Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
SYSTEM FOR PRODUCING VEHICLE FUEL
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/169771
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
Systems and methods for increasing the efficiency of liquefied natural gas (LNG) production, as well as facilitating coproduction of electric power, and compressed natural gas (CNG) are described. The systems and methods facilitate producing an intermediate LNG at a higher temperature, recovering refrigeration from flash gas and boil-off gas from the LNG, using flash- gas and boil-off gas as fuel to generate electric power, and providing LNG, CNG, and electric power to a vehicle fueling facility.

Inventors:
REPASKY JOHN (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2018/021668
Publication Date:
September 20, 2018
Filing Date:
March 09, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
GEN ELECTRIC (US)
International Classes:
C10L3/10
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DOMBROWSKI, Joanna, M. et al. (Global Patent Operation901 Main Avenue, 3rd Floo, Norwalk CT, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A system for producing vehicle fuel, comprising:

a liquefied natural gas (LNG) production facility configured to receive a natural gas from a natural gas source and to convert the natural gas to an LNG;

a compressed natural gas (CNG) production facility configured to receive a natural gas from the natural gas source and to compress the natural gas to form CNG; and

a power generation facility configured to receive at least one of a flash gas and a boil-off gas from the LNG production facility and to generate electric power.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the power generation facility is configured to receive a natural gas from the natural gas source.

3. The system of claim 1, further comprising a vehicle fueling facility configured to receive the LNG from the LNG production facility and to dispense the LNG, to receive the electric power from the power generation facility and to dispense the electric power, and to receive the CNG from the CNG production facility and to dispense the CNG.

4. The system of claim 1, wherein the LNG production facility and the power generation facility are electrically coupled to facilitate delivering electric power from the power generation facility to the LNG production facility.

5. The system of claim 1, wherein the CNG production facility and the power generation facility are electrically coupled to facility delivering electric power from the power generation facility to the CNG production facility.

6. The system of claim 1, wherein the LNG production facility and the power generation facility are fluidly coupled to facilitate delivery of the at least one flash gas and boil-off gas from the LNG production facility to the power generation facility.

7. The system of claim 1, wherein the LNG production facility further includes a distillation system configured to separate heavy hydrocarbon components from a methane-containing fluid containing heavy hydrocarbon components.

8. The system of claim 1, further comprising a natural gas (NG) compression facility, the NG compression facility configured to receive a natural gas, and compress it such that portions of the compressed natural gas can be delivered to the LNG production facility and to the CNG production facility.

9. A vehicle fueling facility, comprising:

a first fuel source comprising a liquid natural gas (LNG) generated using natural gas from a natural gas source, a second fuel source comprising electric power generated using natural gas from the natural gas source, and a third fuel source comprising a compressed natural gas (CNG) generated using natural gas from the natural gas source.

10. The vehicle fueling facility of claim 9, wherein the vehicle fueling facility is coupled to an LNG production facility that supplies the first fuel source, a power generation facility that supplies the second fuel source, and a CNG production facility that supplies the third fuel source.

11. A method for producing vehicle fuel, comprising:

delivering a natural gas to a liquid natural gas (LNG) production facility, and condensing at least a portion of the natural gas to form an LNG for fueling a vehicle;

delivering a vapor comprising at least one of a flash gas and a boil-off gas formed from the LNG to a power generation facility, wherein at least a portion of the at least one flash gas and boil-off gas are used as fuel to generate electric power for fueling a vehicle; and

delivering a natural gas to a compressed natural gas (CNG) production facility that compresses at least a portion of the natural gas to form a CNG for fueling a vehicle.

12. The method of claim 11, wherein at least a portion of heat that is produced while generating electric power is delivered to at least one of a reboiler on an acid gas removal system, a dehydration dryer system, and a reboiler on a hydrocarbon distillation system.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein the heat is delivered using at least one of steam, oil, a gas produced from combustion of a fuel, natural gas, and air.

14. The method of claim 11, wherein the LNG is produced by pressure let-down and flash of a raw intermediate LNG which has a temperature greater than -260 °F.

15. The method of claim 11, wherein the LNG is produced at a pressure less than 150 psig.

16. The method of claim 11, wherein the CNG is produced at a pressure less than 3600 psi.

17. The method of claim 11, wherein a portion of the electric power that is generated at the power generation facility is delivered to at least one of a local power consumer or a local power grid.

18. The method of claim 11, wherein the at least one of flash gas and boil-off gas is heated by at least one of a natural gas and a refrigerant fluid prior to being delivered to the power generation facility.

19. The method of claim 11, wherein a portion of the electric power generated in the power generation facility is delivered to the LNG production facility to power electric-motor driven compressors.

20. The method of claim 11, wherein a portion of the electric power generated in the power generation facility is delivered to the CNG production facility to power electric-motor driven compressors.

Description:
SYSTEM FOR PRODUCING VEHICLE FUEL

FIELD

[0001] Vehicle fueling systems and processes are provided, and in particular systems and methods are provided for producing vehicle fuel and increasing the efficiency of liquefied natural gas production.

BACKGROUND

[0002] There is currently a major transition under way in the transportation sector, as the industry is shifting away from gasoline and diesel fuels toward cleaner transportation fuels and power sources. Some logical alternative fuels include electric power, compressed natural gas (CNG), and liquefied natural gas (LNG). For example, there are currently a number of smaller consumer vehicles that run on electric power, while there are different types of locomotive engines, trucks, and marine vehicles that use LNG as fuel, as well as bus fleets and other vehicles that use CNG as fuel.

[0003] LNG is a natural gas which has been cooled to a temperature of approximately -162 °C (-260 °F) and most typically stored at a pressure of up to approximately 25 kPa (4 psig) and has thereby taken on a liquid state. Natural gas (NG) is primarily composed of methane, but can include ethane, propane, and heavy hydrocarbon components such as butanes, pentanes, hexanes, benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes. In a typical liquefaction process a compressor is used to deliver pressurized mixed refrigerant (MR) to a cold box, which in turn is used to cool a feedstock, such as a natural gas, to form a liquefied gas. Cryogenic refrigeration systems, which are used produce LNG, require a significant amount of power to operate, and they tend to have a high capital cost.

[0004] Accordingly, there is a need for systems, methods and devices for addressing the shifting fuel demands, and increasing the efficiency of LNG production.

SUMMARY

[0005] In one embodiment, a system for producing vehicle fuel is provided that can include a liquefied natural gas (LNG) production facility configured to receive a natural gas from a natural gas source and to convert the natural gas to an LNG, a compressed natural gas (CNG) production facility configured to receive a natural gas from the natural gas source and to compress the natural gas to form CNG, and a power generation facility configured to receive at least one of a flash gas and a boil-off gas from the LNG production facility and to generate electric power.

[0006] The system can vary in many different ways. For example, the power generation facility can be configured to receive a natural gas from the natural gas source. In some implementations, the system can include a vehicle fueling facility configured to receive the LNG from the LNG production facility and to dispense the LNG, to receive the electric power from the power generation facility and to dispense the electric power, and to receive the CNG from the CNG production facility and to dispense the CNG. As another example, the LNG production facility and the power generation facility can be electrically coupled to facilitate delivering electric power from the power generation facility to the LNG production facility. As yet another example, the CNG production facility and the power generation facility can be electrically coupled to facilitate delivering electric power from the power generation facility to the CNG production facility.

[0007] In another embodiment, the LNG production facility and the power generation facility can be fluidly coupled to facilitate delivery of the at least one flash gas and boil-off gas from the LNG production facility to the power generation facility. In yet another embodiment, the LNG production facility can further include a distillation system configured to separate heavy hydrocarbon components from a methane-containing fluid containing heavy hydrocarbon components. As another example, the system can include a natural gas (NG) compression facility which can be configured to receive a natural gas, and compress it such portions of the compressed natural gas can be delivered to the LNG production facility and the CNG production facility.

[0008] In another aspect, a vehicle fueling facility is provided that can include a first fuel source comprising liquid natural gas (LNG) generated using natural gas from a natural gas source, a second fuel source comprising electric power generated using natural gas from the natural gas source, and a third fuel source comprising a compressed natural gas (CNG) generated using natural gas from the natural gas source.

[0009] The vehicle fueling facility can vary in many ways. For example, the vehicle fueling facility can be coupled to an LNG production facility that supplies the first fuel source, a power generation facility that supplies the second fuel source, and a CNG production facility that supplies the third fuel source.

[0010] In yet another aspect, a method for producing vehicle fuel is provided that can include delivering a natural gas to a liquid natural gas (LNG) production facility, and condensing at least a portion of the Natural gas to form an LNG for fueling a vehicle. The method can also include delivering a vapor comprising at least one of a flash gas and a boil-off gas formed from the LNG to a power generation facility. The at least one flash gas and/or boil-off gas can be used as fuel to generate electric power for fueling a vehicle. The method can also include delivering natural gas to a compressed natural gas (CNG) production facility that compresses at least a portion of the natural gas to form a CNG for fueling a vehicle.

[0011] The method for producing vehicle fuel can vary in many ways. For example, the LNG can be produced by pressure let-down and flash of a raw intermediate LNG which has a temperature greater than -260 °F. As another example, the LNG can be produced at a pressure less than 150 psig. As yet another example, the CNG can be produced at a pressure less than 3600 psi.

[0012] In some implementations, a portion of the electric power that is generated at the power generation facility can be delivered to at least one of a local power consumer or a local power grid. In other implementations, the at least one flash gas and/or boil-off gas can be heated by at least one of a natural gas and a refrigerant fluid prior to being delivered to the power generation facility.

[0013] In other aspects, a portion of the electric power generated in the power generation facility can be delivered to the LNG production facility to power electric-motor driven compressors. As yet another example, a portion of the electric power generated in the power generation facility can be delivered to the CNG production facility to power electric-motor driven compressors.

[0014] In some implementations, at least a portion of heat that is produced while generating electric power can be delivered to at least one of a reboiler on an acid gas removal system, a dehydration dryer system, and a reboiler on a hydrocarbon distillation system. Furthermore, the heat can be delivered using at least one of steam, oil, a gas produced from combustion of a fuel, natural gas, and air.

DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0015] FIG. 1 is a diagram of an example LNG liquefaction system;

[0016] FIG. 2 is a diagram example of an LNG and electric/mechanical power coproduction facility;

[0017] FIG. 3 is an diagram example of a refrigeration recovery system that is used to heat flash gas and BOG during LNG production;

[0018] FIG. 4 is a diagram example of a vehicle fuel production facility that produces CNG, LNG, electric power, and mechanical power; and

[0019] FIG. 5 is another diagram example of a vehicle fuel production facility that produces CNG, LNG, electric power, and mechanical power.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0020] Certain exemplary embodiments will now be described to provide an overall understanding of the principles of the structure, function, manufacture, and use of the systems, devices, and methods disclosed herein. One or more examples of these embodiments are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Those skilled in the art will understand that the systems, devices, and methods specifically described herein and illustrated in the accompanying drawings are non-limiting exemplary embodiments and that the scope of the present invention is defined solely by the claims. The features illustrated or described in connection with one exemplary embodiment may be combined with the features of other embodiments. Such modifications and variations are intended to be included within the scope of the present invention. Further, in the present disclosure, like-named components of the embodiments generally have similar features, and thus within a particular embodiment each feature of each like-named component is not necessarily fully elaborated upon.

[0021] One cost-effective method of storing or transporting natural gas (NG) is to convert it to liquefied natural gas (LNG). Cryogenic refrigeration systems, which are used to produce LNG, require a significant amount of power to operate, and they tend to have a high capital cost.

Current practices for producing LNG involve cooling natural gas to about -162 °C (~ -260 °F). While that is effective, it can be more efficient to produce LNG at higher temperatures.

However, increasing the temperature of LNG production can result in increased generation of vapor byproducts known as flash gas and boil-off gas (BOG). In certain exemplary

embodiments, flash gas and BOG generated during LNG production can be heated in a refrigeration recovery system, and used as fuel to create electric power within an LNG and electric power coproduction facility.

[0022] Currently, the transportation industry is shifting away from gasoline and diesel fuels toward cleaner transportation fuels and power sources. In order to address the shifting fuel demands, increase the efficiency of LNG production, and maximize the use of flash gas and BOG from an LNG production facility, it can be desirable to produce compressed natural gas (CNG), LNG, and electric power simultaneously. Accordingly, in other exemplary embodiments a single NG feedstock source can be used to produce CNG, LNG, and electric power which can be delivered to a vehicle fueling station.

[0023] There are currently vehicles that use LNG and electric power as fuel. In order to address the shifting fuel demands, increase the efficiency of LNG production, and maximize the use of flash gas and BOG from an LNG liquefaction facility, it can be desirable to produce compressed natural gas (CNG), LNG, and electric power simultaneously. [0024] FIG. 1 is a diagram showing one embodiment of an LNG liquefaction system 100 of an LNG production facility. The liquefaction system 100 can include a refrigerant supply system 102 that can introduce a mixed refrigerant (MR), via a valve 104, to the liquefaction system 100. Initially, low-pressure, low-temperature MR vapor can be delivered to a compression system 106. The compression system 106 can be, e.g., a multistage compression system having multiple compressors. The compressors can be driven by electric motors that can receive electric power 107 from an external power source. When the MR leaves the compression system 106, it can be in a high-temperature, high-pressure, vapor state. The MR can subsequently flow to

condensers/aftercoolers 108 that are downstream of the compression system 106. Alternatively and/or additionally, condensers, intercoolers, or air coolers can be located between stages of the compressors of the compression system 106. The condensers/intercoolers/aftercoolers, or other heat exchanger, 108 can facilitate a phase change of the MR from vapor, or mostly vapor, to a predominantly liquid state by removing excess heat generated during the compression process. Once at least a portion of the MR is in a condensed state it can travel through an expansion valve 110, which can create a pressure drop that can put at least a portion of the MR in a low-pressure, low-temperature, liquid state. The liquid MR can be then delivered to a heat exchanger 112 to cool incoming natural gas (NG) feedstock 114. The heat exchanger 112 can be, e.g., a core plate and fin style heat exchanger. Alternatively, other heat exchangers (i.e. core, etched plate, diffusion bonded, wound coil, shell and tube, plate-and-frame) can be used. It is noted that one skilled in the art will have a basic understanding of how heat exchangers work, and will know that refrigerants can travel through cooling passages, cooling elements, or within a shell, to provide refrigeration to a "hot fluid" such as NG feedstock. As the NG and MR travel through the heat exchanger 112, heat can be transferred from the NG feedstock 112 to the MR such that the NG 112 begins to condense.

[0025] NG feedstock 114 can often contain heavy hydrocarbon components (HHCs) such as butanes, pentanes, hexanes, benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes. It can be desirable to remove HHCs during production to prevent them from freezing at typical LNG production temperatures. As illustrated in FIG. 1, the heat exchanger 112 can include a HHC separation system 116 that can facilitate removal of HHCs. As the NG feedstock 114 is cooled within the heat exchanger, HHCs can condense at higher temperatures than lighter molecules, e.g., methane. Therefore, liquid 118 containing primarily HHCs can be separated from the remaining NG vapor 120 within the HHC separation system 116, and stored in a HHC storage vessel 122. The remaining NG vapor can continue through the heat exchanger and condense to form LNG 124. The LNG 124 can then be let down in pressure, and stored in a storage vessel (not shown). The MR that leaves the heat exchanger can be predominantly a vapor, and can travel to the compression system to continue the cycle. In some cases, the HHC liquid can be put through a multistage distillation process to separate it into its constituent components. It is noted that the diagram illustrated in FIG. 1 is not intended to describe the geometry of the liquefaction system, or any of the components within the liquefaction system.

[0026] During production, LNG is typically cooled to approximately -162 °C (~ -260 °F) to minimize vapor generation that can result from pressure let-down and heat leakage. Once the LNG has been produced, the pressure of the LNG can be reduced by passing it through one or more pressure let-down devices, e.g., flash valves (also known as pressure let-down valves), and flash vessels, and into a low pressure storage vessel. Alternatively, as another example, a turbine can be used to reduce the pressure of the LNG rather than a valve. Each sequential reduction in pressure can result is some flash gas being generated, with more flash gas being produced as the pressure is decreased. Additionally, some heat can leak into the low pressure storage vessel and boil some of the LNG to produce boil-off gas (BOG). Overall, the process generally can result in very little flash gas and BOG being generated since the temperature of the LNG is so low. The flash gas and BOG that are produced can be used as stored and distributed as fuel or re- liquefied in another refrigeration process. However, storing or re-liquefying flash gas and BOG can be cost intensive and undesirable.

[0027] In certain aspects, the efficiency of an LNG production process can be increased by increasing the temperature of refrigeration during LNG production, which can result in producing LNG at a higher temperature, e.g., between approximately -162 °C (~ -260 °F) and -

129 °C (~ -200 °F). In certain exemplary embodiments, LNG can be produced at certain temperatures, such as, -260 °F, -250 °F, -230 °F, 200 °F. This concept can be illustrated by a

Carnot cycle efficiency evaluation. The Carnot cycle is a theoretical and reversible thermodynamic cycle. It provides an upper limit on the efficiency that a classical thermodynamic engine can achieve during the conversion of heat into work, or conversely, it provides an upper limit on the efficiency that a refrigeration system can achieve by an application of work (e.g., compressor power) to create a temperature difference (e.g.

refrigeration). Thus, refrigeration cycles can be compared against their theoretical Carnot efficiency as the ultimate measure of their efficiency. The Equation for the Carnot efficiency of a refrigeration system (also commonly referred to as the coefficient of performance, COP, CP, CoP) is given below.

[0028] T c is the cold source temperature, or the temperature of refrigeration, and T H is the hot sink temperature, or the ambient temperature. Although increasing the efficiency of an LNG production process can be increased by producing LNG at a higher temperature, i.e., increasing T c , the increased temperature of the LNG can result in significantly more flash gas being generated if the pressure of the LNG is reduced, i.e., when the LNG is passed through flash valves, and flash vessels, and into a low pressure storage vessel. The LNG can generally be stored in the low pressure storage vessel at pressures of ~5 psig or less. BOG can also be generated if heat leaks into the low pressure storage vessel. In this case, one possible application for the flash gas and BOG that is generated is to use it as fuel to create electric power within a power generation facility, as illustrated in FIG. 2.

[0029] FIG. 2 shows a diagram of one embodiment of an LNG and electric power

coproduction facility 200. The coproduction facility 200 can use a single NG feedstock 202 to produce LNG, and electrical power. In the illustrated embodiment, NG feedstock 202 is directed to an LNG production facility 204 to be compressed and condensed to form LNG 206. The LNG production facility can receive electric power 205 from an external power source such as a local power grid, or a battery bank. The electric power 205 can be used, e.g., to power electric-motor driven compressors that are used to compress a MR within a refrigeration process that cools the incoming NG feedstock 202 to produce the LNG 206. The electric power 205 can also be used to power compressors that compress NG feedstock prior to liquefaction. Additionally, or alternatively, the electric power 205 can be used to power other electric power consuming devices within the LNG production facility 202. The process of condensing NG feedstock 202 to form LNG 206 can generally be similar to that described with respect to FIG. 1, but in this case, flash gas and/or BOG (fuel vapor) 210 can be collected and sent to a power generation facility 208 to be used as fuel, while the LNG 206 can be stored, consumed, or distributed as desired.

[0030] The power generation facility 208 can use NG feedstock 202, fuel vapor 210, or other fuels 212, e.g., petrol, diesel, propane, or kerosene, to create electric power. For example, NG feedstock 202, fuel vapor 210, and other fuels 212, can be used as fuel in gas turbines such as simple cycle gas turbines (SCGT) and combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT), as well as steam boilers and steam turbines, to produce mechanical power. A portion of the mechanical power can be used to drive an electric generator to generate electric power. In the illustrated embodiment, some electric power 214 that is generated in the power generation facility 208 can be delivered to the LNG production facility 204 to supplement or replace the electric power 205 from the external source. Another quantity of electric power 216 can be, for example, stored in batteries, diverted to a local power grid, or consumed elsewhere. In some embodiments, NG feedstock 202 is the only fuel that is used for the production of LNG 206 and electric power 214, 216.

[0031] During electric power generation, a significant amount of waste heat can be produced. As shown in FIG. 2, some heat 218 can be diverted to the LNG production facility 204. The waste heat 218 can be captured in, e.g., steam, oil, flue gas, NG, or air to be delivered to the LNG production facility 204. The waste heat 218 can be used, for example, as a hot fluid within a reboiler of an acid gas removal system, dehydration dryer system, or HHC distillation system. Alternatively, the waste heat can be used in a reboiler of an acid gas removal system, which can be used to remove CO2 and/or H2S from natural gas feedstock, or a dehydration dryer system, which can be used to remove H2O from natural gas feedstock. HHC distillation systems will be discussed more below. [0032] As described above, fuel vapor 210 can be delivered to the power generation facility 208 to be used as fuel to generate electric power. Depending on the configurations of the LNG production facility 204 and the power generation facility 208, it can be desirable to preheat the fuel vapor 210 prior to delivering it to the power generation facility 208 to ensure that it is an appropriate temperature so as not to damage systems within the power generation facility. FIG. 3 illustrates one embodiment of a refrigeration recovery system 300 that can be used to heat flash gas and BOG during LNG production.

[0033] The refrigeration recovery system 300 can include a heat exchanger 302 that can receive NG feedstock 304 and liquid MR 306. The heat exchanger 302 can be, e.g., a core plate- and-fin style heat exchanger. Alternatively, other heat exchangers such as core, etched plate, diffusion bonded, wound coil, shell and tube, plate-and-frame, etc. can be used. However, the general design of a core plate-and-fin style heat exchanger can be easily configurable to enable multiple pressure passes in a wide variety of heat transfer configurations. As the NG feedstock 304 and MR 306 travel through the heat exchanger 302, heat can be transferred from the NG feedstock 304 to the MR 306 such that the NG begins to cool and condense. As illustrated in FIG. 3, the MR can travel through a let-down valve 308 as it circulates through the heat exchanger 302. The let-down valve 308 can create a rapid drop in the pressure of the MR 306, which can reduce the temperature of the MR 306, thus ensuring that it remains sufficiently cold to cool incoming NG feedstock 304. In the illustrated embodiment, MR 307 that flows back into the heat exchanger 302 can function to provide refrigeration to the incoming MR 306, as well as the NG feedstock 304. Although one let-down valve 308 is illustrated, the MR can travel through multiple let-down valves prior to leaving the heat exchanger to be delivered to a compression system. Countless variations of the configuration of the MR or other refrigeration are possible, as may be readily conceived and configured within the context to the current invention by one skilled in the art.

[0034] As described above with respect to FIG. 1, NG feedstock 304 can often contain heavy hydrocarbon components (HHCs), and it can be desirable to remove HHCs during production to prevent them from freezing at typical LNG production temperatures. As illustrated in FIG. 3, the heat exchanger 302 can include a HHC separation system 310 that facilitates removing HHCs. As the NG feedstock 304 is cooled within the heat exchanger 302, HHCs can condense at higher temperatures than lighter molecules, e.g., methane. Therefore, liquid 312 containing HHCs can be separated from the remaining NG vapor 314 within the HHC separation system 310, and stored in a HHC storage vessel 122. The HHC liquid 312 can be stored in a HHC storage vessel, or delivered to a HHC distillation system, which can in include a reboiler, where it can be separated into its constituent components. The remaining NG vapor can continue through the heat exchanger and condense to form an intermediate LNG 316.

[0035] After the intermediate LNG 316 exits the heat exchanger, the pressure of the intermediate LNG 316 can be reduced through a series of flash valves and flash vessels such that it can be stored in a low pressure storage vessel. The LNG can be produced for storage or export at pressures of approximately ~5 psig or less. As shown in FIG. 3, the intermediate LNG 316 can travel through a flash valve 318. The reduction in pressure that results from passing through the flash valve 318 can generate some flash gas. A mixture 317 of flash gas and intermediate LNG can then be directed to a flash vessel 320. More flash gas can be created as a result of another reduction in pressure when the mixture 317 travels through the flash vessel 320. The flash vessel can separate flash gas 322 from LNG 324, and divert the flash gas 322 back to the heat exchanger 302. As the flash gas 322 travels back to the heat exchanger 302, it can pass through a flash valve 326 to achieve a desirable reduction in pressure and temperature, where flash gas 323 that leaves the flash valve 326 can be delivered to the heat exchanger 302.

[0036] The remaining LNG 324 can be sent through another flash valve 328 to achieve another reduction in pressure, which can create more flash gas. Pre-storage LNG 330, which can be comprised of LNG and flash gas, is ultimately passed into a low pressure storage vessel 332.

The LNG 330 can be stored at, e.g., between 0 and 5 psig, within the storage vessel 332. The reduction in pressure that results from traveling through the flash valve 328 and into the low pressure storage vessel 332 can generate some flash gas, which can be captured within the storage vessel 332. Additionally, heat can leak into the storage vessel 332, which can cause some of the LNG in the storage vessel 332 to boil, thus creating BOG. The flash gasses that are generated during LNG production can be produced at pressures between 0 psig and 150 psig, or higher. Accordingly, the flash gasses can be generated at pressures at or below 150 psig, 100 psig, 50 psig, 20 psig, or 5 psig. The BOG can be generated at pressures between 0 psig and 5 psig, or higher. The combination of flash gas/BOG 334 within the storage vessel 332 can be extracted and diverted through another flash valve 336, along a path toward the heat exchanger 302. Flash gas/BOG 335 that exits the flash valve 336 can continue to travel to the heat exchanger 302. An LNG product 333 can be extracted from the storage tank 332 for

consumption or distribution, e.g., via pipeline export, as desired.

[0037] The flash gasses and BOG 323, 335 can enter the heat exchanger 302 at temperatures between approximately -162 °C (~ -260 °F) and -129 °C (~ -200 °F). In certain exemplary embodiments, the flash gasses and BOG can enter the heat at changer at a temperature of -260 °F, -250 °F, -230 °F, or 200 °F. As the flash gasses and BOG 323, 335 travel through cooling passages, or cooling elements, within the heat exchanger 302, they can provide refrigeration to incoming NG feedstock 304 to supplement refrigeration provided by the incoming MR 306. Upon exiting the heat exchanger 302, flash gases and BOG 325, 337 can be heated sufficiently to be at an appropriate temperature to be delivered to a power generation facility to be used as fuel to generate electric power. For example, depending on the temperature of the NG feedstock and the configuration of the heat exchanger, the flash gases and BOG 325, 337 can be between approximately -74 °C (~ -100 °F) and 38 °C (~ 100 °F). In certain exemplary embodiments, the flash gasses and BOG 325, 337 can be at a temperature of -100 °F, -70 °F, -20 °F, 32 °F, or greater than 32 °F, upon exiting the heat exchanger 302.

[0038] It is noted that the diagram illustrated in FIG. 3 is not intended to describe the geometry of the refrigeration recovery system 300, or any of the components of the refrigeration recovery system. Additionally, the numbers of flash valves, flash vessels, and storage vessels are intended as non-limiting examples only. For example, the LNG can travel through more than one flash valve prior to entering the flash vessel 320. As another example, there can be more than one flash valve along the path from the flash vessel 320 to the heat exchanger 302. Similarly, there can be any number of flash valves between the flash vessel 320 and the storage vessel 332, and between the storage vessel 332 and the heat exchanger 302. Optionally and alternatively, the flash gasses and BOG 323, 335 may be combined in a single stream or separated into additional streams. As another example, the heated flash gasses and BOG 325, 337 can be combined in a single stream or separated into additional streams.

[0039] Although the illustration in FIG. 3, and the accompanying description, show and describe that flash gases and BOG 323, 335 can be heated within the heat exchanger 302 by exchanging heat with NG feedstock 304, there are a number of other refrigeration recovery systems that can be implemented to heat flash gas and BOG. For example, flash gas and BOG can be used to cool a MR that flows through an LNG liquefaction system. In one embodiment there is a first heat exchanger that can be used to cool NG to produce LNG, and there is a second heat exchanger that can be downstream from the first heat exchanger, and directly upstream from a compression system that compresses the MR that travels through the first heat exchanger. After the MR exits the first heat exchanger, it can be diverted to the second heat exchanger as a "hot fluid." Flash gas and BOG can be generated as described with regard to FIG. 3, but rather than sending the flash gas and BOG through the first heat exchanger, the flash gas and BOG can be sent through the second heat exchanger to provide refrigeration to MR directly prior to the MR entering the compression system. The second heat exchanger can be, e.g., a multi-pass plate-and-fin heat exchanger. Upon exiting the second heat exchanger, the flash gas and BOG can be heated sufficiently to be at an appropriate temperature for it to be delivered to power generation facility to be used as fuel to generate electric power.

[0040] As described above with regard to FIG. 1, LNG liquefaction systems can include multistage compression systems, wherein intercoolers can be located between successive compressor stages. In another embodiment of an LNG production system that includes refrigeration recovery system, a first heat exchanger can be used to cool NG to produce LNG, as described above, and a second heat exchanger can be located within the compression system. For example, if the compression system is a two stage compression system having first and second

compressors and intercoolers, the second heat exchanger can be located after the first intercooler, and before the second compressor. After MR exits the first heat exchanger, it can travel to the compression system where it can travel through the first compressor and first intercooler. The MR can then be diverted to the second heat exchanger as a "hot fluid." Flash gas and BOG can be generated as described with regard to FIG. 3, but rather than sending the flash gas and BOG through the first heat exchanger, the flash gas and BOG can be sent through the second heat exchanger to provide refrigeration to MR.

[0041] As described above with regard to the LNG and electric power coproduction facility 200, illustrated in FIG. 2, gas turbines, steam boilers, and steam turbines can be used to generate electric power. In another embodiment of an LNG production system that includes a

refrigeration recovery system, flash gas and BOG that are generated during LNG production can be used to cool air that is delivered to an inlet of a gas turbine. For example, the flash gas and BOG can be generated during LNG production, as described above, and sent to a heat exchanger to provide refrigeration to air that is traveling through the heat exchanger to be delivered to the inlet of the gas turbine. The heated flash gas and BOG can then be delivered to the gas turbine to be used as fuel to generate electric power, as described above.

[0042] There is currently a major transition under way in the transportation sector, as the industry is shifting away from gasoline and diesel fuels toward cleaner transportation fuels and power sources. In order to address the shifting fuel demands, increase the efficiency of LNG production, and maximize the use of flash gas and BOG from an LNG liquefaction facility, it can be desirable to produce compressed natural gas (CNG), LNG, and electric power simultaneously. Accordingly, in other embodiments a single NG feedstock source can be used to produce CNG, LNG, and electric power.

[0043] FIG. 4 illustrates one embodiment of a vehicle fuel production facility 400 that produces CNG, LNG, and electric power. In the illustrated example, NG feedstock can be directed to an LNG production facility 404, a power generation facility 408, and a CNG production facility 420. The LNG production facility 404 and the power generation facility 408 can generally function and interact similarly to the LNG production facility 204 and power generation facility 208. The LNG production facility 404 can receive a NG feedstock 402 to condense it to produce LNG 406. The LNG can be produced for storage or fueling at

temperatures between approximately -162 °C (~ -260 °F) and -129 °C (~ -200 °F), and at pressures between ~0 psig and -150 psig, or higher, as described above. The LNG production facility can receive electric power 405 from an external power source such as a local power grid, or a battery bank. The electric power 405 can be used to power electric-motor driven compressors that are used as part of the LNG production process. As one example, the electric power 405 can be used to power compressors that compress the MR that is used within a refrigeration process that cools the incoming NG feedstock 402 to produce the LNG 406.

Alternatively, the electric power 405 can be used to power electric-motor driven compressors that are used to compress the NG feedstock 402 prior to liquefaction.

[0044] Flash gas and BOG (fuel vapor) 410 that are generated during the production of LNG can be collected and sent to the power generation facility 408 to be used as fuel. Prior to being consumed within the power generation facility 408, the fuel vapor 410 can undergo a

refrigeration recovery process as described above with regard to FIG. 3, or one of the alternative embodiments. The LNG 406 that is produced can be delivered to the vehicle fueling facility 422 where it can be stored, consumed, or distributed as desired. Alternatively, or additionally, LNG can be stored within the LNG production facility 404 to be distributed elsewhere. In some cases, all of the LNG that is produced at the LNG production facility 404 can be consumed or distributed at the vehicle fueling facility 422, or it can all be distributed elsewhere, e.g., via pipeline export.

[0045] The power generation facility can use NG feedstock 402, fuel vapor 410, or other fuels

412, i.e., petrol, diesel, propane, or kerosene, to create electric power. For example, as described above, NG feedstock 402, fuel vapor 410, and other fuels 412, can be used as fuel in gas turbines such as simple cycle gas turbines (SCGT) and combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT), as well as in steam boilers and steam turbines, to produce mechanical power. A portion of the mechanical power can be used to power an electric generator to generate electric power. In the illustrated embodiment, some electric power 414 that is generated in the power generation facility 408 can be delivered to the LNG production facility 404 to supplement or replace the electric power 405 from the external source. The electric power 414 from the power generation facility can be used, e.g., to power electric-motor driven compressors or other electric power consuming devices.

Another portion of the electric power 416 that is generated in the power generation facility 408 can be delivered to the vehicle fueling facility 422 where it can be stored, consumed, or distributed as desired. Alternatively, or additionally, the power generation facility 408 can supply electric power to a local power grid. In some cases, all of the power that is generated in at the power generation facility 408 can be delivered to the vehicle fueling facility 422 where it is distributed or consumed, or it can be distributed elsewhere, e.g., to a local power grid, as electric power. During electric power generation, a significant amount of waste heat can be produced. As shown in FIG. 4, some heat 418 can be diverted to the LNG production facility 404 to be used as described with regard to FIG. 2.

[0046] As illustrated in FIG. 4, the CNG production facility can receive electric power 424 from the power generation facility 408 in addition to receiving electric power 426 from an external power source such as a local power grid, or a battery bank. The electric power 424 from the power generation facility 408 can supplement or replace the electric power 426 from the external power source. In either case, the electric power 424, 426 can be used to power electric- motor driven compressors which can function to compress NG feedstock to form CNG 428. In addition to powering compressors within the CNG production facility 420, the electric power 424, 426 can be used to power other electric power consuming systems and devices within the CNG production facility 420. The CNG can be produced for storage or fueling, for example at ambient temperature and pressure up to approximately 3600 psi. The CNG 428 that is produced can be delivered to the vehicle fueling facility 422 where it can be stored, consumed, or distributed as desired. Alternatively, or additionally, CNG can be stored within the CNG production facility 420 to be distributed elsewhere, e.g., via pipeline export. In some cases, all of the CNG that is produced at the CNG production facility 420 can be consumed or distributed at the vehicle fueling facility 422, or it can all be distributed elsewhere, e.g., via pipeline export.

[0047] In the vehicle fuel production facility 400 shown in FIG. 4, the LNG production facility 404 and the CNG production facility 420 can both include compression systems that compress NG feedstock 402. In some cases, it can be desirable to use a single compression system to compress NG feedstock which will be used to produce LNG and to produce CNG, as shown in FIG. 5. This shared compression system can reduce the capital cost of the vehicle fuel production facility. Alternate compression arrangements for specific systems may also be configured by one skilled in the art. [0048] FIG. 5 illustrates an exemplary vehicle fuel production facility 500 that produces CNG, LNG, electric power. The general interactions and functions of the vehicle fuel production facility 500 can be similar to those of vehicle fuel production facility 400, except in this case, there is a NG compression facility 530 that is external to an LNG production facility 506 and a CNG production facility 520. In the illustrated embodiment, a NG feedstock 501 is delivered to the NG compression facility 530, as well as to a power generation facility 508. The NG production facility 530 can receive electric power 531 from an external source such as a local power grid, or a battery bank, and it can use the electric power 531 to power electric-motor driven compressors that compress a portion of the NG feedstock 501. A portion of the NG feedstock 501 can be compressed in the NG compression facility 530 to produce CNG, where intermediate compressed natural gas 502, 503 are delivered to the LNG production facility 504 and the CNG production facility 520. In some cases, it may be desirable to further compress the intermediate compressed natural gas 502, 503 at the LNG production facility 504 and/or the CNG production facility 520. In such circumstances, the NG compression facility 530 can be responsible for the initial NG compression, while further compression can be carried out at the LNG and/or CNG facilities 504, 520.

[0049] The LNG production facility 504, power generation facility 508, and CNG production facility 520 can generally function similarly to LNG production facility 404, power generation facility 408, and CNG production facility 420. The LNG production facility 504 receives intermediate compressed natural gas 502 to condense to produce LNG 506. The LNG production facility 504 can receive electric power 505 from an external power source such as a local power grid, or a battery bank. The electric power 405 can be used to power electric-motor driven compressors that are used as part of the LNG production process. For example, the electric power 505 can be used to power compressors that compress MR that is used within a refrigeration process that cools the incoming intermediate compressed natural gas 502 to produce the LNG 506. Alternatively, the electric power 505 can be used to power electric-motor driven compressors that are used to further compress intermediate compressed natural gas 502 prior to liquefaction. [0050] Flash gas and BOG (fuel vapor) 510 that are generated during LNG production can be delivered to the power generation facility 508 to be used as fuel to generate electric power, as described above with regard to FIG. 2 and FIG. 4. Prior to being consumed within the power generation facility 508, the fuel vapor 510 can undergo a refrigeration recovery process as described above with regard to FIG. 3, or one of the alternative embodiments. The LNG 506 that is produced can be delivered to the vehicle fueling facility 522 where it can be stored, consumed, or distributed as desired. Alternatively, or additionally, LNG can be stored within the LNG production facility 504 to be distributed elsewhere.

[0051] Similar to power generation facility 408, power generation facility 508 can use NG feedstock 501, fuel vapor 510, or other fuels 512, i.e., petrol, diesel, propane, or kerosene, to create electric power. In the illustrated embodiment, some electric power 514 that is generated in the power generation facility 508 can be delivered to the LNG production facility 504 to supplement or replace the electric power 505 from the external source. In this embodiment, some electric power 515 can also be delivered to the NG compression facility 530. The electric power 515 that is delivered to the NG compression facility 530 can replace or supplement the electric power 531 that is from the external source.

[0052] The power generation facility 508 can also generate electric power 516 which can be delivered to the vehicle fueling facility 522 where it can be stored, consumed, or distributed as desired, e.g. for charging of an electric vehicle. Alternatively, or additionally, the power generation facility 408 can supply electric power to a local power grid. During electric power generation, a significant amount of waste heat can be produced. As shown in FIG. 5, some heat 518 can be diverted to the LNG production facility 504 to be used as described with regard to heat 218 shown in FIG. 2. In some cases, all of the power that is generated at the power generation facility 508 can be delivered to the vehicle fueling facility 522 where it can be distributed or consumed, or it is distributed elsewhere, e.g., to a local power grid, as electric power.

[0053] As illustrated in FIG. 5, the CNG production facility can receive electric power 524 from the power generation facility 508 in addition to receiving electric power 526 from an external power source such as a local power grid, or a battery bank. The electric power 524 from the power generation facility 508 can supplement or replace the electric power 506 from the external power source. In either case, the electric power 524, 526 can be used to power electric- motor driven compressors which can function to further compress intermediate compressed natural gas 503 to form CNG 528. In addition to powering compressors within the CNG production facility 520, the electric power 524, 526 can be used to power other electric power consuming systems and devices within the CNG production facility 520. The CNG can be produced for storage or fueling at ambient temperature and at pressure up to approximately 3600 psi. The CNG 528 that is produced can be delivered to the vehicle fueling facility 522 where it can be stored, consumed, or distributed as desired. Alternatively, or additionally, CNG can be stored within the CNG production facility 520 to be distributed elsewhere.

[0054] As described above with regard to FIG. 4, some or all of the CNG, LNG, and electric power that is generated can be delivered to the vehicle fueling facility 522 where it can be consumed or distributed. Alternatively, each of the fuels can be distributed elsewhere. For example, the CNG can be distributed via pipeline export, the LNG can be exported via truck, ship, rail, or pipeline, and the electric power can be exported to a local power grid.

[0055] Although MR is used in the embodiments described herein, alternate refrigerants can be used within refrigeration systems and within the methods, systems, and devices described herein. Examples of alternate refrigerants include ammonia, propane, nitrogen, methane, ethane, ethylene, or other industrial gas or hydrocarbon based refrigerants.

[0056] Exemplary technical effects of the methods, systems, and devices described herein include, by way of non-limiting example, the ability to produce an intermediate LNG at higher temperatures to improve the efficiency of the LNG liquefaction process. Exemplary technical effectors also include the ability to generate LNG, CNG, and electrical power using at least a portion of a single natural gas source, and to provide LNG, CNG, and electrical power at a vehicle fueling facility. The aforementioned methods, systems, and devices, can function to increase the efficiency of LNG production, maximize the use of flash gas and BOG from an LNG liquefaction facility, and address shifting vehicle fuel demands. [0057] One skilled in the art will appreciate further features and advantages of the subject matter described herein based on the above-described embodiments. Accordingly, the present application is not to be limited specifically by what has been particularly shown and described.