Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Oil and Gas Applications

Analysis of the Effects of Pulsations on the Operational Stability of Centrifugal Compressors in Mixed Reciprocating and Centrifugal Compressor Stations

[+] Author and Article Information
Klaus Brun

Southwest Research Institute, Mechanical and Materials Engineering Division, P.O. Drawer 28510, San Antonio, TX 78228-0510kbrun@swri.org

Rainer Kurz

 Solar Turbines, Inc., 9330 Sky Park Court, San Diego, CA 92123-5398kurz_rainer_x@solarturbines.com

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 132(7), 072402 (Apr 21, 2010) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4000299 History: Received June 10, 2009; Revised July 14, 2009; Published April 21, 2010; Online April 21, 2010

Mixed operation with both centrifugal and reciprocating compressors in a compression plant poses significant operational challenges as pressure pulsations and machine mismatches lead to centrifugal compressors’ instabilities or poor performance. Arrangements with reciprocating compressors placed in series with centrifugal compressors generally lead to higher suction/discharge pulsations on the centrifugal compressor than conventional parallel operation. This paper demonstrates that by properly analyzing and designing the interconnecting piping between the compressors, utilizing pulsation attenuation devices, and matching the compressors’ volumetric-flow rates, a satisfactory functional compression system design can be achieved for even the worst cases of mixed centrifugal and reciprocating compressor operation. However, even small analysis errors, design deviations, or machine mismatches result in a severely limited (or even inoperable) compression system. Also, pulsation attenuation often leads to a significant pressure loss in the interconnect piping system. Utilizing analysis tools in the design process that can accurately model the transient fluid dynamics of the piping system, the pulsation attenuation devices, and the compressor machine behaviors is critical to avoid potentially costly design mistakes and minimize pressured losses. This paper presents the methodology and examples of such an analysis using a 1D transient Navier–Stokes code for complex compression piping networks. The code development, application, and example results for a set of mixed operational cases are discussed. This code serves as a design tool to avoid critical piping layout and compressor matching mistakes early in the compressor station design process.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Pulsation transmission in centrifugal compressors (17)

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Figure 2

Typical compressor map for boundary condition

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Figure 3

Lax–Wendroff discretization

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Figure 4

Branching node intersection (2 inlets/1 outlets)

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Figure 5

Branching node intersection (1 inlet/2 outlets)

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Figure 6

Graphical user interface for solver

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Figure 7

Case 1—reciprocating compressor upstream of centrifugal compressor

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Figure 8

Case 2—reciprocating compressor upstream of centrifugal compressor with orifice plate

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Figure 9

Case 3—reciprocating compressor upstream of centrifugal compressor with bottle, choke tube, and orifice plate

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Figure 10

Reciprocating compressor power required

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Figure 11

Case 2—centrifugal compressor inlet velocity versus time

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Figure 12

Case 1—centrifugal compressor inlet pressure fluctuation versus frequency

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Figure 13

Case 2—centrifugal compressor inlet pressure fluctuation versus frequency

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Figure 14

Case 3—centrifugal compressor inlet pressure fluctuation versus frequency

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Figure 15

Cases 1, 2, and 3 pulsation spectrum

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Figure 16

Operating range of centrifugal compressor due to inlet pulsations



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