Breakthrough Gas Separation Technology Poised to Allow Use of Up to 30% of The World’s Natural Gas Reserves

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Small nozzles to have a large impact on energy, computer chips, the environment, and 40 to 70 % of capital and processing costs in industry

These nozzles look simple, but there has been a great deal of effort and analysis that has gone into their development

Unique methods of separating gases are in development by Armington Technologies, LLC’s affiliate Tenoroc, LLC.

Separating impurities from highly contaminated natural gas reserves is the main focus of Tenoroc’s research. According to an Innovations Report article of 5/12/2006, “Huge underground gas reserves, up to 16% of the total reserves, remain unused. The natural gas in these fields is too contaminated for exploitation. With existing technology, cleaning these fields is much too costly… It is almost impossible to convey the economic value of 16% of the world’s reserves. They represent more that 360 times the annual natural gas production of Shell, Exxon, and BP put together.” Other estimates put the level of these unused reserves as high as 30%.

Established in 2005, Tenoroc has been developing its patent pending curved nozzle technologies since 2006 at its Mankato, Minnesota research facility. These small nozzles, with no moving parts, incorporate gravitational forces that can exceed conventional spinning centrifuges, achieving improved separation levels. Tenoroc’s nozzle technology is divided into two areas, “condensation based separation” and “gas-to-gas separation”.

“Condensation based separation” is a method of using the expansion that occurs within the nozzle to convert one gas in a mix of gases to a liquid. When the gas constituent that has been turned to a liquid and remaining, different gas constituents are exposed to the curve in the nozzle, centrifugal energy forces the liquid, which is heavier than the gas, to the outside wall and it exits through the outside wall outlet.

According to Paul Donovan, Director of Technology Development, “We see our niche in the natural gas industry in applications where there are high levels of contamination, too high for today’s methods of cleansing natural gas. We also hope to improve or supplement cleansing on less contaminated natural gas currently being processed. Our small footprint and versatility in placement is an added bonus.” When asked about commercialization Mr. Donovan added, “The key to commercialization will be our ability to license our technology to a strategic partner that provides equipment and service to the natural gas processing industry. We intend to begin demonstrating our prototype immediately as a first step in this process.”

“Gas-to-gas separation” and isotope enrichment make use of the extreme gravitational force produced by the nozzle curve to move the heavier gas to the outside wall where it exits away from the lighter gas.

Michael Bloom, Principle Tenoroc Researcher, offered, “In addition to natural gas, an application that we have our sights on is isotope enrichment, including isotopically pure silicon for semiconductor wafers. Pure silicon has been studied by the industry for years and is believed to be the answer to the debilitating heat generated by today’s computers. However, no one has ever been able to purify the gas that silicon is made from at a reasonable cost or in the quantities needed.” Mr. Bloom has almost two decades of experience developing separation methods. He achieved a patent on a gas centrifuge in 1999.

“These nozzles look simple, but there has been a great deal of effort and analysis that has gone into their development,” stated Tenoroc’s President, Gary Capuano. He added, “The need for improved separation methods is all around us. The Department of Energy estimates that separation processes represent 40 to 70 percent of both capital and operating costs in industry. They also account for 45 percent of all the process energy used by the chemical and petroleum refining industries every year. There are numerous applications for our technologies, including water de-salination. For now though, we must maintain our focus, and that focus is natural gas.”

When asked about the challenges of commercializing a technology, Capuano replied, “Our company’s management has enjoyed success licensing technology in the past. With today’s interest in energy and the environment, this technology seems to have put us in the right place at the right time. We intend to find the correct industry partner for each application while we continue to improve what we already have.”

Please direct inquiries to;
Armington Technologies, LLC
P.O. Box 3492
Ponte Vedra, FL 32004
Tel: 407-236-7023
Fax: 904-285-2156

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