Hybrid Drives at Compression Stations to Meet the Challenges of the Energy Transition
Proceedings Publication Date
Roshan Joseph
Roshan Joseph, Florence Rodriguez
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This paper explores the potential of hybrid drives in gas compression stations to meet the challenges of the energy transition. For illustrative purposes, it focuses on a pipeline project in the US. Here, the hybrid drive implementation consists of a gas turbine and an electric motor driving a high-efficiency pipeline compressor through synchronous clutches integrated on the same shaft line. The hybrid drive configuration allows the operator to use natural gas, grid electricity, or a combination to meet on-site compression energy demand.

The paper discusses two hybrid drive configurations. In the first configuration, the compressor is primarily driven by the electric motor, with the gas turbine providing backup power when grid electricity (renewable) is unavailable or uneconomical. This ensures the operator's ability to meet contractual guarantees regardless of grid availability and optimizes operating expenses.

In the second configuration, the gas turbine and electric motor are optimally sized and operated. By operating the gas turbine in its most efficient range, NOx and CO emissions reduce by 40% and 10%, respectively, to single-digit ppm levels. Additionally, fuel consumption and associated CO2 emissions decrease by 16% and 14%, respectively, compared to a larger gas turbine model sized to meet worst-case site operating conditions as the only driver and operating at reduced load. During colder months, when gas turbine power output increases, energy consumption remains stable or is slightly increased.

The motor can also function as a generator, allowing excess power generated by the gas turbine to be used on-site or exported to the grid if desired, enabling participation in demand-side management.

Hybrid drives offer operational flexibility and cost savings as well as significant emissions reductions, with implications for the future of energy systems and sustainability goals. It is a valuable tool for gas transmission system operators in the energy transition journey.

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