Coalescer, a custom pressure vessel connection

What is a Mechanical Coalescer and How Is It Used in the Oil and Gas Industry?

Mechanical coalescers–AKA separators–are used widely across the oil and gas production industries to remove water, hydrocarbon, or hydrocarbon condensate from oil, petrochemical, or natural gas production processes. There are two major types of coalescers, a liquid/liquid coalescer and a gas/liquid coalescer.

How Mechanical Coalescers Work

A mechanical coalescer is a pressure vessel that uses a series of baffle walls or filters to cause the particles of liquid aerosols to come together to form larger drops which then can be collected or drained away for additional functions in the process, whether that involves removing contaminants, recovering oils or lubricants, or separating solids from the liquid or gas flow. These coalescers can ensure product purity of up to 95% and are eco-friendly.

Coalescer, a custom pressure vessel connection

Liquid/Liquid Coalescers

These coalescers are very common in the oil and gas industries worldwide. They are used primarily for removing water or hydrocarbon condensate. It is critical to purify the incoming flow from the source to prepare it for additional processing downstream, and to help prevent corrosion and damage to the pipeline infrastructure.

Liquid/Liquid coalescers also remove the following (depending on the phase of the process):

  • Amine solutions
  • Sulfur
  • Water vapor

Liquid/Gas Coalescers

The oil and gas, petrochemical, and oil refining industries use liquid-gas coalescers to remove water and hydrocarbon liquids from the natural gas to purify the gas and protect downstream equipment such as compressors, gas turbines, molecular sieves, metering stations, gas-fired heaters or furnaces, heat exchangers, or gas-gas purification membranes (just to name a few).

The natural gas industry uses liquid/gas coalescers to recover lube oil downstream of a compressor. The coalescing process removes all liquids from the gas flow, but recovering the lube oil is the primary reason to install a coalescer on the outlet of a compressor. The liquids upstream of the compressor may include aerosol particles or large volumes of liquids called “slugs” which may be just water and/or a combination of hydrocarbon liquids.

Does Your Project Scope Require the Fabrication of Coalescers?

FCI manufactures ASME pressure vessel connections for various ASME code pressure vessels, including for Coalescers used in the oil & gas, petrochemical and oil refining industries. For more information, call us at (281) 441-4088 or contact us online to get a quote from our sales staff.