The most cost-effective method to inhibit the formation of hydrate in pipelines is by injecting a hydrate inhibitor agent. In the past decade, quaternary ammonium salts have been introduced as green hydrate inhibitors, as well as dual function inhibitors, because they are environmentally friendly and have shown good inhibitory performance. Researchers have been investigating on Quaternary ammonium salts and found their improved chemical and thermal stability compared to imidazolium and pyridinium, their solvating properties and unique miscibility which can be utilized in hydrate inhibitor applications.
Hydrates are crystalline solids of water molecules bonded by hydrogen bonds to form cage-like pores, similar to ice. Studies have found that quaternary ammonium salts such as butyl quaternary ammonium salt and methyl quaternary ammonium salt can act as guest molecules to destroy the hydrate crystal structure and occupy multiple pores, thereby inhibiting the formation of hydrates. Among them, the quaternary ammonium salt cation breaks the hydrogen bonds in the crystal and occupies many large pores, and the quaternary ammonium salt anion replaces a water molecule and participates in the lattice construction.
- The quaternary ammonium salt hydrate inhibitor is easy to operate with small dosage and low cost.
- Quaternary ammonium salt hydrate inhibitor is non-toxic, harmless and environmentally friendly.
- Quaternary ammonium salt hydrate inhibitors are less affected by supercooling.
- Quaternary ammonium salt hydrate inhibitors have good compatibility.
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- Hussain H. H.; et al. Review on application of quaternary ammonium salts for gas hydrate inhibitor. Appl. Sci., 2020, 10(3): 1011-1023.