The project will design, build, and test a high-pressure linear motor leak recovery compressor for the cost-effective recovery of methane leaks within the transmission, storage, gathering, and processing sectors of the natural gas value chain.
Gas Technology Institute (GTI); Des Plaines, Illinois
University of Texas Center for Electromechanics; Austin, Texas
Large reciprocating and centrifugal compressors are the heart of the natural gas value chain. Across the U.S., around 8,000 compressors move gas through large transmission lines and store it underground in high-pressure geological formations for use during high demand periods. These compressors are concentrated at about 2,000 compressor stations where they are maintained and operated year-round. These compressor stations also contain pneumatic controllers, storage tanks, and purge systems that are required to operate the compressors or direct flow in and out of the station.
These mechanical systems represent emission sources, and though only a relatively small number, they contribute to a disproportionately large percentage (about 20%) of the total methane emissions from the entire value chain. The primary challenge preventing the capture and mitigation of these leaks is not a lack of will or desire, but rather the absence of a suitably engineered and priced solution.
The project team will design, build, and test a fully functional linear motor leak recovery compressor and package it onto a full leak recovery system designed specifically to gather and recompress methane emissions from midstream transmission and storage compressor stations. The linear motor leak recovery compressor is uniquely suited to provide variable flow capabilities to match the variable leak rates inherent to this application. It has also been designed for a high-pressure discharge to compress the gas back to midstream operating pressures, often over 1,000 psi. The team’s goal is to develop a less expensive unit capable of reaching several thousand psi.
Project kick-off presentation was held on April 16, 2020
GTI is currently conducting dynamic simulation modeling to develop the optimal motor and compressor design. Simulations will be used to and verify performance requirements across a broad range of operating conditions, including various inlet pressures and flow rates.