Expander Technology

A variety of scenarios exist in industry where natural gas pressure needs to be reduced.  For example, Natural gas transmission lines carry high pressure natural gas to large facilities or city centers where the gas is reduced to distribution pressure prior to entering the natural gas distribution network.  The pressure reduction, typically a factor between 4 – 10, is traditionally performed as natural gas passes through a regulator or Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV). Although this method is simple, considerable energy loss is imposed to the system. 

Turbo Expanders will recover the energy which occurs as natural gas pressure is reduced. This energy, in the form of mechanical shaft power, will be used to drive a generator to produce electricity. This electricity can be used internally or sold back to the power grid and as no carbon is burned to produce this electrical energy. This process will be eligible for carbon tax emission credits (roughly 0.7 tonne CO2/MW).

Expanders or Turbo Expanders have been used in industry since the early 1960’s. Thousands of units are in service around the world and the technology is well proven.  In principle, gas expansion is compression running in reverse.

The team at TAKEnergy have experience working with several Turbo Expander manufacturers and can work with you to find the optimal solution for your unique need.  We offer three technology options for pressure reduction:

RadMax® Gas Expander for 1kW – 300kW applications:

• Efficient expansion of low density and lower volume flow of gases

• Better handling of gas entrained liquids

• High internal expansion ratios (up to 20:1)

• Lower speed with high work efficiency that can directly drive off-the-shelf generators without the need for speed changing gearboxes

• Scalability from small to very large devices

TAKEnergy is excited to work with RadMax Technologies Inc., of Spokane Washington, to commercialize the patented RadMax Gas Expander and support the recently announced pilot project co-funded with the Natural Gas Innovation Fund (NGIF). (Read the NGIF news announcement here)

Click here to learn more about RadMax and how this technology can bring cost effective small scale power solutions to industrial clients.

Magnetic Bearing Turbo Generator (MTG) for 300 kW application:

• Small footprint (NPS18 x 1.6m long)w of gases

• Low operating costs (oil free design, no bearing wear)

• High efficiency due to low mechanical loss

Conventional Bearing Turbo Generator (TG) for 700 kW – 15 MW applications:

• Low capital costs vs power production

• High efficiency in medium to high flow applications

• High internal expansion ratios (up to 20:1)

• Dual stage expansion allowing for multiple pressure outlets

• Proven technology with very high running time (minimum maintenance)