The project goal is to develop Natural Gas (NG) leak mitigation technologies that will enable companies to effectively mitigate leaks from midstream equipment and/or facilities (including pneumatic valves, controllers, and field gathering lines) and capture additional natural gas while removing their individual contribution to overall methane emissions. The project will develop and test an integrated thermoelectric generator (TEG)/burner system, as well as complete the design for a field pilot for oil and gas field operations. Targeted objectives for this project include:
Gas Technology Institute, Des Plaines, IL 60018
This project will use demonstrated advanced thermoelectrics to provide significantly higher system efficiency over commercially available TEG materials, coupled with an integrated burner-heat exchanger to achieve a low-cost system. The integration will utilize experience gained from another DOE program that developed a 1kW-class TEG for high-grade waste heat from automotive exhaust. The automotive TEG program is being completed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), who are the TEG developers for this program. This integration includes hot-side and cold-side heat exchangers, electrical circuitry, and control electronics.
The project provides a near-term energy opportunity to recover between 1–2 million metric tons of methane emitted by intermittent pneumatic controllers annually in the U.S., and potentially 6–12 million metric tons per year globally. This is a significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions. The proposed system offers a low-cost, direct retrofit solution that will provide a short payback to increase implementation of the system.
The Program Kickoff Meeting was held October 25, 2016; the Program Management Plan was updated; and the Space Act Agreement with NASA/JPL was finalized and signed. The following technical items have been completed to date:
An additional task — assembly of the Field System and complete a checkout test of the system in a test laboratory (a precursor to actually field testing the system) — was added in July 2018. This resulted in the schedule duration and funding to be increased accordingly.
MMTEG system design effort is continuing with the key challenge to design a compliant structure that allows for thermal expansion but does not structurally overload the TEG modules. A number of concepts have been evaluated, including approaches previously employed at JPL for other applications. The selected concept described above allows for thermal growth while maintaining the TEG modules under constant load. The detail design is currently in progress.
The TEG modules will be completed in the near term including spare units. The units will be tested to determine the power delivered by each module. Additional burner tests will be completed to define the temperature profile and to minimize the pressure drop. In addition, igniter operation will be demonstrated.
Subsequent tasks include an Integrated TEG/burner design review followed by assembly and test of the test article. Trade studies will be completed as part of the System Engineering task to define the overall system and its cost and optimize recoverable revenue by evaluating the following variables: TEG configuration, burner configuration and geometry, compressor reliability, controls minimization, safety, and burner pressure drop. The overall MMTEG system, including the control system and power management approach, will be defined.