Less Greenhouse Gas Emissions Thanks to Mobile Pipeline Evacuation Compressor

Natural gas is evacuated instead of being released into the atmosphere

Less Greenhouse Gas Emissions Thanks to Mobile Pipeline Evacuation Compressor
Neuman & Esser

When it comes to avoiding greenhouse gas emissions, methane is a decisive factor in addition to CO2 emissions. Methane emissions arise, among other things, during planned measures on the gas network, which thus has enormous emission savings potential. For repair work on a gas pipeline, the affected pipeline section must be free of gas. Until now, blowing out the residual gas into the atmosphere was a common and accepted method for this. However, this released a significant amount of methane into the environment and the gas was lost for use.

The cooperation between NEUMAN & ESSER GROUP and ONTRAS Gastransport GmbH has therefore resulted in a mobile pipeline evacuation compressor that solves this problem. ONTRAS operates the long-distance pipeline network in Eastern Germany, which covers around 7,700 km. For use in this network, the machine has to meet various requirements. It is required to run autonomously, to be mountable on only one trailer and to be erectable on any flat, load-bearing surface without additional effort. The maximum possible pumping volume flow must be achieved for a main pressure range of 16 to 40 bar, and the pressure of the line section to be emptied must be reduced as much as possible in the process.

The approximately two-year project period included both the engineering and the actual construction of the plant, and during this time 3D models from AutoCAD Plant 3D and VR goggles made it possible to visualize the plant. This provided an early impression of the ease of maintenance and accessibility of individual components. During the development of the mobile pipeline evacuation compressor, a particular focus was on the maximum possible delivery volume. In the case of the NEUMAN & ESSER GROUP plant, which is driven by a 770 kW gas engine, all plant components, i.e. water cooling, air conditioning, control, regulation and the accessories for the superstructure, were mounted on a trailer.

Due to the special focus on the maximum delivery rate in the compressor design, the gas-tight compressor of the plant type 2TVL63 GTC (2-stage, dry-running, 4-crank, horizontal) can pump up to 68,000 Nm³/h of natural gas to up to 45 bar(g) discharge pressure into another gas pipeline. The compressor’s particularly short crank case and the special 45° rotated cylinder orientation allow maximum use of the given space of the trailer, and the gas-tight design of the crank case helps to avoid gas emissions even during the evacuation process.

To enable short-term operations and avoid permit waiting times, the mobile unit complies with all relevant standard external dimensions in accordance with StVZO (Road Traffic Licensing) regulations. By means of various auxiliary systems and a complete control cabinet unit, this plant enables self-sufficient operation, as the plant is operated via the natural gas available in the long-distance gas pipelines at the respective location. The mobile compressor unit is ready for start-up in about two hours after commissioning.

After the first successful operation in Maukendorf, further operations followed in Leuna, Großenhain, Bobbau, Brusendorf and Lauchhammer. At these sites, 1,450,000 Nm³ of natural gas were already pumped over in the first year of the mobile compressor unit, which would otherwise have been released into the atmosphere. The amount of gas saved can supply around 650 single-family homes for a year. This corresponds to greenhouse gas emissions of the equivalent of around 28,000 metric tons of CO2, or around 280 million car kilometers.

NEUMAN & ESSER GROUP (NEA), founded in 1830 in Aachen, Germany, is a leading manufacturer of compressor solutions, including NEA reciprocating compressors and high-pressure diaphragm compressors from HOFER as well as sealing elements for oscillating and rotating systems from STASSKOL. NEA offers comprehensive services for the NEA brand and 12 OEM licenses. Another focus of NEA is the production of grinding and classifying systems. The company’s products are used in all major applications in the oil and gas, chemical and petrochemical, food and beverage, renewable energy, and H2 industries, including H2 mobility.

NEA with approximately 1,300 employees consists of three holding companies in Germany, the U.S. and China, four production sites in Germany and two in the U.S., as well as 21 engineering and service companies in 10 strategic locations around the globe. With NEA X, the experts for digital solutions, NEA GROUP has an interdisciplinary, industry-experienced team that accompanies the technological transformation of customers from analysis to implementation and support in productive operation.

In order to position itself as a solution provider with upstream and downstream processes along the H2 value chain, NEA GROUP has founded the NEA ENERGY business unit. This currently comprises five companies: NEA GREEN supports customers in decarbonizing their energy or industrial systems and in decentralized applications. ARCANUM is a solution provider for the entire process chain from biogas plants to biogas upgrading and grid injection, including the further processing of biomethane into green hydrogen. HYTRON is NEA’s solution provider in the fields of engineering and system integration for PEM and alkaline electrolyzers as well as natural gas and ethanol reformers. Alternative Energy Driven Solutions (AE DS) is a 50% shareholding of NEA and develops mobility concepts based on a CO2-neutral charging and supply infrastructure.