Water or other impurities present in the natural gas can increase the risk of damage to the pipeline as the result of corrosion or hydrate formation. Natural gas drying/dehydration are a process where water vapors are removed from the gas streams using the highly effective desiccant material known as molecular sieves. Different types of molecular sieves are used in industrial natural gas dehydration. This drying process using 3A, 4A and 5A solid desiccant materials are performed depending on the molecules size, pore size and polarity of the gas stream. They have little difference in water vapor concentration and the gas flow rate as per their respective pore size.
3A, 4A and 5A can be used in beads and pellets form as the active adsorbents for drying process of natural gas to very low dew points of up to -100°C. They are suitable for dehydrating the natural gas that contains aromatic compounds too such as methane, ethane, propane etc. In most of the cases, PTSA (Pressure and Temperature Swing Adsorption) technology is used based on the specific type of molecular sieve. It helps in gaining maximum efficiency. The larger pore size means higher adsorption capacity. In this situation, 5A molecules have maximum adsorption or dehydration capacity as compared to 4A and 3A. Similarly, 3A molecules have maximum water adsorption and minimum adsorption of other compounds present in the natural gas.
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