Helium Extraction From Nitrogen Rejection Unit Stream of LNG Plants
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Helium is a major rare gas that has a lot industrial and research application. Potential production has traditionally come from natural gas and the helium market is becoming tighter as the production is not being kept up with the demand. Helium extraction and refining from the NRU (nitrogen rejection unit) of baseload LNG plants has become one of major helium production sources. This paper first identifies the current helium production picture worldwide and where in the baseload LNG plants helium streams are produced. Process and technology used are introduced. How they are applied are examined. Currently both the Middle East and North Africa become more and more important in producing helium from baseload LNG plants. Australia started to produce helium from the LNG plant in 2009. More baseload LNG plants are expected to produce helium, as US supply descends in the future. This paper further examines technological considerations, energy requirements and possible improvements.