Hello everyone, I want to share the findings of Rami Rodriguez and myself regarding impurities in the butane supply. I was connected to Rami via @GasLogix-Adam . Based off of a collaboration of information Rami devised an experiment. The results of the experiment yielded much useful information in determining the specific compound(s) responsible for the “fast crash” phenomenon as well as “Medusa diamonds”. The characteristics of this defect provided the target compounds capable of interrupting the typical crystalline structure and causing an amorphous arrangement, rapid THCa precipitation and diamonds that would chalk after seperation. The simple cubic orientation becomes distorted with elongated face-centered structure which points directly to atom size while also having characteristics in regards to polarity and electronegativity which would allow interaction.
Therefore the test vessel was composed of layered adsorbent material designed to interact with a number of different families of compounds. The amine interaction was nearly negligible however the oxygenate interaction was clear. The entrained normal butane residue within the vessel was obtained and analyzed which provided clearer insight into exactly which oxygenate functional group was responsible for the disruption. Using mass spectrometry the identifying compound belonged to the family of alcohols, specifically it is methanol.
This discovery also confirmed the hypothesis of the contaminant being introduced at the early stages of LPG production. Alcohols are commonly added to well-head gas to prevent hydrate formation upon transferring via pipeline. Most fractionation plants are equipped to remove this addition by passing the product through an amine scrubbing unit utilizing primarily Diethanolamine. Hydrate inhibitors most used in the gas industry are either methanol, or one of the glycols (especially monoethylene glycol). Unfortunately this solution to the transportation issues comes at a cost and is very regularly added in excessive amounts typically going unnoticed otherwise, harsh fines and penalties are forced upon the producer.
Given this data I have been able to replicate the results of the fast crash as well as Medusa diamonds in C5 (pentane) which has never been reported to have the issue. Furthermore methanol has been identified in hydrocarbon extract at low levels produced by multiple labs in California all with different gas sources. Unfortunately the LOD and LOQ are low enough to where this has been missed by labs across the state.
I would like to thank @GasLogix-Adam for making the connection and especially thank Rami for his vital role in figuring this out and allowing me to share the findings with you all.