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Increase capacity, reduce costs, and maximize reliability

A turboexpander expands process fluid from the inlet pressure to the discharge pressure in two steps: first through variable inlet guide vanes and then through the radial wheel. As the accelerated process fluid moves from the inlet guide vanes to the expander wheel, kinetic energy is converted into useful mechanical energy – extracting energy from the process fluid and cooling it down. The mechanical energy is available to drive other process equipment – in this case, a generator.

Expanding process fluid to deliver mechanical energy for generators in oil & gas production

  • With more than 50 years of turboexpander design, BHGE now has about 1,200 units operating worldwide (over 150 coupled with generators) – and a proven record of delivering higher power levels, performing at extreme operating temperatures and achieving greater pressure ratios. This success across the natural gas and hydrocarbon industries is a result of our continuous improvement in areas such as rotor and bearing design, efficiency optimization and control systems.

    Our turboexpander-generator designs respond to specific industry needs for increased capacity, reduced costs and maximized reliability in a wide range of applications, including:

    • Oil & Gas processing Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) plants, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) recovery; tail gas treatment, GasTo-liquids (GTL); Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC)
    • Liquefaction and purification of gases on air treatment plants
    • Petrochemicals: hydrogen, nitrogen and ammonia purification; ethylene production
    • Pressure Let Down (PLD) on pipeline
    • Geothermal power generation (e.g. Organic Rankine Cycle, Kalina and direct steam)
    • Waste-heat recovery (WHR) and Combined Heat and Power (CHP)
    • Ocean Thermal Energy Recovery (OTEC)
    • Patented multi-link Inlet Guide Vanes (IGVs) for precise control and smooth adjustment
    • Dynamic dry gas seals can be applied in single, double or tandem configurations to minimize buffer gas leakage
    • The expander wheels are mounted directly on the high-speed pinions, and the generator is coupled to the low-speed gear
    • Hydraulic, pneumatic or electric actuators control the IGVs and provide precise control from 0 to 130% of design flow
    • If the monitored pressures of two opposed thrust bearings are imbalanced, the controller automatically adjusts pressure behind the expander wheel to keep the rotor centered at all times
    • High-pressure ratios or high flow rates require multistage arrangement. BHGE expanders can accommodate up to four stages on a common integral gearbox

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