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Compressors

Thispageprovidesanoverviewoftheprimarycategoriesofnaturalgascompressorservicesandadescriptionofthedifferentclassificationsandtypesofcompressorsavailabletothe
industry.Adiabaticandpolytropiccompressiontheoryarediscussedwithsupportingdefinitionofterminology.

Contents
1Compressiontheory
2Oilandgascompressoruses
2.1Flashgascompressors
2.2Gasliftcompressors
2.3Reinjectioncompressors
2.4Boostercompressors
2.5Vaporrecoverycompressors
2.6Casingheadcompressors
3Classificationandtypes
3.1Positivedisplacementcompressors
3.2Dynamicorkineticcompressors
4Compressiontheory
4.1Isentropic(adiabatic)compression
4.2Polytropiccompression
4.3Head
4.3.1Isentropic(adiabatic)head
4.3.2Polytropichead
4.4Adiabaticorisentropicefficiency
4.5Polytropicefficiency
4.6Compressibilityfactory
4.7Floworcapacity
4.7.1Massorweightflow
4.7.2Standardvolumeflow
4.7.3Actualinletvolumeflow
4.8Compressionratio
4.9Intercooling
4.10Powerrequirement
4.11Compressorselection
4.12Numberofstagesofcompression
5Nomenclature
6References
7NoteworthypapersinOnePetro
8Externallinks
9Seealso

Compressiontheory
Specifictopicsrelatingtocompressiontheoryinclude:

Powerrequirement
Isentropicexponent
Compressibilityfactor
Intercooling
Adiabaticandpolytropicefficiency
Actualandstandardvolumeflowrates
Massflowrates
Inletanddischargepressures
Inletanddischargetemperatures
Adiabaticandpolytropichead

Majorcomponentsandconstructionfeaturesofcentrifugal(/Centrifugal_compressor)andreciprocatingcompressors(/Reciprocating_compressor)areemphasized.Installation,
safety,andmaintenanceconsiderationsalsoarediscussedintheirerspectivepages.

Oilandgascompressoruses
Compressorsusedintheoilandgasindustryaredividedintosixgroupsaccordingtotheirintendedservice.Theseare:

Flashgascompressors
Gasliftcompressors
Reinjectioncompressors
Boostercompressors
Vaporrecoverycompressors
Casingheadcompressors

Flashgascompressors

Flashgascompressorsareusedinoilhandlingfacilitiestocompressgasthatisflashedfromahydrocarbonliquidwhentheliquidflowsfromahigherpressuretoalowerpressure
separator.Flashgascompressorstypicallyhandlelowflowratesandproducehighcompressionratios.

Gasliftcompressors
Gaslift(/Gas_lift)compressorsarefrequentlyusedinoilhandlingfacilitieswherecompressionofformationgasesandgasliftgasisrequired.Gasliftcompressordutyisfrequently
oflowtomediumthroughputwithhighcompressionratios.Manygasliftcompressorsareinstalledonoffshorefacilities.

Reinjectioncompressors

Thereinjectionofnaturalgasisemployedtoincreaseortomaintainoilproduction.Reinjectioncompressorscanberequiredtodelivergasatdischargepressuresinexcessof10,000
psi.Reinjectioncompressorsalsoareusedforundergroundstorageofnaturalgas.Compressors,appliedtotheseservices,havelargecompressionratios,highpowerrequirements,
andlowvolumeflowrates.

Boostercompressors

Gastransmissionthroughpipelinesresultsinpressuredropbecauseoffrictionlosses.Boostercompressorsareusedtorestorethepressuredropfromtheselosses.Selectionofthese
compressorsinvolvesevaluatingtheeconomictradeoffofdistancebetweenpipelineboostingstationsandlifecyclecostofeachcompressorstation.Boostercompressorsalsoare
usedinfieldsthatareexperiencingpressuredecline.Mostcentrifugalpipelineboostercompressorsaregasturbinedriven,althoughtheuseofvariablespeedmotordrivesis
becomingmoreprevalent.Lowspeedintegralgasenginereciprocatingcompressorsalsoareusedforgastransmissionapplications.Boostercompressorstypicallyaredesignedfor
highthroughputratesandlowcompressionratio.Manyboosterapplicationscanbeconfiguredinasinglestagecentrifugalcompressor.

Vaporrecoverycompressors

Vaporrecoverycompressorsareusedtogathergasfromtanksandotherlowpressureequipmentinthefacility.Oftenthegasfromavaporrecoverycompressorisroutedtoaflash
gas,gaslift,orboostercompressorforfurthercompression.Lowsuctionpressures,highcompressionratios,andlowgasthroughputratescharacterizethesecompressors.

Casingheadcompressors

Casingheadcompressorsareusuallyusedwithelectricsubmersiblepumpsandrodpumpswhereformationgasisrequiredtobeseparateddownholeandthentransportedthroughthe
annulus.Oftenthecompressordischargeisroutedtoeitheraboosterorflashgascompressorortoalowpressuregatheringsystem.Likevaporrecoverycompressors,casinghead
compressorsoperatewithlowsuctionpressures,highcompressionratios,andlowgasthroughputrates.

Classificationandtypes
Compressorsareclassifiedintotwomajorcategories:

Positivedisplacementcompressors

Positivedisplacementcompressorsarefurtherdividedinto:

Reciprocating(/Reciprocating_compressor)
Rotarytypes(/Rotary_positive_displacement_compressors)

Dynamicorkineticcompressors

Dynamiccompressorsarecontinuousflowmachinesinwhicharapidlyrotatingelementacceleratesthegasasitpassesthroughtheelement,convertingthevelocityheadinto
pressure,partiallyintherotatingelementandpartiallyinstationarydiffusersorblades.Dynamiccompressorsarefurtherdividedinto:

Centrifugal(/Centrifugal_compressor)
Axialflow
Mixedflowtypes

Compressiontheory
Bothpositivedisplacementanddynamiccompressorsaregovernedbyafewbasicprinciplesderivedfromthelawsofthermodynamics.Thissectiondefinesterminologyand
discussestheoperatingprinciplesessentialforunderstandingcompressordesign,operation,andmaintenance.

Isentropic(adiabatic)compression

Anadiabaticprocessisoneinwhichnoheatisaddedorremovedfromthesystem.Adiabaticcompressionisexpressedby

(/File%3AVol3_page_265_eq_001.PNG)................(1)

wherek=Cp/Cv=ratioofspecificheats,dimensionless.

Althoughcompressorsaredesignedtoremoveasmuchheataspossible,someheatgainisinevitable.Nevertheless,theadiabaticcompressioncycleisrathercloselyapproachedby
mostpositivedisplacementcompressorsandisgenerallythebasetowhichtheyarereferred.

Polytropiccompression

Apolytropicprocessisoneinwhichchangesingascharacteristicsduringcompressionareconsidered.Dynamiccompressorsgenerallyfollowthepolytropiccycleasdefinedbythe
formula

(/File%3AVol3_page_266_eq_001.PNG)................(2)

wheren=polytropicexponent.

Thepolytropicexponentnisexperimentallydeterminedforagiventypeofmachineandmaybelowerorhigherthantheadiabaticexponentk.Becausethevalueofnchangesduring
thecompressionprocess,anaveragevalueisused.

Wheninletanddischargepressuresandtemperaturesareknown,thepolytropicexponentcanbedeterminedfromtherelationship
(/File%3AVol3_page_267_eq_001.PNG)................(3)

Head

HeadissimplytheworkexpressedinfootpoundsperpoundofgasorNm/kg.Atagivencompressorspeedandcapacity,theheaddevelopedbyacentrifugalcompressoristhesame
regardlessofthenatureofthegasbeingcompressed.Thepressureriseproducedbythegivenamountofheadvarieswiththedensityofthegas.

Isentropic(adiabatic)head

Inanisentropiccompressionprocess,headiscalculatedbyEq.4.

(/File%3AVol3_page_267_eq_002.PNG)................(4)

where

His = isentropichead,ftlbf/lbm,
zavg = averagecompressibilityfactor,dimensionless,
Ts = suctiontemperature,R,
S = gasspecificgravity(standardatmosphericair=1.00),
Pd = dischargepressure,psia,
and
Ps = suctionpressure,psia.

Polytropichead

Inapolytropiccompressionprocess,headisdefinedby

(/File%3AVol3_page_267_eq_003.PNG)................(5)

where

Hp = polytropichead,ftlbf/lbm,
and
p = polytropicefficiency.

Adiabaticorisentropicefficiency

Adiabaticefficiencyisdefinedastheratioofworkoutputforanidealisentropiccompressionprocesstotheworkinputtodeveloptherequiredhead.

Foragivencompressoroperatingpoint,theactualorpredictedisentropicefficiencycanbecalculatedwithEq.6.

(/File%3AVol3_page_268_eq_001.PNG)................(6)

where

is = isentropicefficiency,
Ts = suctiontemperature,R,
Td = dischargetemperature(actualorpredicted),R,
and
k = ratioofspecificheats,Cp/Cv.

Polytropicefficiency

Theefficiencyofthepolytropiccompressionprocessisgivenby

(/File%3AVol3_page_268_eq_002.PNG)................(7)

wherep=polytropicefficiency.

Compressibilityfactory

TheperfectgasequationderivedfromCharlesandBoyleslawsmakesitpossibletodeterminetheweightofagivengasasdeterminedbytheequation

(/File%3AVol3_page_269_eq_001.PNG)................(8)

where

P = pressure,
V = volume,
N = numberofmoles,
R = constantforaspecificgas,
and
T = temperature.
Inreality,allgasesdeviatefromtheidealgaslawstosomedegree.Thisdeviationisdefinedasacompressibilityfactor,z,appliedasamultipliertothebasicformula.Therefore,Eq.
8ismodifiedtoincludethecompressibilityfactorasshownnext.

(/File%3AVol3_page_269_eq_002.PNG)................(9)

Floworcapacity

Compressorflow(capacity)canbespecifiedinthreeways:

Mass(weight)flow
Standardvolumeflow
Actual(inlet)volumeflow

Massorweightflow

Massflowisexpressedasmassperunitoftime,mostoftenpoundsmassperminute(lbm/min)orkilogramsperminute(kg/min).Massflowisaspecificvalueindependentofgas
propertiesandcompressorinletconditions.Massflowcanbespecifiedoneitherawet(watervaporincluded)ordrybasis.

Standardvolumeflow

Standardvolumeflowisthemostcommontermusedbytheindustrytodescribevolumetricflowbecauseitisindependentofactualgaspressuresortemperatures.Itisthevolume
perunitoftimeusingpressuresandtemperaturesthathavebeencorrectedto"standard"conditions.Theseconditionsapplytopressure,temperature,molecularweight,and
compressibility.Thestandardsmustbeknownandheldconstant.Forpurposesofthistext,thestandardconditionsusedare

pressure = 14.7psia,
temperature = 60F,
compressibility = 1.00,
and
molecularweight = MWofsubjectgas.

Standardvolumeflowisusuallydryandexpressedinmillionsofstandardcubicfeetperday(MMScf/D).

Actualinletvolumeflow

Actualvolumeflowisdefinedastheamountofvolumeperunitoftimeattheinlettothecompressor.Actualvolumeflowisnormallyexpressedinactualcubicfeetperminute
(ACFM)oractualcubicmetersperhour(m3/hr).Whengascompositionandpressureandtemperatureareknown,thespecificationofactualvolumeisappropriatebecausethe
fundamentalperformancecharacteristicofthecompressorissensitiveonlytoactualvolumeflowattheinlet.

MassflowcanbeconvertedtoactualvolumeflowwithEq.10.

(/File%3AVol3_page_269_eq_003.PNG)................(10)

where

W = massflow,lbm/min.,
R = universalgasconstant=1,545,
MW = molecularweight,
Ts = suctiontemperature,R,
zs = compressibilityatinlet,
and
Ps = absolutesuctionpressure,psia.

StandardvolumeflowcanbeconvertedtoactualvolumeflowwithEq.11.

(/File%3AVol3_page_270_eq_001.PNG)................(11)

whereQg=standardvolumeflow,MMscf/D.

Compressionratio

Compressionratio,Rc,issimplytheabsolutedischargepressuredividedbytheabsolutesuctionpressure.AsexpressedinEq.3,temperatureratioincreaseswithpressureratio.
Temperaturelimitsrelatedtothemechanicaldesignofcompressorsoftenwilldictatethemaximumpressureratiothatcanbeachievedinastageofcompression.(Refertosectionon
intercoolingbelow.)

Intercooling

Wherelargepressureratiosareneeded,splittingthecompressiondutyintooneormorestageswithintercoolingbetweenstagescanbethemostenergyefficientarrangement.The
energysavingsmustbecomparedwiththecapitalandmaintenanceinvestmentnecessarytoprovidethecooling.Inadditiontothethermodynamicbenefit,intercooledcompression
systemsresultinlowerdischargetemperatures,whichreducetheneedforspecialcompressormaterials.

Powerrequirement

Thetotalpowerrequirementofacompressorforagivendutyisthesumofthegaspowerandthefrictionpower.Thegaspowerisdirectlyproportionaltoheadandmassflowand
inverselyproportionaltoefficiency.Mechanicallossesinthebearingsand,toalesserextent,inthesealsaretheprimarysourceoffrictionpower.

Forcentrifugalcompressors,thegaspowercanbecalculatedas
(/File%3AVol3_page_270_eq_002.PNG)................(12)

where

GHP = gaspower,horsepower,
W = massflow,lbm/min.,
and
Hp = polytropichead,ftlbf/lbm.

Forreciprocatingcompressors,thegaspowercanbecalculatedas

(/File%3AVol3_page_270_eq_003.PNG)................(13)

where

P1 = inletpressure,psia,
V1 = inletvolume,ACFM,
P2 = dischargepressure,psia,
and
CE = compressionefficiency(assume0.85forestimatingpurposes).

Compressorselection

Properselectionofthecompressortypeandnumberofstagescanbeaccomplishedonlyafterconsideringanumberoffactors.(Forthepurposesofthischapter,discussionislimited
tocentrifugalvs.reciprocatingcompressors.)Basicinformationneededfortheproperselectionincludes:

Volumeandmassflowofgastobecompressed
Suctionpressure
Dischargepressure
Suctiontemperature
Gasspecificgravity
Availabletypesofdrivers

Therequiredvolumeflowanddischargepressuredefineapointonagraphicrepresentationofcompressorcoverage,asshowninFig.6.Examinationofthischartrevealsthat,in
general,centrifugalcompressorsareappropriateforhighflowapplications,andreciprocatingcompressorsarebettersuitedtolowflowrates.

(/File%3AVol3_Page_271_Image_0001.png)

Fig.6Compressorselection.Areasindicate
regionsofbestperformance(courtesyofDresser
Rand).

Numberofstagesofcompression

Usingthespecifiedoverallpressureratioandsuctiontemperature(andanassumedefficiency),thedischargetemperatureforcompressionofgaswithaknownkvalueinasingle
stagecanbeestimatedbyrewritingEq.7.

(/File%3AVol3_page_271_eq_001.PNG)................(14)

where

T2 = estimatedabsolutedischargetemperature,R,
T1 = specifiedabsolutesuctiontemperature,R,
P1 = specifiedabsolutesuctionpressure,psia,
P2 = specifiedabsolutedischargepressure,psia,
k = ratioofspecificheats,
p = assumedpolytropicefficiency,
0.72to0.85forcentrifugalcompressors,
and
1.00forreciprocatingcompressors.
Ifthesinglestagedischargetemperatureistoohigh(typicallimitis300to350F),itisnecessarytoconfigurethecompressionequipmentinmorethanonestage.Calculatingthe
compressionratioperstagewithEq.15doestheevaluationofamultistagedesign.

(/File%3AVol3_page_272_eq_001.PNG)................(15)

where

Rsect = compressionratiopersection,
and
n = numberofsections.

Usingthepreviousequationsandprudentassumptions,itispossibletodeterminetheminimumnumberofstagesrequiredtoaccomplishagivenoverallcompressionratiowithout
exceedingtemperaturelimits.

Nomenclature
k = Cp/Cv
Cp/Cv = ratioofspecificheats,dimensionless
n = polytropicexponent
His = isentropichead,ftlbf/lbm,
zavg = averagecompressibilityfactor,dimensionless,
Ts = suctiontemperature,R,
S = gasspecificgravity(standardatmosphericair=1.00),
Pd = dischargepressure,psia,
Ps = suctionpressure,psia
Hp = polytropichead,ftlbf/lbm,
p = polytropicefficiency
is = isentropicefficiency,
Ts = suctiontemperature,R,
Td = dischargetemperature(actualorpredicted),R,
k = ratioofspecificheats,Cp/Cv
p = polytropicefficiency
P = pressure,
V = volume,
N = numberofmoles,
R = constantforaspecificgas,
T = temperature
W = massflow,lbm/min.,
R = universalgasconstant=1,545,
MW = molecularweight,
Ts = suctiontemperature,R,
zs = compressibilityatinlet,
Ps = absolutesuctionpressure,psia
Qg = standardvolumeflow,MMscf/D
GHP = gaspower,horsepower,
W = massflow,lbm/min.,
Hp = polytropichead,ftlbf/lbm
P1 = inletpressure,psia,
V1 = inletvolume,ACFM,
P2 = dischargepressure,psia,
CE = compressionefficiency(assume0.85forestimatingpurposes)
T2 = estimatedabsolutedischargetemperature,R,
T1 = specifiedabsolutesuctiontemperature,R,
P1 = specifiedabsolutesuctionpressure,psia,
P2 = specifiedabsolutedischargepressure,psia,
k = ratioofspecificheats,
p = assumedpolytropicefficiency,
0.72to0.85forcentrifugalcompressors,
and
1.00forreciprocatingcompressors
Rsect = compressionratiopersection,
n = numberofsections

References
Usethissectionforcitationofitemsreferencedinthetexttoshowyoursources.[Thesourcesshouldbeavailabletothereader,i.e.,notaninternalcompanydocument.]

NoteworthypapersinOnePetro
UsethissectiontolistpapersinOnePetrothatareaderwhowantstolearnmoreshoulddefinitelyread

Externallinks
UsethissectiontoprovidelinkstorelevantmaterialonwebsitesotherthanPetroWikiandOnePetro

Seealso
PEH:Compressors(/PEH%3ACompressors)

Centrifugalcompressor(/Centrifugal_compressor)

Reciprocatingcompressor(/Reciprocating_compressor)

Rotarypositivedisplacementcompressors(/Rotary_positive_displacement_compressors)

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