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  • Electric generator that uses gas flow for energy source proves robust

    N. Saucier

    Solar panels are not always reliable, given the vagaries of weather, and, offshore, they are sometimes stolen. Chevron had been searching for years for a more reliable remote power source for its gas-lift control valves and SCADA equipment at its offshore and onshore operations in Cabinda, Angola. In 2003, Chevron contacted Natural Gas Turbine Technologies, Inc., to discuss the feasibility of using its technology to generate power in remote locations using wet and potentially sour natural gas. The company has been building power-generating turbines since 1991, primarily in the US domestic gas distribution market. These turbines, which use only the flow of gas to generate electricity, have been running in some locations for 14 years. Unlike a vane turbine, these turbines exploit the energy from gas flowing around a “knurled” central rotor, minimizing pressure drop and gas-expansion cooling. The sealed ceramic ball bearings are non-corrosive and will run for years even if they run completely dry.

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