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Struggling to remove mercaptans and keep project costs in line? Time to consider Durasorb™ Cryo-HRU!

Durasorb Cryo-HRU offers a proven alternative to conventional approaches

Natural gas feeds containing mercaptans present a unique challenge to LNG producers: Conventional approaches to remove mercaptans from gas feeds are expensive, inefficient, and require additional units or equipment, resulting in higher CapEx and OpEx for the plant. I would like to show you how BASF’s Durasorb Cryo-HRU simplifies the removal of mercaptans from natural gas and reduces costs.

Due to its high solubility in methane, the removal of mercaptans from natural gas feeds pose a particular challenge. Once removed from the feed gas stream using a temperature swing adsorption (TSA) process, the mercaptans, along with other impurities, are removed from the adsorbent during the regeneration phase of the TSA cycle. Mercaptans do not easily condense out of the regeneration gas and can build up in the TSA system. To address this challenge, conventional approaches employ an expensive hybrid amine acid gas removal unit (AGRU) or equipment intensive physical solvent wash process.



BASF Durasorb Cryo-HRU technology can remove mercaptans from natural gas and provides an improved alternative to the conventional approaches.

Durasorb Cryo-HRU technology is installed downstream a standard AGRU and removes mercaptans, heavy hydrocarbons (HHC, 6C+), and moisture to cryogenic specifications. For projects with mercaptan concentrations ranging from 100-700 ppm, Durasorb RSH, a specialty aluminosilicate gel material, is chosen by BASF natural gas experts for its high capacity and acid resistance. Durasorb RSH can remove mercaptans to below 1 ppmv and can withstand over 10,000 regeneration cycles over a lifetime. Because Durasorb RSH also removes heavy hydrocarbons, mercaptans are condensed out of the regeneration gas and do not build up in the system.

First graph

Durasorb Cryo-HRU with Durasorb RSH provides a simpler, less expensive solution to remove mercaptans from natural gas.

Durasorb Cryo-HRU offers alternatives to conventional approaches

Compared to the conventional approaches for removing mercaptans, Durasorb Cryo-HRU technology simplifies the process. One of the conventional approaches to treating natural gas containing mercaptans utilizes a hybrid amine AGRU followed by a standard molecular sieve dehydration adsorption unit. Hybrid amines co-adsorb hydrocarbons, which are lost to the Sulfur Recovery Unit (SRU), resulting in a lost revenue stream for the operator. The Durasorb Cryo-HRU solution with Durasorb RSH adsorbent eliminates the need for a hybrid amine solvent in the AGRU process. A standard amine system is used instead, and the heavy hydrocarbons are passed to the Durasorb Cryo-HRU where Durasorb RSH selectively removes mercaptans and heavy hydrocarbons. This line-up results in a H₂S rich acid gas stream from the AGRU to the SRU.

Second graph

Conventional method with Hybrid AGRU followed by standard molecular sieve results in loss of valuable hydrocarbons to SRU

Another conventional approach to treating natural gas containing mercaptans is to utilize a standard AGRU followed by a molecular sieve mercaptan removal adsorption unit. This method requires an additional physical solvent process for removal of mercaptans from the spent regeneration gas. Such a solvent process will result in high CapEx and OpEx for the plant. In the Durasorb Cryo-HRU process, mercaptans are recovered as condensate along with heavy hydrocarbons, so additional equipment to treat the regeneration gas is not required.

Hird graph

Conventional method with Standard AGRU followed by molecular sieve dehydration unit requires a physical wash.

Conclusion: Cost savings and increased efficiency with Durasorb Cryo-HRU

BASF Durasorb Cryo-HRU technology proceeded by a standard amine AGRU offers a proven and cost-effective alternative to conventional technologies.

Thus, projects working to reduce CapEx could benefit from the simplified process line-up, which requires less equipment and provides a smaller footprint. BASF natural gas experts have decades of experience designing TSA units for removal of mercaptans from natural gas and rely on proprietary modeling software to design a unit capable of removing mercaptans, heavy hydrocarbons, and water to cryogenic specifications. With its broad portfolio of aluminosilicate gel materials that have been treating natural gas since the 1960’s, technical experts choose the unique combination of products to treat any gas composition.


Durasorb Cryo-HRU with Durasorb RSH specialty mercaptan removal adsorbent eliminates the need for a hybrid amine, recovers a valuable hydrocarbon stream, and reduces the equipment required.

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About the Author

Manish Mehta is a Technology Manager for BASF Adsorbents and Catalysts portfolio for Natural gas applications. Over the past 13 years, he has handled various positions related to Design, commissioning, troubleshooting and product selection for both Solvent and Adsorbent based technologies in the Natural gas applications.

Manish is a Chemical Engineer by education from Thapar University India and has participated in authoring several technical papers and invention disclosures.

In his current role at BASF, Manish has been involved in Marketing, product selection and proposal management of BASF’s Sulfur Recovery catalyst and Natural gas Adsorbents portfolio for the Middle East, India, Central Asia and North Africa region.

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Regional Technology Manager, Adsorbent Solutions

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Natural Gas Treatment, Adsorbents