performance (COP T) and cooling capacity by 13% and 23%, respectively. The necessary cooling load could be provided by either a single-effect, double-effect or cascaded and single- and double-effect absorption refrigeration cycle recovering waste heat from a single gas turbine operated at full load. Reducing propane condensing pressure using a closed fresh water condenser cooling loop is found result in propane cycle COP T and cooling capacity enhancements of 63% and 22%, respectively, but would require substantially higher capital investment than for propane subcooling, due to higher cooling load and thus higher waste heat requirements. Considering the present trend of short process enhancement payback periods in the natural gas industry, subcooling propane after the propane cycle condenser is recommended as the preferred option to boost propane cycle performance.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)41-53
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2012


  • Absorption chiller
  • Aspen plus
  • LNG plant
  • Waste heat utilization


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