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Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1990/014873
Kind Code:
A condenser comprising cooled heat exchangers of some known construction for condensing a gas mixture so that most of the condensable gases in the first section are condensed and in the second section of a condenser a medium for absorbing gases flows on the surface of the heat exchanger and into which medium part of the gases is absorbed and the noncondensable gases are discharged after they have flowed through both sections.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
December 13, 1990
Filing Date:
May 24, 1990
Export Citation:
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International Classes:
B01D5/00; B01D53/14; D21C11/06; F25B43/04; F28B9/10; (IPC1-7): B01D5/00; B01D53/14; D21C11/06; F25B43/04
Domestic Patent References:
Foreign References:
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1. A condenser comprising cooled heat exchangers, characterized in that a condenser is divided in the flow direction of gases into two sections, in the latter of which a medium absorbing gases flows along the surface of a heat exchanger.
2. A condenser in accordance with claim 1, characterized in that noncondensable gases are discharged from the second section of the condenser.
3. A condenser in accordance with claim 1, applied for condensing the last stage of an evaporation plant of black liquor in a pulp mill, characterized in that NaOHsolution is introduced as an absorption liquid to the second section of the condenser, the concentration of the NaOH being so high that it is not necessary to concentrate the absorption medium being discharged from the condenser through evaporation before it is used for cooking pulp.
4. A method of removing condensable and noncondensable gases from a mixture of such gases comprises first passing the mixture over first condensing heat exchanger means and condensing a condensable gas or gases, and then passing the remaining gas or gases over second condensing heat exchanger means over the surface of which second heat exchanger means is passed a medium for absorbing at least one of the noncondensable gases, and discharging any remaining gas or gases.
5. A condenser apparatus comprising condensing heat exchanger means having a first heat exchanger or section for condensing condensable gases and a second heat exchanger or section provided with means for providing a flow of a medium for absorbing an noncondensable gas with second flow being over the surface of said second section.

The present Invention relates to a condenser apparatus and method for condensing gases In two subsequent stages, In the last of which the gases are condensed by means of an absorption medium.

The existence of noncondensable gases Is, as Is well known, a problem substantially affecting the design and development of a condenser. If It s not possible to effectively separate them from the condensable gases, It Is necessary to pump great amounts of them out of the process, which again results In great losses of energy and material.

In some processes, as In condensing of water vapor the question Is only of separating condensable and noncondensable gases, generally steam and air, from each other by cooling the gas mixture. In some cases, as for example, In chemical pulp and paper Industry there are, also third type gases which gases are noncondensable at. the normally used pressures and temperatures, but said gases may be separated from the gas mixture by absorbing them to an appropriate absorption medium.

When a mixture of three such different types of gases Is condensed In a conventional condenser, all the noncondensable gases are pumped from the condenser and, according to the pressure and temperature, also a lot of steam with them.

Another known technique Is to condense the gas mixture to an absorption medium. Since condensable gases, such as water vapor, forms the majority of the gas mixture being treated, the absorption medium considerably concentrates from the condensing material. Thus It becomes necessary to concentrate it separately by vaporizing the condensed material therein again. This again results in additional use of energy.

It is possible to avoid or minimize the problems of the known methods by using the method in accordance with the present invention. It is not necessary to re-evaporate the condensable material nor is it necessary to pump huge amounts of steam with the noncondensable gases.

The present invention is characterized by a condenser, which comprises cooled heat exchangers of some known construction and which is divided relative to the flow into two subsequent sections, in the latter of which a medium for absorbing gases flows on the surfaces of the heat exchangers, and the noncondensable gases are discharged from the condenser after they have flowed through both sections.

Such a condenser may be located in one casing and the first and second section may be separated by a partition, over which the gases may flow from the first section to the second. It may also be installed into two separate casings, which are connected by the flow channel of gases.

In the first section the majority of the condensable gases is condensed and becomes liquid on the surfaces of the heat exchangers. When the gas mixture at the same time cools, the partial pressure of the noncondensable gases increases. A mixture including a lot of condensable gases flows to the second section of the condenser, wherein the noncondensable, but yet absorbable gases are absorbed into the absorption medium flowing along the surfaces of the heat exchangers.

The absorption medium may be a concentrated solution of an electrolyte, for example NaOH, in which the vapor pressure of the water therein is considerably lower than that of pure water at a corresponding temperature. Therefore, the water vapor in the gas mixture also absorbs into this kind of absorption medium. In order to avoid the absorption of unnecessarily large mixture amounts to dilute the absorption solution, the first stage of the condenser must be dimensioned in such a way that the gas mixture cools

sufficiently and that the condensing of the water vapor therein would be as complete as possible.

The heat exchangers of the second section cool the absorption medium so as not to permit the vapor pressure increase when the gases absorb, but that the pressure of the second section would remain below the pressure of the first section. In order to create a sufficient rinsing of the heat exchangers, it is possible to return absorption liquid with a pump to flow again to the heat exchange surfaces.

When the absorbable gases have absorbed in the second section of the condenser, the partial pressure of the actual noncondensable gases has grown significant and the gases are discharged from the condenser after they have flowed through both sections.

An example of the prior art technique is an evaporation plant of black liquor in a pulp mill. The temperature of the vapor in the last stage is usually about 55°C, although the cooling water would be only 15*C. Such a great difference in the temperature is used for cooling the gas mixture over 20*C, in order to maintain the vapor amount flowing with the noncondensable gases moderate.

The great temperature difference required by the discharge of gases thus determines the temperature of the last stage. If it could be less, the heat exchangers of an evaporation plant could be built much smaller than they are today. Or alternatively, energy could be saved by building more evaporation stages.

By applying the present invention, the vapor of the last stage of an evaporation plant may be brought to the condenser, for example, at the temperature of 30 β C. The gas mixture may be cooled in the first section of the condenser to the temperature level of 25*C and it is possible to condense the majority of the water vapor in the mixture.

Two thirds of the remaining noncondensable gases may be absorbed and one third thereof is air. In the second section of the condenser gases are absorbed, for example, to NaOH- solution, which is used in the pulp cooking. Finally, pure air and an approximately corresponding amount of water vapor are discharged from the condenser after they have flowed through both sections.

An amount of NaOH corresponding to the loss in the pulp cooking process may be added as a sufficiently concentrated, for example as a 50 % solution, to the circulation of the absorption medium of the second section of the condenser.

The absorption medium leaving the condenser includes at that moment one third of salts, and it is not necessary to concentrate the medium through evaporation. The absorption liquid being discharged can be used as a component in white liquor.

The amount of the noncondensable gases being discharged from the second stage of the condenser is in our example thereafter less than one third of the original and approximately the same amount of vapor is discharged with the gases. The amount of the gases being pumped is less than a half compared with the gases being pumped from the known evaporation plants, although the temperature in the last stage of the evaporation plant has been decreased from the about 55°C to about 30 β C.

The present invention has been described in light of an example from the pulp industry. The purpose of it is not to restrict the invention to this one application, it may well be applied to all processes in which part of the gas mixture may be condensed and part of it absorbed.

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