The goal of this project is to develop a low-cost and easily scalable natural gas decarbonization process to form nanoparticles and nanofibers (CNFs) to be used as a structural additive in concrete. The project will focus on the synthesis of the carbon nanoproducts through chemical vapor deposition, and on the impact of these fibers to the durability of the concrete. The process is conceptualized to be modular/mobile for manufacture on a skid with easy transport between gas wells and high turndown ratio to handle production rate changes.
University of Colorado – Boulder, CO 80309
Natural gas production in the United States has risen dramatically due to the “shale boom” and wide implementation of hydraulic fracturing. This increased production drove down prices of natural gas and, as a result, increased flare volumes significantly due to high transportation costs. Producers of oil are increasingly choosing to either flare or vent associated gas rather than sell it. Many wells are either too far from existing gas pipelines or only have access to pipelines already at takeaway capacity. Building pipeline infrastructure is often seen as the best solution to the gas flaring dilemma. However, if the decision were made to invest in pipelines, it would take years or even decades to complete construction. A profitable alternative to this waste of natural resources is needed. Natural gas decarbonization to value-added carbon nanoproducts, such as for cement additives, using low-value methane resources appeals to the oil and gas industry now as a means of utilizing this stranded resource. Because the fluidized bed reactor (FBR) units will be able to be removed and transported easily, the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process they use will be ideally suited for operation at a single well.
Domestically produced carbon nanoproducts from NG is an attractive solution to our nation’s economic, environmental, and energy concerns. This proposed research project focuses on NG decarbonization for flare gas reduction through conversion to carbon nanoproducts. The research and development in this project will result in a mobile unit which provides a high-quality carbon nanoproduct that addresses current challenges faced by flare gas processing in remote areas. The carbon nanoproducts provide value to the concrete industry for their ability to mitigate cracking and improve infrastructure lifetimes. Current costs for ultra-high-performance concrete make it a novelty product, this innovation in chemical engineering will enable durable concrete infrastructure and allow for the growth of carbon fiber reinforced products in additive manufacturing applications. Research developments in the processing approach will also enable larger-scale centralized gas decarbonization.