NGL supersonic separator: modeling, improvement, and validation and adjustment of k-epsilon RNG modified for swirl flow turbulence model

  • Marco Andrés Guevara-Luna National University of Colombia
  • Luis Carlos Belalcázar-Cerón National University of Colombia
Keywords: CFD, Gas processing, Cyclonic separator, Multiphase flow, Turbulence


The processing of natural gas requires the implementation of new technologies in a context of increasing demand around the world. The natural gas liquids (NGL) separation using supersonic devices is a novel and efficient way to reduce volume of installed equipment and operation costs using the effects of highly turbulent and circular flows. This research implemented Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modeling to improve the efficiency of typical NGL recovery process using the supersonic approach. In this research, a novel turbulence modeling approach was implemented aiming to minimize the processing time, and the results obtained were validated with experimental data available. This research is based on the model called k-epsilon RNG modified for swirl flow, this model has not been used and validated previously in highly compressible, turbulent and circular flow systems. The efficiency of the process was improved by 11% in comparison to the efficiency reported in past studies, and the processing time for the modeling was reduced by 40% with the proposed and adjusted turbulence approach. During the validation of the model k-epsilon RNG modified for swirl flow the swirl factor, part of the turbulence model, was adjusted to an optimum value for compressible, turbulent and circular flow systems involved in supersonic NGL separation process, allowing accurate results to be obtained with lower processing time than with other typical and common approaches as RSM and LES.

= 96 veces | PDF
= 91 veces|


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Marco Andrés Guevara-Luna, National University of Colombia

Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering.

Luis Carlos Belalcázar-Cerón, National University of Colombia

Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering.


UPME (Unidad de Planeación Minero Energética), Balance de Gas Natural en Colombia 2015-2023, 2015. [Online]. Available: Accessed on: Mar. 27, 2016.

U.S. Energy Information Administration, Global natural gas consumption doubled from 1980 to 2010, 2012. [Online]. Available: Accessed on: Feb. 16, 2016.

M. Betting, T. van Holten, and B. Prast, “Cyclonic fluid separator with vortex generator in inlet section,” U.S. Patent 7 357 825 B2, Apr. 15, 2008

B. Prast, B. Lammers, and M. Betting, “CFD For Supersonic Gas Processing,” in 5th International Conference on CFD in the Process Industries CSIRO, Melbourne, Australia, 2006, pp. 1-6.

Genesis Oil & Gas Consultants Ltd, “Twister NGL Recovery Study,” Genesis Oil & Gas Consultants Ltd, London, UK, Tech. Rep. J-10205/A, Jan. 2008.

A. Stankiewicz, “Reactive Separations for Process Intensification: An Industrial Perspective,” Chemical Engineering and Processing, vol. 42, no. 3, pp. 137-144, 2003.

M. Guevara, “Diseño de un equipo de recuperación de líquidos de gas natural empleando CFD,” M.S. thesis, National University of Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia, 2015.

C. Tjeenk, M. Betting, J. Geldorp and B. Prast, “Method and device for enhancing condensation and separation in a fluid separator,” U.S. Patent 7 909 912 B2, Mar. 22, 2011.

C. Tjeenk, M. Betting, and F. Lammers, “Cyclonic separator with a volute outlet duct,” U.S. Patent 8 398 734 B2, Mar. 19, 2013.

J. Tetteroo, “Installation and procedure for sampling of fine particles,” E.P. Patent 2 226 109 A1, Sep. 8, 2010.

E. Jassim, M. A. Abdi, and Y. Muzychka, “A New Approach to Investigate Hydrate Deposition in Gas- Dominated Flowlines,” Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering, vol. 2, no. 4, pp. 163-177, 2010.

Gas Processors Suppliers Association (GPSA), Gas Processors Suppliers Association - Engineering Data Book, 5th ed. USA: GPSA, 2004.

P. Schinkelshoek and H. D. Epsom, “Supersonic Gas Conditioning-Commercialisation of Twister™ Technology,” in 87th Annual Convention, Grapevine, TX, USA, 2008, pp. 1-7.

ANSYS, Inc., ANSYS Fluent Theory Guide 15.0. Canonsburg, PA, USA: Ansys, Inc., 2013.

A. D. Cutler and J. A. White, An Experimental and CFD Study of a Supersonic Coaxial Jet, 2001. [Online]. Available: Accessed on: May 20, 2016.

P. B. Machado, J. Monteiro, J. L. Medeiros, H. D. Epsom, and O. Araujo, “Supersonic Separation in Onshore Natural Gas Dew Point Plant,” Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering, vol. 6, pp. 43-49, 2012.

API (American Petroleum Institute), Specification for Glycol-Type Gas Dehydration Units, 5th ed. Houston, USA: American Petrolium Institute, 1990.

R. Utikar et al., “Hydrodynamic Simulation of Cyclone Separators,” Computational Fluid Dynamics, H. W. Oh (ed). Perth, Australia: InTech, 2010, pp. 241-266.

W. Zhongyi, Y. Changlong, H. Jia, and Y. Yunliang, “The Analysis of Internal Flow Field in Oil-Gas Separator,” Procedia Engineering, vol. 15, pp. 4337-4341, 2011.

H. Wang et al., “CFD Modelling of Hydrodynamic Characteristics of a Gas-Liquid Two-Phase Stirred Tank,” Applied Mathematical Modelling, vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 63-92, 2014.

M. Mohammadi, S. Shahhosseini, and M. Bayat, “Direct Numerical Simulation of Water Droplet Coalescence in the Oil,” International Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow, vol. 36, pp. 58 71, 2012.

V. Kalikmanov, M. Betting, J. Bruining, and D. M. Smeulders, “New Developments in Nucleation Theory and Their Impact on Natural Gas Separation,” in SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Anaheim, USA, 2007.

F. Guevara, J. Reyes, and M. Guevara, “Diseño y evaluación de un ciclón para separación de sólidos y gas de una corriente con un flujo multifásico empleando dinámica de fluidos computacional,” Revista Virtual Pro, 2015.

M. Betting, C. Tjeenk, Z. Opic, and S. Sebastian, “Ice Phobic Coating and Use Thereof”, U.S. Patent 20110123736 A1, May 26, 2011.

M. Betting, M. Theodoor Van Holten, and Bart Prast, “Cyclonic Fluid Separator With Vortex Generator in the Inlet Section”, U.S. Patent 7 357 825 B2, Apr. 15, 2008.

M. Betting, C. A. Tjeenk, B. Prast, and Z. Opic, “Fluid separator comprising a central body,” U.S. Patent 8 226 743 B2, Jul. 24, 2012.

M. Betting, B. Prast, and H. D. Epsom, “Improved Choke Valve Design for De-Bottlenecking Gas Processing Facilities,” in GPA Europe Offshore Processing and Knowledge Session, London, UK, 2009.

How to Cite
Guevara-Luna M. A., & Belalcázar-Cerón L. C. (2017). NGL supersonic separator: modeling, improvement, and validation and adjustment of k-epsilon RNG modified for swirl flow turbulence model. Revista Facultad De Ingeniería Universidad De Antioquia, (82), 82-93.