MAN turbo and SKF take gas storage facility to next level

The problem

A natural gas storage facility had MAN Turbo install a hermetically sealed “HOFIM” type electric compressor on the first of three underground salt cavity storage caverns. For the two remaining caverns, the facility sought to upgrade its processing power with about 60 GWh/d of deliverability and 60 GWh/d of injectability. The upgrade would require an electric compressor that could meet the increased power demands while providing the same operating demands as the first compressor. Because the site was close to farms and populated areas, the new compressor had to operate with low noise, no emissions and no risk of oil leaks.

The solution

MAN Turbo designers settled on an oil-free bearing solution, magnetic bearings from SKF, and worked closely with SKF to develop a new next-generation compressor. With a maximum power of 14,5 MW, the RB45 version of the Tandem HOFIM sealed compressor is MAN Turbo’s most powerful sealed compressor to date.

The Results

Since its installation, the RB45 has delivered all the additional power and flexibility required, as well as a range of benefits conventional gas-driven compressors cannot:
  • Short start-ups and more frequent starts expand operational possibilities
  • Variable speed operation provides maximum flexibility and efficiency
  • Hermetically sealed design eliminates the need for seals, thus reducing failure rates, gas leaks, and maintenance cost
  • Magnetic SKF bearings offer wear-free operation and eliminate the need for a complex lube oil system
  • No external motor allows a much smaller design footprint
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