In some oil pipelines pressure reduction systems are installed in order to guarantee a smooth and safe operation (mainly in pipelines with high elevation differences). Such systems convert pressure or kinetic energy into heat. The question is whether it is possible to transform the kinetic energy also into electricity? The answer is yes!
ILF had the chance to investigate a potential pipeline system for the installation of a turbine for energy recovery in a crude oil pipeline. The system need to overcome a hill. In order to avoid slackline regions, which makes it easier for leak detection and pigging, a back pressure control valve was installed. Depending on the pipeline system flow rates the PCV converted energy in the range of 1 MW to 12 MW.
This potential energy can be partly recovered by the installation of expander turbines. The challenge in such systems is the design of an energy recovery system which does not reduce the safety and availability of the pipeline system.
The presentation shows some general design aspects regarding the installation of an energy recovery system. In addition the possible operating ranges and limitations reading flow and pressure conditions of the turbines will be presented.