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Don’t Retire … ReHire! The Installation of Remanufactured Integral Slow Speed Engines for Horsepower Replacement
The trend for new gas compression horsepower and horsepower replacement has been to retire existing reciprocating, integral, slow speed engines and to replace them with gas turbines, electric-driven compressors or high speed reciprocating engines coupled to compressor packages. The justifications for these projects have been the high cost of infrastructure required to install slow speed reciprocating engines, the inability of the integral slow speed engines to meet the new source emissions levels, the cost of upgrading and/or maintaining the existing integral units to meet new pipeline conditions, and more recently, the availability of integral reciprocating engines to purchase and install. Along with the justifications, there have been recognized penalties for replacing existing reciprocating engines: reduced flexibility to adjust to changing pipeline and operating conditions, shorter component life cycle, and reduced throughput efficiency. As replacement projects have been installed and actual operating data has become available, some of the original justifications have begun to lose their credibility and the trade-offs have grown in importance. The development and availability of new combustion and emissions control technologies for integral reciprocating engine/compressors has made it feasible to reduce NOx emissions to the sub 1.0 g/bhp-hr level and to improve the unit fuel efficiency to the sub 7000 btu/bhp-hr levels. The increasing cost of natural gas has raised the pressure on fuel efficiency and overall throughput efficiency. The performance limitations of the turbines and centrifugal compressors at off-design point conditions are becoming a larger issue as pipelines are asked to operate closer to actual certificated capacity. This paper will present case studies for the evaluation and justification of adding compressor station capacity by up-rating existing low BMEP integral reciprocating engine/compressor units and using re-manufactured, previously retire
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