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February 6, 2013

Shell captures CO2 with MAN integrally-geared centrifugal compressor

Gerald Ondrey

MAN Diesel & Turbo (MDT; Berlin, Germany; is providing the compressor technology for Shell Canada’s Quest Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Project, located in Alberta, Canada. Quest will be the world’s first commercial-scale CCS project to tackle carbon emissions in an oil sand operation. Quest will capture more than one million metric tons (m.t.) per year of CO2 from its Scotford Upgrader and permanently store it deep underground at an injection site north of the facility. Quest will begin injecting CO2 underground in 2015. Shell ordered an RG-type integrally-geared centrifugal compressor from MDT for delivery in 2013.

“Having won the order for engineering in 2011, the supply contract has now been signed”, says bid manager Christof Hüls. MDT Berlin will construct and hand over this type RG90-8 frame size for the first time. Four pinions are engaged with a different gear ratio, thus leading to diverse rotating speeds. Each pinion mounts two impellers in a back-to-back arrangement. They are compressing the CO2 in eight stages to a discharge pressure of 130 bars. This integrally geared centrifugal compressor handles 80,000 m3/h of CO2. It will be constructed of familiar components that have proved reliable in different frame sizes over many years.

The discharge pressure of 130 bars is sufficient to send the compressed CO2 about 60 km via an underground pipeline to a wellhead, as well as injecting the dense-phase CO2 2.3 km below the surface into a saline rock formation for permanent storage.

The CCS technology is regarded as important technology to help combat climate change by many industrial countries and can be applied broadly across a number of industrial applications including gas and coal-fired power plants. “MAN Diesel & Turbo is gaining further experience and competence in this area through Shell’s order”, says Ulrich Mudrack, head of the Refineries and Hydrocarbon Processing department of MDT in Berlin.

Early investments by MDT in research into CO2 applications with integrally- geared centrifugal compressors are now paying off. Already in 1999, MDT’s Berlin site delivered two RG high-pressure compressors to the Dakota Gasification Corp. These compressors have been in service to deliver CO2 for the production of synthetic gas from coal in North Dakota since the turn of the century (see “SNG déjà vu,” Chem. Eng., August 2010;

“Our long-term experience and the proven reliability of our integrally-geared centrifugal compressors for use with CO2 have become an important reference attracting international attention”, reports Christof Hüls. Ulrich Mudrack adds: “Including Shell’s Quest project all our global orders for CO2 compression for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) have been won in the last 18 months. This means we are steadily consolidating our technology leadership position.”


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