Power Upgrades for a Natural Gas Compressor Station

Photo of Ella Miesner, Jessica Simar, and Logan Warren Students: Ella Miesner, Jessica Simar, and Logan Warren

Sponsor: El Paso Corporation

Date: Fall 2007

Requirements:

A power upgrade solution for El Paso's new compressor Station 32 Building A includes an equipment selection that will generate vast improvement over previous values in general metrics such as efficiency and operational life while also maintaining reliability and emissions requirements and minimizing capital expenditures. Project requirements are summarized in Table 1. Design constraints, summarized in Table 2, impose limitations on the design possibilities. The main constraint in the new compressor station design is the use of commercially available equipment designed to operate at the permitted horsepower for the station, 12,100 hp. Obtaining the desired efficiency and production, improving the operating emissions, and meeting the 12,100 horsepower rating for Building A may be limited by the technology of the available equipment on the market.

Problem:

Our project requires us to determine the best commercially available equipment to achieve high compression and fuel use efficiency at Station 32 Building A while maintaining low capital costs, ensuring low lifetime maintenance and operation costs and meeting state emissions and permitting requirements.

Solution:

This report details the project, analysis methodology, and conclusions for the University of Texas at Austin senior design team of Ella Miesner, Jessica Simar, and Logan Warren. The team completed the project entitled "Power Upgrades for a Natural Gas Compressor Station" for the El Paso Gas Corporation. In accordance with the project scope outlined by El Paso, the team determined the best commercially available equipment to achieve high compression and fuel use efficiency at Station 32 Building A while maintaining low capital costs, ensuring low lifetime maintenance and operation costs and meeting state emissions and permitting requirements. The following report details our analysis and provides recommendations for El Paso's horsepower upgrade at Station 32 A.

The report takes into consideration the past operating history of Station 32A, the need for decreased emissions at the site, and the desire to keep overall installation and maintenance costs low. The team solicited recommendations from vendors and evaluated each individual option to find the best available equipment for Station 32 A's unique operating needs.

The team based their equipment type selection on a detailed analysis of the operating history for Station 32 A. This analysis showed the need for compressor and prime mover equipment that had the capacity to move a wide range of gas flow volumes over a variety of low end compression ratios. Using knowledge of compressor techonolgies and applications, the team narrowed their selection to the general genre of reciprocating compressors.

Selection of appropriate prime movers to power the compressors took into account the needs for low emissions, low maintenance, and high reliability. Station 32 A lies along the same network as two electrically driven stations, so the team selected gas engines as the best prime mover option to balance the total system reliability with the site specific power and emissions considerations.

Based on this equipment selection, the team solicited specific recommendations for implementation from well known industry vendors. The team then analyzed the specifications and operating estimates for each vendor's recommendations to find the most efficient option. The team then balanced the efficiency analysis with an economic evaluation for total cost and future savings to determine the best overall option for El Paso's Station 32 A.

At completion of the project, the team recommends that El Paso pursue a formal quote with Cooper-Cameron Superior Compressor Division to purchase three (3) WG74 Compressor packages paired with CAT G3616 engines. The team's research and analysis, detailed in the following report, shows the equipment will meet Station 32 A's needs while providing high efficiency, low maintenance, and low capital costs.

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