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Evaluation of Different Flare Gas Recovery Alternatives with Exergy and Exergoeconomic Analyses


Natural gas flaring is considered one of the significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the upstream oil and gas industry. It plays an essential role in reducing the energy efficiency of oil and gas production. Depending on flare gas properties, it can be used for different destinations. Herein, we have evaluated the main flare gas recovery alternatives, including sweet gas production, Gas to Liquid (GTL), and power generation, by using exergy and exergoeconomic analysis tools. For this purpose, flare gas condition in two phases of the Pars Special Economic Energy Zone in south of Iran was chosen as a case study. The mass sensitivity analysis is conducted to examine the processes in different flare gas volumes. Mass flow fluctuation analysis is carried out to analyze the effect of mass flow fluctuation as an intrinsic characteristic of flare systems. Results indicate that the production of electrical power from flaring gas is an economical method regarding the exergoeconomic criteria. While the power generation process has disadvantages such as high exergy destruction and high capital cost, advantages such as higher revenue, local potentials for designing, equipment, and construction should be regarded. On the other hand, the sweetening plant has the highest exergetic efficiency rather than other substitutes. This method also has a lower exergoeconomic factor, especially in lower flaring volume. The mass flow sensitivity analysis in these processes shows the GTL production unit's appropriate performance in low flare gas volume. The results also offer the superior performance of sweetening plants in high flare gas volume. Combined Cycle Power Plant (CCPP) process shows an acceptable performance in a broad range of flare gas volumes. Additionally, mass flow fluctuation analysis has been conducted to determine the effect of mass flow fluctuation in these alternatives. The investigation suggested that the CCPP process has lower fluctuation in terms of cycle product (power generation).

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\(\dot{C}\) :

Cost rate ($/h)

\(\dot{C}_{D}\) :

Cost rate of exergy destruction ($/h)

\(\mathop {{\mathrm{Ex}}}\limits^{ \cdot }\) :

Exergy rate (kW)

\(\dot{m}\) :

Mass flow rate (kg/s)

\(\dot{W}\) :

Work rate (kW)

\(\dot{Z}\) :

Investment, operation and maintenance cost rate ($/h)

c :

Cost per exergy unit ($/GJ)

\(c_{F}\) :

Unit cost of the fuel ($/GJ)

\(c_{P}\) :

Unit cost of the product ($/GJ)

e :

Specific exergy (kJ/kg)

f :

Exergoeconomic factor (%)

h :

Specific enthalpy (kJ/kg)

I :

Irreversibility or exergy destruction (kW)

P :


r :

Relative cost difference (%)

s :

Specific entropy (kJ/kg-C)

T :

Temperature (°C)

x :

Mole fraction

Z :

Purchased equipment cost

ε :

Exergetic efficiency (%)

\(\varphi\) :

Maintenance factor


Reference state


Air cooler

Air comp:

Air compressor


Autothermal reactor


Anderson–Schulz Flory


Billion cubic meters




Combustion chamber


Combined cycle power plant


Carbon capture and storage




Combined heat and power


Capital recovery factor




Diethanol amine


Dimethyl ether


Heat exchanger




Flare gas recovery




Gas turbine


Gas to ethylene


Gas turbines generation


Gas to liquid


Heat recovery steam generator


High pressure



k :

kTh component




Lower heating value


Liquefied natural gas




Million standard cubic feet per day








Purchased equipment cost


Rate of return


Steam turbine








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Zaresharif, M., Vatani, A. & Ghasemian, M. Evaluation of Different Flare Gas Recovery Alternatives with Exergy and Exergoeconomic Analyses. Arab J Sci Eng 47, 5501–5520 (2022).

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  • Flare gas recovery
  • GTL
  • Power generation
  • Exergy
  • Exergoeconomic analysis
  • Mass flow sensitivity analysis
  • Mass flow fluctuation