Inhibition Mechanism of EMIM-Cl to Methane Gas Hydrate by Molecular Dynamics Simulation

GZ Xin and N Xu and HW Li and FL Yin and YQ Qi and SQ Li and XY Su and Y Chen and BJ Sun, ENERGIES, 15, 7928 (2022).

DOI: 10.3390/en15217928

Deep-water gas well testing is a key technology for obtaining reservoir production and physical property parameters. However, gas hydrates could easily form and cause blockage in the low-temperature and high-pressure environment on the seafloor. Therefore, it is extremely important to inhibit hydrate growth in deep-water operations. Ionic liquid is a type of hydrate inhibitor with both thermodynamic and kinetic effects. However, its intrinsic inhibiting mechanism is still unclear. By using molecular dynamics simulation, the growth process of methane hydrate in the 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazole chloride (EMIM-Cl)-containing system at the pressure of 15 MPa and temperature of 273.15 K was studied. The system energy and angular order parameters (AOP) were extracted as the evaluation indicators. It was found that the time for the complete growth of methane hydrate in the EMIM-Cl-containing system was about 10 ns, longer than that in the pure water, indicating that EMIM-Cl showed an obvious inhibition effect to hydrate growth. The results also implied that the joint action of hydrogen bond and steric hindrance might be the inhibition mechanism of EMIM-Cl. Some six-membered rings in hydrate crystal large cage structures evolved from five-membered rings under the effect of EMIM, which partly contributed to the delay of hydrate formation.

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