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2017Research Report

Development of a Robust Scrubber Level Controller: Phase 1

Griffin Beck, Carolyn Day - Southwest Research Institute

Automation/Condition Monitoring, Operations

Gas-liquid scrubbers rely on level control systems to maintain an appropriate liquid level within the vessel. A typical level control system consists of a level indicator (i.e., a level gauge or a sight glass), a modulating level controller, and a pneumatic control valve (often called a dump valve) for liquid release. In natural gas service, these control systems are subject to harsh environments often characterized by the influx of liquid slugs, high-velocity gases, corrosive fluids, vibrations, and a chaotic gas-liquid interface. In these harsh conditions, level control system failures are commonplace and tend to lead to safety and environmental hazards, equipment damage, and lost production. A need exists to augment or replace the typical liquid level control system with an alternative solution that is cost-effective, robust, and can operate reliably in the harsh natural gas environment. This report documents the work completed by SwRI for the GMRC to investigate failures related to scrubber level control systems and to identify improvements to these systems. First, an initial task to review level control system failure reports are discussed. These failure reports were reviewed in an effort to identify the component(s) that fail most often. Then, the work to identify and evaluate alternative level controllers is discussed. Finally, a test plan to evaluate a prototype of the selected level controller concept is described.

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Research Report