Sources and potential application of waste heat utilization at a gas processing facility

  • Alyas Ali Alshehhi

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Waste heat recovery (WHR) has the potential to significantly improve the efficiency of oil and gas plants, chemical and other processing facilities, and reduce their environmental impact. In this Thesis a comprehensive energy audit at Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Ltd. (GASCO) ASAB gas processing facilities is undertaken to identify sources of waste heat and evaluate their potential for on-site recovery. Two plants are considered, namely ASAB0 and ASAB1. Waste heat evaluation criteria include waste heat grade (i.e., temperature), rate, accessibility (i.e., proximity) to potential on-site waste heat recovery applications, and potential impact of recovery on installation performance and safety. The operating parameters of key waste heat source producing equipment are compiled, as well as characteristics of the waste heat streams. In addition, potential waste heat recovery applications and strategies are proposed, focusing on utilities, i.e., enhancement of process cooling/heating, electrical/mechanical power generation, and steam production. The sources of waste heat identified at ASAB facilities consist of gas turbine and gas generator exhaust gases, flared gases, excess propane cooling capacity, excess process steam, process gas air-cooler heat dissipation, furnace exhaust gases and steam turbine outlet steam. Of the above waste heat sources, exhaust gases from five gas turbines and one gas generator at ASAB0 plant, as well as from four gas turbines at ASAB1 plant, were found to meet the rate (i.e., > 1 MW), grade (i.e., > 180°C), accessibility (i.e., < 50 m from potential on-site WHR applications) and minimal impact criteria on the performance and safety of existing installations, for potential waste heat recovery. The total amount of waste heat meeting these criteria were estimated at 256 MW and 289 MW at ASAB0 and ASAB1 plants, respectively, both of which are substantial. Of the 289 MW waste generated at ASAB1, approximately 173 MW are recovered by waste heat recovery steam generators (WHRSGs), leaving 116 MW unutilized. The following strategies were developed to recover the above waste heat. At ASAB0, it is proposed that exhaust gases from all five gas turbines be used to power a WHRSG. The steam generated by the WHRSG would both i) drive an absorption refrigeration unit for gas turbine inlet air cooling, which would result in additional electric or mechanical power generation, and pre-cooling of process gas, which could reduce the need for or eliminate air coolers, as well as reduce propane chiller load, and ii) serve for heating of lean gas, which would reduce furnace load. At ASAB1, it is proposed that exhaust gases from all four gas turbines be used to generate steam in WHRSG that would drive an absorption refrigeration unit for either gas turbine inlet air cooling for additional electric or mechanical power generation, or pre-cooling of process gas to eliminate air-coolers and reduce propane chiller cooling load. Considering the smaller amount of waste heat available at ASAB1 (116 MW) relative to ASAB0 (237 MW), these above two recovery options could not be implemented simultaneously at ASAB0. To permit the detailed design and techno-economic feasibility evaluation of the proposed waste heat recovery strategies in a subsequent study, the cooling loads and associated electric power consumption of ASAB0 process gas air-coolers were estimated at 21 MW and 1.9 MW, respectively, and 67 MW and 2.2 MW, respectively for ASAB1 plant. In addition, the heating loads and fuel consumption of ASAB0 furnaces used for lean gas re-generation were estimated at 24 MW and 0.0653 MMSCMD, respectively. In modeling work undertaken in parallel with this study at the Petroleum Institute, the waste heat recovery strategies proposed here were found to be thermodynamically and economically feasible, and to lead to substantial energy and cost savings, hence environmental benefits.
Date of Award2011
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorValerie Eveloy (Supervisor)


  • Applied sciences
  • Gas processing facility
  • Waste heat utilization
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Energy
  • 0548:Mechanical engineering
  • 0791:Energy

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