Bottling Pressurized Methane from Well Water

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by presence, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. presence

    presence New Member

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    I have a considerable amount of methane in my well water. Milky and bubbly. I can fill a soda bottle from my kitchen tap and light the tip as it bubbles off. Preliminary "experimentation" shows a constant 6" #48 torch flame off of 2 GPM water flow rate. I'm fairly sure the methane is "biogenic" not "thermogenic" as there is no fracking in my area. This means it should be from a source close to the surface (500 feet deep) that does not contain shale related impurities (5000 feet deep). I'm going to run a methane/ethane ratio lab test to confirm... but either way the goal: to provide water to my home that does not go boom at the kitchen sink and provide compressed and bottled CH4 for cooking/heating.

    Henry's law states that gas will bubble out of solution as pressure decreases or temperature rises. So here's the plan... please scrutinize.

    1) My 300' deep submersible pump provides 30-50 psi H20 w/ dissolved CH4 to a 20 gallon 48 psi pressure tank. Standard normal; double spring check, gauge, brass well tank tee, blow off, and 30-50 switch.

    2) I will pass the water from that tank through a 10 PSI regulator and one way spring check... and into a circulation loop. I'm eyeing a LF215 Watts Regulator, I'm curious how low a traditional hydronic regulator can be tuned down, and I'm also curious about the flow rate of those cheapo abs $10 drip irrigation 10 psi preset regulators; I could probably gang 10 together in parallel for less than a Watts 215 series. The goal being create a low pressure circulation loop just like a hot water baseboard system, but a little lower pressure than the usual 20 PSI and no added heat.

    3) The low pressure circulation loop; my "methane scrubber" will contain:

    3.5gpm circulator,
    50g glass lined contact tank, aka "hot water tank" but with no heating element.
    40 gallon well tank set to 8psi,
    1-1/4 "Spirovent" air eliminator,
    3/4 "Spirotrap" 5 micron dirt eliminator for prefiltration (since I'm already circulating),
    30 psi pressure relief,
    and a pressure gauge.

    I'm aiming for lead free brass parts. Spirovents are much like a #67 maid-o-mist auto air release that you find on top of a baseboard hot water radiator.... but a lot more fancy and can actually capture finer dissolved bubbles. Think $150 part vs $20 part.

    4) To repressurize my water: Drawing off the water circulation loop will be a traditional shallow well Jet Pump and a 4th well pressure tank 20 gallon 48 psi; this tank will have a standard normal gauge, brass well tank tee, blow off, and 30-50 switch. This pressure tank will then supply domestic water to the home free of methane at normal domestic pressure. This assembly will be spring checked before and after. Drinking water will be further purified downstream with traditional filtration methods and water testing. I'm looking into KDF85 backflow type filtration.

    5) On the gas vent side of the spirovent: There will be

    a second 40 gallon well pressure tank set to 8 psi,
    a 10 psi gauge,
    a 10 psi pressure relief,
    and a second adjustable 0-100 air pressure relief valve set to ~9 psi.

    A tee, an on/off supply valve, and gas check will provide 9 psi CH4 supply to appliances I'm hoping I can use standard "low pressure" 11 inch water column 3/8 regulators thereafter and propane appliances. I confirmed with a spirovent rep that their vent would work with methane and function with back pressure on the gas end. I will store this pressure tank outside my home as one would a propane bottle; adding additional parallel pressure tanks as necessary.


    I suspect I'll have some degree of CO2 in my CH4; bubbling it through some water should help purify the gas of carbon dioxide. I'll probably have a bit of H2S in there as well... I suspect I'll be able to filter that out using iron oxide; perhaps rust water impregnated wood pellets in a 4" PVC pipe as a filter media which should sequester the sulphur.

    I've also considered an open to the atmosphere "column of water" gas storage approach with a pair of 275 gallon fuel oil tanks. I'd stack the tanks above one another and connect them from drain to drain. I'd then fill the lower tank with water and leave the upper tank open to the atmosphere. I would use the 10 PSI CH4 gas to evacuate water from the bottom tank; regulating pressure with the height of the upper tank. This might be the safer and more cost effective method. However, for consistent fuel pressure I might need a float valve and overflow in the second tank to maintain water level. Using the column of water approach also poses challenges with outdoor storage in cold weather; so I might have to give up on the float valve in favor of RV antifreeze.









    Then one day I was shootin' at some food...
    and up from the ground came some bubbling crude!




    Look forward to hearing from you!
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2013
  2. presence

    presence New Member

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    Bump 'cause my wife is freaking out now that I advised her not to light candles in the house after informing her I need at least $1500 to do anything productive about it.
  3. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

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    Houston, TX

    I may be a good idea if the gas is reliable.

    If it is useable, The Gov will come over to Tax it.


    Have Fun.
  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Bothell, Washington
    [video=youtube;F083Y6DnEzM]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F083Y6DnEzM[/video]

    David Letterman mentioned gas in the water too.

    So first they ruin the water supplies, and then they privatize water supply for profit?
    I think David is right.

    Why do corporations believe that they can ruin the air we breath, and the water we drink, as long as there is profit to be made for stockholders. It's our air, and our water. Nobody owns rainfall, sunlight or air.

    So Presence, in Wisconsin you have that problem?

    [video=youtube;qm7e553S7fg]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qm7e553S7fg[/video]
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2013
  5. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

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    There are lots of wells that naturally produce methane. Fracking has nothing to do with it, and I hope the OP can find a way to capture and use this natural asset.

    I agree that shallow wells should not be fracked, as that could cause problems with aquifers above it. However, I do not believe that fracking deep wells causes problems.
  6. presence

    presence New Member

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    Methane burning at my kitchen sink.

    [video=youtube_share;diLjiaZrh1I]http://youtu.be/diLjiaZrh1I[/video]


    Methane flaring off my garden hose

    [video=youtube_share;fgCaYMjbJYQ]http://youtu.be/fgCaYMjbJYQ[/video]


    Spirovent Superior Vacuum Degasser
    [video=youtube;OZrDPamKBUY]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZrDPamKBUY[/video]


    My schematics for vacuum degassing

    http://tinypic.com/r/ajmopk/5


    (some modifications from my original post)


    1)removal of the expansion tank from the recirculating loop to induce 0 psi state
    2)Separating the spirotrap and spirovent circulation loops to pull from different locations in the tank; trapping from heavy water at bottom of tank and venting light water on the top of the tank.
    3)Using a simple 1/4 valve for incoming flow restriction rather than a pressure regulator



    Schematic for methane bottling in water column

    http://tinypic.com/r/2s0ycg1/5


    The middle tank in my degassing schematic is a "re-purposed" hotwater tank. It is being used without heat as "vacuum tank" only. The "cold water supply" to house is after the last 80 gallon tank. It will then enter a 10x54 backwashing carbon filter and branch off to a traditional electric (for now) hot water tank downstream.

    The boxes with the double [ // ] are spring check valves; arrows indicate direction of flow.
    The boxes of the same size with handles are 1/4 turn ball valves.
    The 20 and 80 gallon tanks are "Well Pressure Diaphram Tanks" both set to 48 psi
    Below each pressure tank are 2 check valves, a 75 psi blow off, a pump switch, and a guage; standard normal "well tank assembly"


    The other items are 2 @ 1-1/4 Spirovents and 1 @ 1-1/4 Spirotraps
    There are two Taco Stainless 006 1/40hp circulators
    and one 1/2hp "shallow well pump"
    The two cycle timers are "ART-DNe cycle timers"
    The daily timer is just a 24hr intermatic heavy duty


    System temperature is always 50-55F well water; pressure in the center tank is regulated by the 1/4 turn valve after the first well tank and the Timer actuating the Jet Pump. Pressure in both the 20 and 80 gallon well tanks should be between 30-50psi. Pressure in the middle tank should have a lower range depending upon the power of the Jet Pump; I'm expecting about 0-50psi in the middle tank. See the youtube video of the computer controlled "spirotherm vacuum degasser".


    On a hot water tank the H and C connection are on top. The cold connection has an internal down tube. The bottom connection is called the drain and the upper side connection is the "blow off connection".

    The second small circulator loop pulling from the drain hole on the hot water tank and returning to the "blow off connection" port contains a Spirotrap which should remove particulates down to 5 micron. Oversizing the Spirovents and Spirotraps should slow down flow and encourage a higher % gas/particulate removal on the first pass.

    In the attachments should have been a diagram where I was storing the CH4 in a system of two "275 gallon fuel oil tanks" These would be outside of my home and contain a water column of RV antifreeze which would store and supply 2-3+ psi methane depending upon the height of the second tank relative to the first. The methane would enter the top of the lower tank and evacuate the RV antifreeze to the upper tank. The upper tank would be open to the atmosphere and allow excess CH4 to bubble out.

    Before entering these tanks I would allow the methane to bubble through a water column contained in PVC; or multiple columns to scrub CO2. I might make use of an air stone to disperse. The methane would then enter a PVC pipe containing "wood pellets" that had been soaked in a slurry of iron oxide and water; then dried out to about 15-20% moisture content. This exposure to iron oxide and moisture should scrub off any H2S.

    System cost for just the methane degassing and capture process is about $1600.

    That does not include the following which I already have:

    Pex Tubing (but not fittings)
    Salvaged Hot Water Tank
    2 Salvaged Fuel oil tanks
    Salvaged Jet Pump
    My existing 20 gallon Well Tank and Assembly

    The backwashing Carbon Filter and UV are going to add another $1000. Hopefully the UV filtration solves some other excess methane issues we've been having.

    The two cycle timers will work "in parallel". The system will always be "on for one minute every 30 minutes" during 6AM to 12 PM. Because the circuits are parallel, the system will ALSO be "on for one minute, off for one minute" any time the 80 gallon well tank calls for pressure. Overlap of the parallel timers could push the system to occasionally have an on cycle for up to 2 minutes.

    The cycle timers are of course adjustable. The 1/4 turn valve after the first 20 gallon tank also provides user control. Through adjusting the timers and the 1/4 turn valve one should be able to fine tune the low pressure created in the middle tank; thereby maximizing degassing.

    The nipples that enter and leave a hot water tank must be "dielectric" which prevents galvanic corrosion of dissimilar metals at the tank connections. This is usually accomplished with plastic lined galvanized nipples, dielectric unions, or both. On the two upper connections "the hot and cold of the tank" I'm going to use threaded schedule 80 3/4" x 10" CLEAR pvc nipples as degassing indicators. I'll also use some short sticks of 1/2 clear pvc as "bubble gauges" to indicate methane leaving the spirovents. 10" pieces pre threaded in male pipe thread are about $10 each.

    "Note, accurate calculations of chemical equilibrium for real gases should use the fugacity rather than the pressure. In the case of the methane-water interaction, it is also necessary to include the polarization energy in an effective way to obtain agreement with experiment."

    :)
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2013
  7. presence

    presence New Member

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    I prefer "opportunity" over "problem" ;)


    I'm not actually in Wisconsin... for some reason your board "automatically" entered that as my location when I signed up. For privacy I'd rather not disclose my location, but I will say I am in Marcellus Shale at least 20 miles from the closest fracking site and my water has been like this for at least 2 years. A methane/ethane ratio test would tell me if the methane was "swamp gas" related, which is quite plausible as I'm in the bottom of a valley where two creeks come together; or if it is shale gas related. Methane/ethane ratio of 1000:1 is usually swamp gas whereas 10:1 is more indicative of shale gas; beta and alpha particles, voc's, and heavy metals should only be in the deeper 5000' shale gas; whereas the 500' deep swamp gas should be clean. Typically methane / fracking related issues occur within 1 mile (often less) from the well head.


    Terry I could really use some "expert plumber" advice on my engineering. I'm looking to buy parts asap to move forward with this. My schematic is a reverse engineering of what is happening in the "spirovent superior vacuum degassing" youtube. Unlike the computer controlled "superior" model my degasser relies on cycle timer controls and a 1/4 turn valve to restrict incoming flow rather than an actuator. I'm hoping to use the cycle time and the 1/4 turn to induce a cyclical 0 psi state in the re-purposed-for-vacuum "hot water tank" in the middle of the diagram.


    1) Will it work?

    2) Would I be better off simply putting a big boy $400 2" spirovent jr on my incoming supply line after my 20 gallon well pressure tank and "calling it done" with no recycling or vacuum extraction? The spirovent tech support told me their vents were "designed to be in recirculating systems and are not designed to capture all gas on the first pass, though oversizing does increase % of capture in a single pass" They offered no technical suggestions as far as methane removal, saying it would be treated as any other gas by their vents. I'm concerned that a "single pass" method would not work as the gas is extremely dissolved milky at 50F from my well. Its not until it sits in my lines for a bit that it begins to bubble out. Spirotherm does claim that their vents remove "dissolved gas" but they also recommend locating the vent immediately after the boiler; where the gas has likely already "bubbled out of solution".

    3) It is also possible (and more common) to create an "open to the atmosphere" degassing arrangement... I'm avoiding this because the cost is about the same (or more given what I have on hand) and my method should provide pressurized methane whereas the open top method will only off gas to the open atmosphere. It will also require a large 200 gallon tank to be stored indoors or buried at ground level due to freezing concerns. Should I reconsider?

    4) Sticking with my vacuum degassing plans, what size pumps and tanks should I need? I'm looking at 1-1/4 spirovents/traps and Taco 006SS circulators, 1/2 hp Jet Pump, 20 and 80 gallon pressure tanks, and a 50 gallon hot water tank. All plumbing will be 3/4 pex; oxygen barrier because I have a bunch of it on hand.

    5) Do I get any bonus points for most interesting questions from a new member? :)
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2013
  8. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

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    So You have to use a torch to burn the methane ?

    You do get Bonus points.

    Work on taking the Hydrogen out of the water, and stop wasting your time.


    Have Fun.
  9. presence

    presence New Member

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    Actually it will light with just a simple acetylene "flint spark lighter". I use the mapp torch to light the sink because it lights it instantly; a bit safer than waiting on a good spark while the gas builds up in my house.

    The torch tip on the bucket contraption has no additional feed of any other gas besides what is bubbling out of my garden hose.

    I actually have experimented a bit with HHO dry cells; it took lots of electricity to get as much fuel as is boiling off freely from my tap water.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2013
  10. presence

    presence New Member

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    Moving on towards "vortex degassing". Major cost savings in parts and also major savings in long term electricity usage:

    [video=youtube;hPvBOmLx3gE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPvBOmLx3gE&feature=player_embedded[/video]

    http://i39.tinypic.com/snm7vd.jpg


    [​IMG]

    I'm looking at ART-DNe cycle timers and 3/4 actuator valves for the sediment and protein purge; one set for each so I purge at the highest flow rate. Maybe 30 seconds nightly to purge from bottom then top?

    Cycle Timers
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...d=AUQO2APMRPLL

    Actuator Valves
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...A27FLKY64E6N9J


    Purging will be manual at first; no extras until degassing is perfected.


    Its starting to shape up into a neat little system that doesn't use much power. Degasses methane, skims off the skuzz and drops off the metals. What more can you ask for?

    My planned loop also contains Catalytic carbon in a "big boy" 20 x 4.5 canister and a UV filter.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...A11X99NTDQPUM7
    http://www.amazon.com/S8Q-PA-Sterili...d_sim_sbs_hi_2

    Though they will probably be put off until I'm degassing effectively.

    I'm eyeing Winter's Gauges for the system; they will come with my first order to help with fine tuning.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...=ATVPDKIKX0DER

    in 0-60psi for water, -30Hg-60psi vortex, and 0-15psi for methane.


    Taco SS006 circulator:
    http://www.pexsupply.com/Taco-006-ST...-HP-15052000-p

    Spirotherm Spirotop methane vent:
    http://www.pexsupply.com/Spirotherm-...aded-9268000-p

    4" and 3/4" clear PVC:
    http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/ite...4353&catid=592


    I'm going to pexsupply.com all the fittings... better selection on schedule 40 pvc than anything local.

    Something I'm also looking at, downstream, is a second vortex loop to treat hydrogen sulfide with kdf85 & garnet that stays in suspension using another Taco 006SS w/ a lower vortex input point. KDF is finicky, very heavy, and requires oxygenation and fast movement to work best. Its so heavy it tends to clog up in most "canister" or "backwashing" situations. By vortexing it I should be able to keep it moving though. I'd feed it w/ a "DEMA 206 venturi injector" sucking air off one of those "bare bones ozone generators" on amazon;

    http://www.amazon.com/ForeverOzone-B...re bones ozone

    the second loop would off gas w/ a second spirotop. I'd pull my final "re-oxygenated water", with H2S and any heavy metals reduxed, from a well oxygenated place in the vortex near the top. In the process I'd be creating a pressurized air/oxygen mix out of the second vent.

    That is, along w/ super clean, oxygenated water, I'd then have pressurized CH4 and O2 on tap:

    Mixable torch fuel.

    hmmmm
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2013
  11. presence

    presence New Member

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    Ok here are my latest plans. Changes were made after educating myself on "vortex breakers", "pump cavitation", "inlet design", "free surface vortices", etc. and then further refined to reduce part cost. I also redesigned my output ports so they end in threaded stainless: PVC/CPVC transition bushing to CPVC/MIP stainless transition. With stainless output ports I can reliably disconnect and reconnect if need be in the future.


    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2013
  12. presence

    presence New Member

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  13. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Bothell, Washington
    I love the drawings and the concept.
    I just have no idea whether that will make the Mars Mission possible or not. It's intriging.
    We have boring water in Seattle. Ours is surface water from the mountains.
  14. craigpump

    craigpump Member

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    ct
    Maybe I'm way off base, but wouldn't it be easier to use a bubbler system similar to a radon abatement system to pull the gas off the water?
  15. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

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    Location:
    Houston, TX

    That would be to easy, but would work also.

    None of the posted web links worked for me.

    This has been done, with little Profit.


    But it is Fun to play.
  16. presence

    presence New Member

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    What you have described is the "typical" methane abatement system.

    It requires

    A large open to the atmosphere storage tank w/ float valve control of well pump (200-500 gallons) and an indoor place; or below ground place to store it.
    an aeration sprinkler system within (or bubbler) and the air/circulation pump
    A "radon pump" system to evacuate methane to the atmosphere
    A second submersible pump inside the open top tank to repressurize degassed water into a well tank assembly.

    The downsides of the system are:

    Essentially doubling power needed to pressurize water at the tap (one pump in well, one pump in sump); so two 220 generators to pump water when the power is out unless you bypass the methane into your plumbing.
    Large tank takes up a lot of indoor space or requires digging.
    CH4 is at atmospheric pressure when released rather than pressurized as w/ the "spirotop" on my vortex.
    CH4 is a greenhouse gas 21x more powerful than CO2; one might conclude it "should" be flared before release
    Upfront cost of just the large tank and the extra pump exceed the cost of the whole vortex assembly. Though there are surely ways to get your hands on a cheap tank you could dig in by hand if you so choose.

    I'm really interested in "harvesting and burning" my CH4; keeping it at pressure without having to "repressurize it" for use. Perhaps heating my hydronic or hot water system with a prone-to-burn-anything and easy to construct "pulse jet engine" in the cavity of a gas hot water heater? Would sure put that bucket of large black iron reducer couplings to good use :)

    [​IMG]
    http://www.pulsejetengines.com/wp-co...eless-3-Lb.pdf


    I'm thinking of storing the "pressurized methane" in two 275 gallon fuel oil tanks stacked w/ drain plugs connected. Methane would go into the top of the lower tank to evacuate RV antifreeze and the top of the upper tank would be open to atmosphere. The pressure would be minimal; in "inches of water column".

    I've kind of gone methane crazy... but I've even considered maintaining a pilot light and bubble column for offgassing at the tip of my "open to the atmosphere" upper tank so I'd flare off any excess. My cold water is "milky with methane" and my hot water will flare off 8-12" fire ball bubbles as long as I let it run... maybe once every 3-4 seconds. I have a good little bit you might say.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2013
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