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Eliminating Need for Gas Preheat In Pressure Regulation
Article Reprint PDF from Pipeline & Gas Journal July Edition

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Vortex Tube Solutions for Cost-Free Thermal Energy Applications in Gas Cooling, Heating, Pressure Regulation/CNG decompression, Energy Generation and LNG feed gas precool


Universal Vortex Inc. (UVI) offers patented and proprietary products and technologies that provide non pre-heated natural gas, CNG and industrial gases with non-freeze pressure reduction solutions. The extensive cooling load generated as a by-product is used for LNG feed precool and heavy hydrocarbons recovery.

The technique is based on the use of the vortex phenomenon taking place in the patented Self- Heating Vortex Tubes.

The Vortex process is based on pressurized gas or atmospheric air (Proprietary Vacuum Vortex) expansion in a specially-designed cylindrical device (the Vortex Tube) where released gas undergoes energy and mass segregation (Vortex Phenomenon) forming ‘cold’ and ‘hot’ flows to be utilized in industrial applications.



Vortex
  • An expanding gas after passing the tangential nozzle develops into a high speed rotating body or a vortex.
  • An angular velocity in the vortex is low at the periphery zone and very high toward the center zone.
  • Friction between the central and periphery zones reduces all the gas to the same angular velocity as in a solid body. This causes the inner layers to slow down and the outer layers to speed up. 
  • As a result, the inner layers lose part of their kinetic energy and their total temperature decreases. 
  • The periphery layers receive the energy from the internal layers. This energy converts to heat through friction on the vortex tube's walls.

      • No moving parts
      • No freon or other chemicals and no electricity is needed to produce a significant cooling and heating load
      • No operating cost
      • No maintenance cost

Although the Vortex Tube (VT) has existed for decades, its commercial applications were restricted since the conventional VT design requires high inlet pressure and dried processed gas to operate efficiently .

UVI has developed proven solutions to overcome these negatives and has made the VT fit for industrial applications. The VT of UVI’s design features the following:

  • Operates efficiently and without freezing with fully saturated or even two phase feed (Non Freeze Vortex)
  • Provides a significant (up to 200 ºF) temperature differential between ‘cold’ and ‘hot’ flows even with a low inlet gas pressure (Low Pressure Vortex)
  • Converts the entire inlet flow into a single super cooled and dried jet or (Single Flow Vortex Tube) the generated process energy is used to efficiently heat up a separate gas (or liquid) flow (Vortex Heater)

  • Provides efficient vortex temperature segregation with inlet gas at atmospheric pressure and outlet gas at a negative pressure (Vacuum Vortex).

With these ‘building blocks’ in hand, and with unparalleled understanding of the Vortex Phenomenon, UVI has the ability to enhance practically any process where gas pressure differential (or source of vacuum) is available.

UVI offers a number of standardized Vortex based products as well as customized Vortex tubes or Vortex cooling, heating and drying systems.

UVI can design and fabricate Vortex Tubes of any size to suit the application. The Vortex Tubes can also be used in series or clusters as the process dictates.

    Range of the single Vortex Tube, which has been designed and fabricated by UVI:




    1 The smallest: .109’’ DIA with a flow rate of .65
    scfm
    @ 44 psia inlet pressure;

    2 The largest: 3.15’’ DIA with a flow rate of 18,500 scfm
    @ 1500 psia inlet pressure.




         

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