Achieving fume mitigation goals

Knovel helps identify a better adsorption process to comply with new emissions regulations while avoiding big costs and downtime

A large oil and gas company was using a glycol adsorption agent to mitigate its refineries’ benzene emissions. New regional environmental laws, however, require an even greater reduction in emissions. A company engineer used Knovel to find a different compound that better adsorbs benzene, saving the company time and money.

Achieving fume mitigation goals - Knovel Case Study | Elsevier Solutions


A large North American integrated oil and gas company faced new regulations that lowered the amount of chemicals that could be released in the atmosphere. At the time, ten of the company’s processing plants emitted levels of benzene that exceeded the new regulation amounts.

The company was already using triethylene glycol in these refineries to remove benzene by adsorption—a mechanism in which the molecules adhere to the surface of a solid—but they wanted to find a new, more cost-effective method to comply with the new emissions regulations. When charged with the task, one of the company’s operations engineers turned to Knovel.

R&D Solutions


By using Knovel’s search, and other features, the engineer quickly found data on the adsorption of triethylene glycol and the adsorption of benzene in triethylene glycol—as well as information on gas dehydration units. Knovel’s equation solver and equation plotter tools, which provide interactive solvable worksheets, enabled him to calculate the impact of variables such as pressure and temperature on adsorption. Using Knovel’s tools, he was quickly able to model the adsorption of benzene and calculate the benzene adsorption rates of various compounds.

The engineer quickly zeroed in on diethylene glycol as an ideal replacement for triethylene glycol because it has a higher capacity for adsorbing benzene than triethylene glycol under the same pressure and temperature conditions. Even better, using diethylene glycol as the adsorption agent would enable the company to comply with the new emission regulations while avoiding the expenses of making modifications to its existing plant infrastructure.

Fume mitigation goals - Process Engineer quote - Knovel case study | Elsevier

Knovel’s reliable data, combined with its problem-solving tools, empowered the engineer to validate a vital hypothesis for the project.

Process Engineer


Relying on the answers and insights available in Knovel, the engineer was able to save his company $40,000 in capital expenditures per plant that an alternative idea would have cost—a total savings of $400,000. By finding the right glycol, he also allowed his company to avoid the substantial expense of making significant changes to the plants’ piping systems and the costs of suspending production to install the flares.

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