Burns & McDonnell Issued Patent for Use of Dividing Wall Columns in the Natural Gas Liquids Industry
Burns & McDonnell Issued Patent for Use of Dividing Wall Columns in the Natural Gas Liquids Industry
02/03/2022 1 minute read

KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Burns & McDonnell has received a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for an innovative dividing wall column (DWC) designed for the natural gas liquids industry. This state-of-the-art dividing wall column technology means the traditional four-tower fractionation design is condensed into a three-tower system yielding the same five purity products: ethane, propane, isobutane, normal butane, and natural gasoline.

“Utilizing DWC technology in the NGL fractionation market is a game changer not only in the midstream market, but also within refineries and chemical facilities. The cost, energy and emission efficiencies gained are invaluable, especially with the focus on ESG,” says Karen Bray, vice president of process and project development at Burns & McDonnell.


In 2019, Burns & McDonnell completed construction of the first dividing wall column train in the natural gas liquids (NGL) fractionation industry for a confidential midstream company. The facility processes 125,000 barrels per day of Y-grade feed. The DWC methodology was successful in lowering capital costs and providing significant operational and utility savings after startup.

The DWC fractionator technology can be customized and scaled for a wide variety of throughput requirements. From lower carbon emissions and lower capital costs to greater operational efficiencies, this innovative solution can help create opportunities for the midstream oil and gas market.

“By reconceptualizing the traditional distillation system with a DWC, capital and operational costs are significantly reduced, a more environmentally friendly process is implemented and less footprint is required to build,” says Andrew Becker, process technology manager at Burns & McDonnell.  

Watch our webinar to learn more about the dividing wall column theory, application and execution.

About Burns & McDonnell

Burns & McDonnell is a family of companies bringing together an unmatched team of 7,600 engineers, construction professionals, architects, planners, technologists and scientists to design and build our critical infrastructure. With an integrated construction and design mindset, we offer full-service capabilities with more than 60 offices globally. Founded in 1898, Burns & McDonnell is 100% employee-owned. Learn how we are designed to build.

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