GE (NYSE:GE) today announced its smallest, lightest compressor yet. The high pressure ratio compressor (HPRC) requires fewer units per train, significantly reducing overall footprint. These combined innovations mean reduced shipping weight, easier installation, minimized footprint, lower power consumption, increased reliability and reduced operating costs.
High pressure ratio compression is a new technology which leverages GE Aviation aerodynamic experience, applied to GE’s BCL compressors line. GE is also planning to apply it to MCL and ICL compressors.
Applicable to many gas processes, it is well-suited to both low and medium molecular weight mixtures. The most significant benefits can be realized for natural gas, both on and offshore.
“The high pressure ratio compressor will have a major impact on our customers”, said Luca Maria Rossi, General Manager Product Management, Turbomachinery Solutions, GE Oil & Gas. “Five years in the making, it will help our customers across a number of important metrics: delivering a train footprint which is up to 50% smaller, 30% lighter and with 5% less installed power compared to traditional compression trains”.
HPRC’s technology is based on an innovative architecture which combines shrouded and unshrouded impellers on a single, high-speed shaft, achieving higher efficiency than any other available technology thanks to full 3D aerodynamic profiles derived by aircraft engine. Applications which would have required multiple compressor bodies will now require only one with GE’s HPRC, as the compressors have an increased head per stage, with a shorter bearing span, which reduces the number of compressor casings required. Individual HPRC units are already smaller and lighter than traditional compressors, and the elimination of units per train is another key improvement in overall plant footprint, reliability, availability and weight.
It has completed a dedicated test bench process, including successful rotor testing at up to 19,000 RPM. A full-scale prototype has been built, which will be continually tested to meet customer requirements. The new technology is available for GE Oil & Gas’ customers and will be manufactured at the GE Oil & Gas state-of-the-art facility in Florence (Italy).