The goal is to develop new engine uprate technologies that will be applicable to a large inventory of existing pipeline compressor units for the purpose of increasing pipeline throughput with the same footprint of existing facilities. Work is to include: 1) demonstration that the technologies can achieve the performance targets under controlled, laboratory conditions using the Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory’s (EECL’s) Clark TLA research engine, 2) demonstration that the technologies tested under phase 1 can migrate to an operating engine in pipeline service with similar or better performance, and 3) that the durability of the retrofit equipment will be acceptable.
Colorado State University (CSU) – Project management and research activities
Dresser-Rand – Provision of products and services necessary for long-term support of the uprate kits, potential commercializer (development of path to market)
Pipeline Research Council International (PRCI) – Cost share and industry input
Fort Collins, CO 80523
Almost all reciprocating pipeline engines were designed 30-60 years ago, before sophisticated analysis and modeling techniques were available. Conservative design assumptions were made to assure durability and ease of manufacture. Continued operation of this mature equipment, long past original design life, serves as evidence that additional capacity exists and can be captured.
Many of the improvements in power density, fuel economy and emissions that are typical of modern engines are a direct result of materials analysis, combustion modeling, kinematic modeling, and fluid flow modeling tools and techniques that have been developed in the last few years and applied to research projects performed at the EECL. This knowledge is the technical basis for the approach and will be leveraged to apply modern principles to a sizeable, mature equipment infrastructure to maximize its capacity.
In total, the U. S. pipeline industry has approximately 8,000 reciprocating engines installed for natural gas compression with a capacity of 7 gigawatts (9.4 million horsepower). Of this total, approximately 2,000 engines totaling 250 megawatts (344,000 horsepower) are potential candidates for uprate technologies such as those to be investigated during this research. The work being conducted under this project holds the potential to impact the nation by increasing the capacity of the existing U.S. natural gas pipeline infrastructure by 1.5 billion cubic feet per day without adding new compressor units. This could potentially be accomplished by retrofitting existing compressor engines with suites of new or existing technologies to increase power output, or “uprate”, while incurring a cost which is no more than 25% of new unit costs. At the same time, this program seeks to increase fuel efficiency, improve durability, and also strives to reduce the environmental impact of the compressor engines to be considered. The work would employ a “systematic” or prioritized approach to the implementation for specific engines over time such that costly, one-time expenditures are not necessary.
Project was initiated in October 2004, and initial activities are concentrated on Phase 1, which is the development and planning for laboratory scale testing of potential uprate technologies for proof of concept development. Baseline information is necessary to begin to develop needed research in the described focus areas. To that end, the following tasks have been completed:
This project was ended at the completion of Phase I by the DOE due to reduced program funding.
$400,000 (Phase I funding $200,000)
$260,000 (Phase I contribution $100,000)