What is Triethylene Glycol?
Triethylene glycol (also known as TEG, triglycol and trigen) is a colourless, viscous, non-volatile liquid with the formula C6H14O4. It is well known for its hygroscopic quality and its ability to dehumidify fluids.
How is it produced?
Triethylene glycol is prepared commercially as a co-product of the oxidation of ethylene at high temperature, in the presence of a silver oxide catalyst. The ethylene oxide is then hydrated to yield mono, di, tri, and tetra ethylene glycols.
It is estimated that the total world consumption of TEG is in excess of 175 metric tonnes annually.
How is it stored and distributed?
Triethylene glycol can be stored and transported in stainless steel, aluminium or lined tank cars, tank trucks, or 225 kg drums. It has a specific gravity of 1.125 and a flash point of 168 °C (closed cup) and is not classified for transport by road, sea, or rail.
What is Triethylene Glycol used for?
Oil & Gas Industry
The main uses for tri ethylene glycol are based upon its hygroscopic quality. This means that it can absorb moisture from the air through absorption or adsorption. It is used as a dehydrating agent for natural gas pipelines where it removes the water from the gas before being condensed. The triethylene glycol can then be continually reused, although the by-product of benzene needs to be disposed of carefully. This process is useful as it prevents the gas from freezing making the gas easier to transport and manage for end consumers.
Triethylene glycol can also be used as a mild disinfectant. Due to its low toxicity, antimicrobial properties, and low odour, it is commonly used for air disinfection in occupied areas where more aggressive disinfectants cannot be used. Due to these disinfectant properties and the dehydrating properties, it is an ideal dehumidifying agent in air-conditioning units.