Preliminary experimental investigation on a multi-stage cryogenic heat pipe heat exchanger
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Natural gas is a versatile energy resource. The demand for natural gas is constantly rising and new sources for natural gas are needed. Some of these sources can be very remote and conventional production methods cannot be applied. Small remote natural gas reservoirs might hold valuable resources but the construction of a pipeline from these reservoirs is not feasible. In these cases small scale liquefaction plants can help to transform the gas into a liquid and thus open up new ways of storing, transporting and using the resource. These small scale liquefaction plants have to consider the investment cost, efficiency and running costs of a project.Heat pipes are closed systems that can achieve high heat transfer rates from one end of the heat pipe to the other. These properties can be used in a heat exchanger to create a compact heat exchanger design. Such heat exchangers have already been used for example in waste heat recovery from factory exhaust. In this work the application of a heat pipe heat exchanger for the use in a natural gas liquefaction heat exchanger is investigated.An overview over the natural gas market in China is given to highlight the roll that liquefied natural gas will play in China s future. Conventional natural gas liquefaction methods are explained and the equipment commonly used in these methods is listed. An explanation of the heat pipe is given and the limitations during the operation of such a system are explained.Finally the experimental setup that was constructed is explained and the experimental procedures are highlighted. The results of the experiments with the heat pipes are presented with a conclusion. In addition some thoughts on further work in this field of research are presented.