Honeywell UOP Separex
 A UOP Separex unit.

UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, announced Tuesday a new, advanced membrane element designed to increase natural gas processing capacity, compared with existing technology, which it says allows producers to capture higher revenue and reduce costs.

Honeywell’s UOP Separex Flux+ is a drop-in replacement for the membrane elements in existing Separex membrane systems. Separex Flux+ increases the removal of contaminants, such as acid gas and water, which must be removed before natural gas can be transported by pipeline for commercial use.

In addition to increasing the amount of gas that can be processed in the system, Honeywell says the membrane element removes more carbon dioxide per unit membrane area than existing membrane products. This helps debottleneck downstream processing units, lowering overall operating costs for gas producers, the company says.

Designed to a compact footprint, the units can be installed on-shore or off-shore, require little-to-no utilities, and provide for very short start-up times and high turndown capabilities, according to Honeywell.

Honeywell says Separex membranes eliminate the need for solvents, making the technology particularly desirable in remote locations where logistics make supply transportation to the site difficult. Because Separex membrane elements are inert solids, these membranes offer a spill-free, ecosystem-friendly solution, the company says. 

Separex membranes have been in operation in natural gas service for decades and, according to Honeywell, can achieve the longest membrane life in the industry. To date, more than 130 Separex units have been installed worldwide. Honeywell’s UOP recently rebranded its existing Separex cellulose acetate (CA) membrane elements under the new Separex Flux name.

RELATED: Honeywell to Broaden Natural Gas Processing Offerings with Thomas Russell Acquisition

Honeywell’s UOP has increased its offerings in natural gas in recent years. In 2012, the company purchased a majority stake in Thomas Russell Co., which offers products that enable shale and conventional natural gas producers to remove contaminants from natural gas and recover high-value NGLs used for petrochemicals and fuels. Thomas Russell products are now part of the UOP Russell line.

Honeywell’s UOP also has marketing alliances with Twister B.V., and Ortloff Engineers, Ltd. for natural gas separation technology for recovering NGLs.

Honeywell’s UOP Gas Processing and Hydrogen business has also expanded its global footprint, opening a gas processing design center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2008. In 2011, it opened a manufacturing and operations center to produce natural gas membrane elements in Penang, Malaysia, to better serve growing natural gas markets in Southeast Asia and around the world.