Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 8

United States Patent [191' [11] 4,072,604

Ward f [45] Feb. 7, 1978

[54] PROCESS T0 SEPARATE HYDROCARBONS [56] ' References Cited


FROM GAS-STREAMS . U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
2,181,302 11/1939 Keith et a1. ....... .._ ............... .. 208/101
[75] Inventor: Dennis J. Ward, South Barrington, 2,371,817 3/1945 Frey ............................ .. 260/6815 R
' Ill. 3,347,621 10/1967 Papadopoulos et a1. .......... .. 208/341
3,574,089 - 4/1971 Forbes ................................ .. 208/ 101

[73] Assignee: UOP Inc., Des Plaines, Ill. Primary Examiner-Herbert Levin
Attorney, Agent, or FirmJames R. Hoatson, J r.; Robert
W. Erickson; William H. Page, II
[21] Appl. No.: 706,859
[57] ABSTRACT
[22] Filed:' ' July 19, 1976 _
A process for the separation of speci?c C2 to C6 hydro
carbons from a gaseous feed stream containing C1 to
C6-plus hydrocarbons. The feed stream enters an ab
sorber and is ?rst contacted by a primary lean liquid
Related US. Application Data which is a portion of the bottoms product of the strip
[63] Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 560,854, March 21, ping column to which the rich absorber liquid is
1975, abandoned, which is a continuation-in-part of charged. The primary lean liquid contains the speci?c
Ser. No. 453,656,'March 21, 1974, abandoned. hydrocarbons which it is desired to separate from the
feed stream. The feed stream is then contacted by a
[51] m. 01.2 ..................... .......... ...'. ...... C10G 5/04 secondary lean liquid which does not contain these
[52] US. 01. ...................................... ..-20s/s41; 55/46; hydrocarbons and which is produced by fractionating a
55/223; 208/101 second portionof the stripper bottoms.
[58] Field ofSearch- ................. 208/101,34l; 55/46,
55/48, 51, 223 5 Claims, 1 Drawing Figure

Vapor '
l4

Fractional/an
. Zone

'6'

1 . ,
Sir/ppmg f
4 flan; l0
US. Patent Feb. 7, 1978 4,072,604

Vapor '
l4
Fracfl'ona?on
Gases Zane

<-- 3' Absglrpefian 6

._/- .
Stripping
2009
[I]
[a 4: ' , / /o

2\
g i

.9\
B\ t

4 4 4
4 5
t ' ' a 4 ,2

(.9 \8 '- -' l0


\_ .
6' [/3
1\Fd ._ .- 9/ .- Liquid]
4,072,604 2
1
rected toward the production of gasoline by the reac
PROCESS TO SEPARATE ,HYDROCARBONS ' tion of C3 and C4 hydrocarbons, and it does not teach
FROM GAS STREAMS performing the absorption in a manner which uses the
inventive concept. This reference uses as a primary lean
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED liquid a mixture of gasoline, gas oil and a small portion
APPLICATIONS of heavier oils. The secondary lean liquid is taught to be
This application is a continuation-in-part of my co a heavier oil, such as a gas oil and may include heavier
pending application Ser. No. 560,854, ?led Mar. 21, oils. Neither of these absorber liquids is taught to con
1975, now abandoned which was a continuation-in-part tain any C3-C4 hydrocarbons which it is desired to re
of my now abandoned application Ser. No. 453,656, 10 cover. In comparison, the primary lean liquid used for
?led Mar. 21, 1974. the recovery of C3-C4 hydrocarbons in the preferred
embodiment as claimed herein contains C3-C4 hydrocar
FIELD OF THE INVENTION bons. That is, in the subject process the primary lean
The ?eld of art to which this invention pertains is the absorber liquid contains the same material which it is
separation of hydrocarbons. It particularly relates to the desired to recover from the rising feed gas stream.
separation and recovery of speci?c vaporous organic A second distinguishing feature is that in the refer
and inorganic constituents from a gaseous feed stream. ence the combined absorption media is removed from
Speci?cally, this invention relates to theseparation and the absorber tower and passed into an intermediate
recovery of selected C2 to C6 hydrocarbons from a gase point of a full fractionation column having both recti?
ous feed stream comprising CI-CG-plus hydrocarbons as 20 cation and stripping sections. In the subject process the
performed in a gas concentration unit such as found in combined absorption media is passed into the top of a
petroleum re?neries. ' stripping column. The reference fractionation column is
operated so to produce a bottoms stream lacking the
PRIOR ART components to be recovered, in this case C3-C4 hydro
Substances which are vaporous at normal conditions 25 carbons. The subject stripping column however is oper
are employed in the synthesis of many organic and ated in a manner which produces a bottoms stream
inorganic compounds. Ethylene, for example, is in de containing all of the components to be recovered, again
mand as a starting material in the synthesis of alcohols > in this example, C3-C4 hydrocarbons.
and synthetic rubber. Propylene and butylenes are in The overhead streams produced in each of these
particularly great demand for plastics manufacture and 30 columns is also treated differently. In the subject pro
for conversion to high octane motor fuel blending com cess, the overhead stream of the stripping column is
ponents by polymerization and alkylation processes. preferably admixed with the feed stream to the process
Sources of these vaporous materials include petroleum and then passed directly into the bottom of the ab
and chemical cracking and conversion processes such as sorber. In the reference, the overhead material of the
thermal cracking, catalytic cracking, reforming, hydro 35 fractionator is passed into a separating zone which is not
cracking, fermentation, etc. The chemical reactions part of the absorber in admixture with the feed stream
occurring in these processes produce commercially to the process, and only after rising through this trayed
desirable quantities of vaporous materials, often as side separating zone does any portion of the feed stream or
products mixed with the main products of these pro overhead material enter the absorption zones. It is also
cesses. The value of these vaporous materials makes it 40 taught in the reference that the absorption media is
desirable to recover them and concentrate them as prevented from entering the separating zone by trap out
much as is economically possible. For this reason, gas - trays located above the separating zone. The admixture
separation processes are commonly used in conjunction of the overhead material and the feed stream therefore
with these conversion processes to recover and concenq does not contact the combined absorption media as
trate these valuable vapors. 45 claimed herein.
There are several types of commercial gas separation BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
and puri?cation processes. For instance, beds of regen
erable adsorbents may be used for such purposes. An The present invention provides a process for the
other type of process is typi?ed by ethylene manufac- - recovery of normally vaporous or normally liquid com
turing units and consists of high pressure, low tempera 50 ponents from a composite stream containing these com
ture fractionation operations. A third type of process, ponents, such as an effluent stream from a chemical
which is widely used in oil re?neries, consists of a com conversion zone. This process has the advantage of
bined absorber-stripper operation and is commonly. requiring less energy to operate the fractionation col
referred to as a gas concentration unit. umnin which the desired product is ?nally separated
Gas concentration units currently in use are com .55 from the absorber liquid.
prised of three major sections or zones: absorption, Two lean absorber liquids absorb normally vaporous
stripping and fractionation. In essence, there zones components from a gaseous feed composite stream in an
serve, respectively, to absorb all but the lightest gaseous absorption zone. The resulting rich absorber liquid
components from a feed gas stream, to strip the unde passes to a stripping zone wherein light gases dissolved
sired lower boiling point dissolved gases from the rich in the rich absorber liquid are removed and a stripped
absorber liquid, and to fractionate the absorbed compo liquid is produced. This stripped liquid contains both a
nents into various product streams, as .by rejectin heavy absorption media and those hydrocarbons which
heavier hydrocarbons. . . I ' it is desired to recover from the feed stream. A ?rst
US. Pat. No. 2,181,302 illustrates a process which is aliquot portion of the stripped liquid enters a central
similar to that claimed herein to the extent thatthe feed 65 portion of the absorption zone as a primary lean ab-'
gas stream passing upward through an absorption zone sorber liquid, and the remaining portion of the stripped
is ?rst contacted by a primary lean liquid and then by a . liquid passes to a fractionation zone. The fractionation
secondary lean liquid. This reference however is di zone provides a vapor overhead product comprising the
4,072,604
3 4
hydrocarbons to be recovered and a vliquid bottoms tion zone 2. The remaining portion of the liquid product
product. At least a portion of this liquid bottoms prod is withdrawn from conduit 12 in conduit 13 and exits the
uct passes into an upper portion of the absorption zone process. The withdrawn portion is equal in ?ow rate to
as a secondary lean absorber liquid. the net rate at which Cs-plus hydrocarbons are intro
duced to the absorption zone by the feed stream.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
The preferred embodiment of the present invention. is DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE
illustrated in the attached drawing and comprises the INVENTION
recovery of C3 and C4 hydrocarbons from a gaseous The production of re?ned petroleum products and
feed stream. Only such details are included as are neces the production of chemical products such as food stuffs,
sary for a clear understanding of my invention, and no fertilizer and the like involve numerous processes such
intention is thereby made to unduly limit its scope. as distillation, catalytic reforming, catalytic cracking,
Certain items necessary to the operation of my inven- fermentation, chemical conversion, etc. These pro
tion but unnecessary to the understanding of it, such as cesses are well known to those skilled in the art and
certain valves, pumps, instrumentation and other equip need not be discussed in great detail herein. However, a '
ment, have been omitted for the sake of simplicity. characteristic of these processes and many others to be
Referring now to the drawing, a gaseous feed stream found in petroleum re?neries and processing plants is
comprising hydrogen, methane, ethane, various C3 and the production of components which are broadly re
C4 hydrocarbons such as propylene, normal and isobu ferred to herein as normally vaporous materials and
tane, and possibly small amounts of heavier hydrocar 20 normally liquid materials. Normally vaporous materi
bons such as pentane and hexane enters the process als are those which at normal conditions of tempera
through conduit 1. The feed stream is admixed with the ture and pressure exist in the vapor state. Conditions
material in line 6 and passed into the bottom of an ab referred to in the art as normal conditions are a pressure
sorption zone 2. A secondary lean absorber liquid com of l_ atmosphere and a temperature of 60 F. When
prising a naphtha enters the top of absorption zone in 25 normally vaporous materials are transformed from the
conduit 9. A primary lean absorber liquid in conduit 8 vapor state to_ the liquid state, they are said to become
enters the absorption zone below the entry point of the lique?ed vapors. Normally liquid materials are those
secondary lean absorber liquid. These lean absorber which exist in the liquid state at normal conditions.
liquids pass downwardly through the absorption zone As pointed out above the components of these vari
countercurrent to the rising feed stream absorbing at ous streams are of value as products, as raw materials or
least a portion of the vaporous materials of the feed - as fuel. It is an objective of this invention to provide a
stream. Each component of the feed stream will be process for the recovery of a higher boiling point com
absorbed to some extent dependent upon the equilib pound from a vapor stream containing components
rium conditions of the system. Those gases not absorbed with lower boiling points. It is another objective of this
by the lean absorber liquids exit the top of the absorp 35 invention to provide a process for use in oil re?nery gas
tion zone in conduit 3. concentration units. A further objective of the inven
A rich absorber liquid stream, containing any liquid tion is to reduce the utility costs of operating gas con
feed components, the absorber liquids and the absorbed centration units.
gaseous feed components, exits the absorption zone in The present invention broadly provides a method for
conduit 4 and passes into an upper portion of a stripping 40 recovering components from the ef?uent of any re?n
zone 5. The stripping zoneis operated at conditions ing or conversion process for organic or inorganic ma
which cause the rejection of low boiling materials, in terials which contains the types of components which
cluding C1 and C2 hydrocarbons, which are contained in are referred to as normally vaporous and normally liq
the rich absorber liquid stream. These undesired ab uid. For instance, the invention may be used in the
sorbed gases are thereby removed from the rich oil in 4.5 recovery of C3 and C4 hydrocarbons from a gaseous
the stripping zone 5 and are recycled in conduit 6 to the stream which also comprise hydrogen, ammonia, hy
absorption zone 2 via conduit 1, intermixing therein v drogen sul?de, methane and C2 hydrocarbons. The
with the feed. This stripper overhead vapor stream is invention may also be utilized to remove, for instance, a
passed into the absorption zone for the purpose of re C6 hydrocarbon, such as benzene or normal hexane,
covering any 0; and C4 hydrocarbons which it may from a gaseous stream comprising hydrocarbons having
contain. ' anywhere from one to seven or more carbon atoms per
A stripped liquid stream is withdrawn from the strip molecule. In any of these applications the sequential
ping zone 5 in conduit 7. This stream contains C3 and absorption-stripping operations of the subject process
C4 hydrocarbons and also heavier gasoline components will result in the simultaneous removal from the feed
such as C7 and C9 hydrocarbons. A ?rst aliquot portion stream of higher carbon number hydrocarbons than the
of the stripped liquid exits conduit 7 in conduit 8 and target hydrocarbon. Therefore, in the just mentioned
passes to the absorption zone as the aforesaid primary recovery of C6 hydrocarbons, most of the C,- and higher
lean absorber liquid. The remaining portion of stripped hydrocarbons will also be removed from the feed
liquid exits conduit 7 in conduit 10 and passes to a frac stream. These higher boiling materials are separated
tionation zone 11 where this portion of the stripped 60 from the product stream by rejection as part of the
liquid is separated into an overhead vapor product'and fractionation column bottoms stream in the column
a bottoms liquid product. The overhead product is producing the product as an overhead stream.
withdrawn from the fractionation zone and exits the A broad embodiment of the invention may be charac
process in conduit 14. It is an essentially pure mixture of terized as a process for the recovery of a higher boiling
C3 and C4 hydrocarbons. The bottoms liquid product 65 point component of a vapor stream containing compo
exits the fractionation zone in conduit 12. A portion of nents with lower boiling points. As this implies, the
the liquid product exits conduit 12 in conduit 9, passing invention is also suitable for the recovery of ethane or
as aforesaid secondary lean absorber liquid to absorp ethylene from a stream'containingmethane and hydro
4,072,604 6
5
gen or for the separation and recovery of various inor upstream ?uid catalytic cracking unit is such that liquid
ganic compounds. Forinstance, carbon tetrachloride or and vapor portions of the feed are delivered to the
boron tri?uoride can belrecovered from hydrogen-con separation process in separate conduits and when the
taining gas streams by the subject process. Two or more liquid portion arrives at the separation process unsatu
embodiments of the invention may be used in seriesfor , rated insoluble vaporous feed components.
the recovery of different compounds. For instance, the Any type of absorption apparatus capable of provid
feed stream may be processed in a ?rst absorption zone . ing adequate countercurrent contacting of the feed
to remove C3 and C4hydrocarbons and then the rejected stream with a descending stream of absorption liquid
gases may be passed into a second absorption zone to may be utilized. Preferably, the absorption zone is one
selectively recover C2 hydrocarbons. or more vertically disposed plate or packed absorption
For illustrative purposes,.the present inventionvwill' towers, having a total of 20 or more contact stages. The
be described with reference to the ef?uent from a hy? absorption zone is maintained at conditions selected to
drocarbon cracking process. Normally liquid and nor cause the absorption of at least a portion of the vapor
mally vaporous hydrocarbons from the cracking unit ous components of the feed which it is desired to re
conventionally leave in both the liquid and vapor cover in the process. In general, the hydrocarbons these
streams from the fractionation zone of the unit. The conditions include a pressure of from about 100 to 500 I
vapor streams are sent to a separation process referred psig. orvhigher and a temperature of from about 60 to
to as a gas concentration unit for recovery of a stabi-" 150 F. A preferred temperature range for the effluent
lized liquid hydrocarbon product, or stabilized gasoline, streams from the absorption zone is 80 to 140 F. Since
puri?ed hydrocarbon vapors"and light gases. The stabi 20 absorption is normally exothermic, it may be necessary
lized gasoline product principally comprises hydrocar to provide one or more heat removal means to prevent
bons having 5 or more carbon. atoms per molecule and the temperature within the absorption zone from ex
which have a boiling point below 400 F. This gasoline ceeding these limits. The heat removal means can be a
is referred to as stabilized because 'it'does not contain system, such as those well known in the art, which
light materials such l as ethane, propane or hydrogen 25 removes liquid' from an otherwise overheated stage
which would contribute effervescence to the gasoline. within the absorption zone, pumps this liquid through a
The hydrocarbon vapor stream produced in the separa-v cooling device and returns the cooled liquid to the stage
tion process typically comprises hydrocarbons having 3 immediately below. The heat removal means may also
to 4 carbon atoms per molecule and includes such com be indirect heat exchangers located within the absorp
pounds as propane, butylenes and the like.'These hydro 30 tion zone. It is within the expertise of those skilled in the
carbon vapor products "are frequently'recovered at ele art to select effective absorption conditions when inor
vated pressures and lique?ed and in such a state are ganic chemicals are being recovered from the feed
referred to in the art as lique?ed'petroleum gas, or stream. '

LPG. This product may b-further processed in-down Liquid ?owing downward within the absorption
stream fractionation facilitiesiif it is- desired to produce 35 zone, countercurrent to upward~flowing vapors, is pro
further puri?ed hydrocarbon product streams such as, vided by two streams of different lean absorber liquid
for example, a stream"substantiallycomprising hydro which enter the upper portion of the absorption zone 2
carbons of only 3 carbon atoms, 4 carbon atoms, etc. in conduits 8 and 9. These streams are referred to as
The light gas streamfrom the separation process com-. being lean because they are substantially less than satu
monly contains compounds such as methane and hydro 40 rated with the vaporous feed components which it is
gen. This stream of light'components, sometimes re desired to remove from the feed stream. In ?owing
ferred to as non-condensible gases, is valuable primarily downwardly through the absorption zone, the lean
as fuel and is conducted from theseparation :process to absorber liquids absorb vaporous hydrocarbon feed
a fuel system. a " ' 1E '~ 1 components and a portion of the gaseous feed compo;
In the preferred embodiment" of .the separation pro 45 nents. The combined lean absorberrliquids, absorbed
cess, which is shown. in'th'e attached drawing, an admix vaporous feed components and liquid feed components
ture of normally liquid hydrocarbons and normally exit the absorption zone 2 as a mixture referred to as the
vaporous hydrocarbons and methane -and hydrogen rich absorber liquid. Gases which have not been ab
gases enters near the'bottom of multistage absorption - sorbed by the absorber liquid are withdrawn from the
zone 2 through conduit 1.- It should be noted that, this is 50 top of the absorption zone and preferably are substan
only one method of performing the preferred embodi tially free of the feed components which it is desired to
ment. Anothermethod is to introduce-the vaporous recover. As used herein the term substantially free is
portion of the feed as shown and to introduce any liquid intended to indicate that at least 80 mole percent, and
portion of the feed closer to the top of the absorption preferably 90 mole percent of the material chosen for
zone. The considerations involved. here are: (a) the 55 recovery which enters in the feed stream is no longer
vaporous portion of the feed should upwardly traverse present in the gaseous stream vented from the top of the
as many contact stages as possible within the absorption absorption zone. The rich absorber liquid withdrawn
zone such that soluble components of the vapor are from the absorption zone is then introduced into an
dissolved into the liquid within the absorption zone to upper portion of the stripping zone.
the greatest extent possible; (b)'if thevliquid portion of ' As was indicated above, in the preferred embodiment
the feed comes to theseparation process substantially it is desired that hydrogen, methane and ethane exit the
unsaturated in soluble vaporous components, then it separation process as gases in conduit 3 and that pro
should enter the absorption zone nearer the top in order pane, propylene, butanes and butylenes exit the process
to pass as many absorption stages as necessary to absorb as a vapor product in conduit 14. Ideally, therefore, the
as much as possible of these vaporous components. 65 rich absorber liquid leaving absorption zone 2 in con
Therefore, this variation of the preferred embodiment duit 4 would contain no hydrogen or methane. How
as to the point of introduction of the feed to the absorp ever, a portion of the hydrogen, methane and ethane in
tion zone can be desirable when the con?guration of the the feed is unavoidably absorbed in the rich absorber
4,072,604
7 8
liquid. The primary function of the stripping zone is to prising the C3 and C4 hydrocarbons which it is desired to
remove these unwanted absorbed gases. In general, the recover from the feed stream and a bottoms liquid mate
function of the stripping zone is to effect the separation rial containing all the heavier hydrocarbons. The bot
of those materials having a lower boiling point than it is toms liquid material, which is suitable for use as lean
desired to recover from the rich absorber liquid. Strip absorber liquid, exits fractionation zone 11 in conduit
ping zone 5 may be a conventional, multistage, verti 12. A portion of bottoms'liquid material exits conduit 12
cally disposed plate or packed tower provided with in conduit 9 and passes to absorption zone 2 as the sec
heat input means to furnish the vapors for stripping. ondary lean absorber liquid. The portion of bottoms
This heat input means may be a conventional kettle material remaining in conduit 12 exits in conduit 13,
reboiler, stabbed-in reboiler or other such device. leaving the process as a stabilized hydrocarbon liquid
The stripping tower should preferably have 20 or product. This product principally comprises hydrocar
more contact stages. Rich absorber liquid preferably bons having 5 or more carbon atoms. Its ?ow rate is set
enters the stripping tower near the top in order that rich to remove from the process the C5-plus material recov
absorber liquid provides liquid for recti?cation in all ered from the feed stream. A larger amount may be
contact stages. Vapor generated through boiling of 15 removed as a slipstream used to maintain the purity of
liquid in the heat input means flows upwardly in the the secondary lean liquid._For instance if it is desired to
stripping zone and countercurrently contacts the rich use a liquid predominating in C9 aromatics, the slip
absorber liquid. The recti?cation which ensues enriches stream would be stripped to remove C5-C8 hydrocar- ,
the vapor phase within the stripping zone in the lighter bons and the stripped liquid returned to the process. In
components, such that the vapor phase withdrawn from 20 the preferred embodiment the secondary lean liquid
the stripping zone, referred to as the stripping zone comprises a gasoline having a boiling point range of
overhead product or overhead vapor, contains substan about 100 F. to about 400 F. or higher.
tially all of the hydrogen and? methane which entered Fractionation zone 11 may be any type of conven
stripping zone 5 with the rich absorber liquid. This is tional, multistage, vertically oriented, plate or packed
intended to indicate the removal of at least 90 percent 25
fractionation tower having 25 or more contact stages,
and preferably 95 mole percent of these lighter materi and is furnished with overhead vapor condensing means
als. Because the stripped vapor also contains some
and a reboiler heat input means. The fractionation zone
heavier materials including propane it is returned in
conduit 6 to conduit 1 and enters the absorption zone feed preferably enters at or near the middle of the frac
with the feed. In this manner the heavier materials tionationtower. The fractionation zone also has means
which have unavoidably been stripped from the rich for returning a portion of the overhead liquid material
absorber liquid may be recovered, and the gaseous ma (condensed overhead vapor) to the fractionation tower
terial in the stripping zone overhead may leave the as re?ux. The remaining portion of overhead vapor
absorption zone in conduit 3. ' material exits the fractionationzone in conduit 14 as a
It should be noted that this con?guration, whereby v35 vapor product, in this case as hydrocarbon vapor suit
the stripping zone overhead vapor is commingled with able for the production of LPG. The hydrocarbon
the feed before introduction of the feed into the absorp vapor product comprises hydrocarbons having 3 or 4
tion zone, is only one embodiment of the invention. carbon atoms per molecule. It is very much within the
Another embodiment is to introduce the stripping zone expertise of those skilled in the art to choose proper
overhead vapor at a point above the feed inlet. In a third 40 operating conditions for use in the stripping zone and in
embodiment, when the stripping zone overhead vapor the fractionation zone as these are conventional opera
has been cooled and partially condensed before arrival tions.
at the absorption zone, the resulting vapor-condensate The stripped liquid, while suitable for use as lean
mixture is fed into the absorption zone at the point at absorber liquid, is not as effective as is the fractionation
which the ratio of material to be rejected to material to 45 zone bottoms material for absorption ofthe lightest feed
be recovered within the absorption zone most closely components. This is because it already contains some of
approximates the corresponding ratio of the stripped the material to be recovered. The recovery of vaporous
vapor-condensate mixture. A particularly convenient feed components is however maximized by the preset
point for entry of the vapor-condensate mixture is the geometry of the upper section of the absorption zone. It
point of return of cooled material from the aforemen 50 is necessary that the fractionation 'zone bottoms used as
tioned heat removal means to the absorption zone. the secondary lean absorber liquid enter the absorption
The rich absorber liquid, after being stripped of ab zone above the top contact stage. This absorber liquid is
sorbed gases in the stripping zone, is referred to as a devoid of the material to be recovered and therefore
stripped liquid and exits stripping zone in conduit 7. absorbs that portion allowed to pass upward by the
This stripped liquid is divided into two portions having primary absorber lean absorber liquid. It is also neces
equal compositions. One portion of the stripped liquid sary that the stripped liquid used as the primary lean
exits conduit 7 in conduit 10 and passes to fractionation absorber liquid enter the absorption zone below the
zone 11. The remaining fraction of stripped liquid exits entry of secondary lean absorber liquid. In the preferred
conduit 7 in conduit 8 and passes as the primary lean embodiment of my invention the two entry points of the
absorber liquid to absorption zone 2. Since the stripped lean absorber liquids should be separated by 5 to 10 of
liquid still contains the materials chosen for recovery, in the absorption zone contact stages.
this case C3 and C4 hydrocarbons, the primary lean My invention has the advantage of requiring less
absorber liquid therefore contains the material chosen energy than prior'art recovery processes. By utilizing
for recovery. The stripped liquid also contains the mate stripped liquid as a portion of the total lean absorber
rial forming thev bottoms product of the fractionation 65 liquid the quantity of fractionation zone bottoms used as
zone. lean absorber liquid is reduced. Reduction of the recy
Stripped liquid entering fractionation zone 11 in con cle of fractionation zone bottoms to the absorption zone
duit 10 is fractionated into an overhead product com reduces the loading of the fractionation zone, and,
4,072,604 10
9
hence, the energy consumption of the fractionation sorber liquid comprising C7 hydrocarbons and a
zone is reduced. ' . .. second lean absorber liquid comprising C3 and C7
The preferred embodiment of the invention may be hydrocarbons into an upper portion of said zone,
characterized as a process for the separation of C3 and the ?rst absorber liquid being introduced at a
C4 hydrocarbons from 'a gaseous stream'which com higher elevation than the second absorber liquid;
prises the steps of introducing a feed stream comprising b. countercurrently contacting the feed stream with
C1-C4 hydrocarbons into a lower'portion of an absorp the absorber liquids in the absorption zone at con
tion zone while simultaneously introducing a ?rst lean ditions effective to absorb C3 and C4 hydrocarbons
absorber liquid comprising C7 hydrocarbons and a sec in the absorber liquids; '
ond lean absorber liquidcomprising C3 and C7 hydro . withdrawing a rich absorber liquid comprising C2,
carbons into an upper portion of said zone, the ?rst C3, C4 and vC7 hydrocarbons from the lower portion
absorber liquid being introduced at a higher elevation of the absorption zone and withdrawing from the
than the second absorber liquid; countercurrently con . upper portion of the absorption zone a gas stream
tacting the feed stream with the absorber liquids in the substantially free of C3 - C4'hydrocarbons;
absorption zone at conditions effective to absorb C3 and . passing the rich absorber liquid into an upper por~
C4 hydrocarbons in the absorber liquids; withdrawing a tion of a stripping column operated at stripping
rich absorber liquid comprising C2, C3, C4 and C7 hydro conditions effective to remove C2 hydrocarbons
carbons from the lower portion of the absorption zone from the rich absorber liquid and thereby effecting
and withdrawing from the upper portion of the absorp the formation of a stripped liquid comprising sub
_. tion zone a gas stream substantially free of C3-C4 hydro 20 stantially all of the C3, C4 and C7 hydrocarbons
carbons; passing the rich absorber liquid into an upper contained in the rich absorber liquid and a stripping
portion of a stripping column operated at stripping column overhead vapor stream comprising C2 hy
conditions effective to remove C2 hydrocarbons from drocarbons but substantially free of C4 hydrocar
the rich absorber liquid and thereby effecting the forma
tion of a stripped liquid comprising C3, C4 and C7 hydro 25 bons;
e. passing the stripping column overhead stream into
carbons and a stripping column overhead stream com the lower portion of the absorption zone;
prising C2 and C3 hydrocarbons; passing the stripping f. dividing the stripped liquid into a ?rst portion and
column overhead stream into the lower portion of the a second portion of like composition;
absorption zone in admixture with the feed stream; g. introducing the ?rst portion of the stripped liquid
dividing the stripped liquid into a ?rst portion and a 30 into the upper portion of the absorption zone as the
second portion of like composition; introducing the ?rst
portion of the stripped liquid into the upper portion of second lean absorber liquid;
the absorption zone as the second lean absorber liquid; h. fractionating the second portion of the stripped
fractionating the second portion of the stripped liquid at liquid at conditions effective to provide a bottoms
conditions effective to provide a bottoms stream com 35
stream comprising a C7 hydrocarbon and an over
prising a C7 hydrocarbon and an overhead product head productcomprising C3 and C4 hydrocarbons;
comprising C3 and C4 hydrocarbons; and, supplying a and, .

portion of the bottoms stream to the upper portion of i. supplying a portion of the bottoms ,stream tothe
the absorption zone as the ?rst lean absorber liquid. upper portion of the absorption zone as the ?rst
The recovery process of my invention is fully as lean absorber liquid.
useful for the recovery and separation of inorganic 2. The process of claim 1 further characterized in that
vapors and liquids as for organic vapors and liquids. It the stripping column overhead stream is admixed with
should be noted, also, that where the feed contains no the feed stream prior to passage into the absorption
liquid, a suitable absorber liquid can be introduced into zone.
the system and held therein by not withdrawing a liquid 45 3. The process of claim 1 further characterized in that
product. In such cases the absorber liquid may be intro the ?rst absorber liquid and the bottoms stream com
duced in a quantity suf?cient to establish a working prises a naphtha, and in that the second absorber liquid
" inventory within the recovery process prior to intro comprises a naphtha and C3 hydrocarbons.
duction of feed. Periodic addition of fresh absorber 4. The process of claim 1 further characterized in that
liquid may be required to compensate for losses due to v a second portion of the bottoms stream from step (h) is
leakage of absorber liquid from the system or due to removed as a product stream. -' '
degradation of the absorber liquid. 5. A process for the recovery of a C2 hydrocarbon
Reasonable variation and modi?cation are possible from a gaseous stream which comprises the steps of:
within the scope of the foregoing disclosure, the draw a. introducing a feed stream comprising Cl and C2
ing and the claims to the invention without departing 55 hydrocarbons into a lower portion of an absorption
from the spirit thereof. As one example, the stripping zone while simultaneously introducing a ?rst lean
zone may be operated to reject C3 hydrocarbons over absorber liquid comprising a hydrocarbon having
head, and fractionation zone may be operated to pro from three toeight carbon atoms per molecule and
duce an overhead product consisting of essentially pure a second lean absorber liquid comprising a C2 hy
C4 hydrocarbons. Alternatively, the fractionation zone drocarbon and the hydrocarbon having from three
overhead may comprise C4 and C5 hydrocarbons. to eight carbon atoms per molecule contained in
I claim as my invention: , the ?rst absorber liquid into an upper portion of
1. A process for the separation of C3 and C4 hydrocar said zone, the ?rst liquid being introduced at a
bons from a gaseous stream which comprises the steps higher. elevation than the second liquid;
of: 65 b. countercurrently contacting the feed stream with
a. introducing a feed stream comprising C1-C4 hydro the absorber liquids in the absorption zone at con
carbons into a lower portion of an absorption zone ditions effective to absorb C2 hydrocarbons in the
while simultaneously introducing a ?rst lean ab - absorber liquids;
11 4,072,604 12
c. withdrawing a rich absorber liquid comprising ingmethane and C2 hydrocarbons but substantially
methane and C2 hydrocarbons and the hydrocar free of C3 and heavier hydrocarbons;
bon having from three to eight carbon atoms per e. passing the stripping column overhead stream into
molecule from the lower portion of the absorption ' the lower portion of the absorption zone;
5 v f.v_dividing the stripping liquid into a ?rst portion and
zone and withdrawing from the upper portion of a second portiongof like composition;
the absorption zone a gas stream having 'a lower gLintroducing the ?rst portion of the stripped liquid
concentration of C2 hydrocarbons than the feed into the upper portion of the absorption zone as the
stream; ' ' ' ' second lean absorber liquid;
. passing the rich absorber liquid vintioanupper por 10 11. fractionating the, second'aportion of the stripped
tion of a stripping column operated at, stripping liquid at conditions effective to provide a bottoms
conditions effective to remove methane from the stream comprising the hydrocarbon having from
rich absorber liquid-and therebyeffecting the for three to eight carbon atoms per molecule and an
mation of a stripped liquid comprising a C2 hydro ' overhead product comprising a C2 hydrocarbon;
' and, a '
carbon and substantially all of the hydrocarbon _i.'supplying a portion of the bottoms stream to the
having from three to eight carbon atoms per mole upper portion of the absorption zone as the ?rst
cule contained in the rich absorber liquid a lean absorber liquid.
stripping column overhead vapor stream compris * * * *

20

25,

30v

35

55

65