The plant uses an R290 heat pump to heat and cool the distillation columns, which can produce up to 25,000 metric tons of refrigerants annually, including R290, R600a and R1270.
The distillation columns of the new GTS hydrocarbons plant in Italy. Credit: GTS.
Italian gas manufacturer GTS has opened a new manufacturing plant in Arquà Polesine, northeastern Italy, that will supply up to 25,000 metric tons of hydrocarbons with a purity of up to 99.99% for refrigeration applications each year.
The new facility will be able to deliver propane (R290), isobutane (R600a), n-butane (R600) and propylene (R1270) under its Polarpure brand in dedicated trucks, isotanks, ton tanks and drums.
In addition to achieving high purity, the facility can produce gas with less than 10ppm humidity and less than 120ppm of non-condensable gases, according to GTS CEO Paolo Zunino. The company’s laboratory is ISO 9001:2015 certified.
GTS, which is a part of Quiris Holding Industriale, delivers worldwide, and supplies industries like commercial and residential refrigeration, air conditioning, aerosol and petrochemical, as well as R&D facilities. The company has headquarters in Italy and branches in Belgium, Brazil, Romania and Thailand.
The Arquà Polesine plant has been manufacturing hydrocarbon gases with lower purity for other industries like heating and blowing agents since the 1980s, with a small distillation column able to produce 2,000 metric tons of refrigerant-grade gas each year. Increased demand has now led to the opening of the new 55,000m2 (592,015ft2) distillation facility and a significant increase in capacity.
R290 heat pump used in distillation
The plant has two distillation columns, and the continuous process is automated and in-line controlled. In the first distillation column, the heaviest compounds are eliminated from the gas. The result is then fed to the second column where lighter compounds are eliminated, and the pure gas is extracted from the bottom of the column. The process uses molecular sieves to remove the impurities, moisture and sulfur compounds.
Both columns are heated and cooled by an R290 heat pump with two screw compressors.
“The distillation plant developed by GTS is different from the standard distillation processes that are characterized by a high consumption of utilities such as water and oil,” Zunino explained. “The GTS process, with a combined control of heating and cooling, allows optimization of the consumptions in order to be in line with the goal of a green economy.”
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