Our radial expansion turbines, or turboexpanders, are used in many different applications with myriad design conditions. Common applications include natural gas processing, petrochemical processing, air separation, pressure letdown, waste heat recovery, geothermal power generation, cryogenic refrigeration, dew point control and simulation of high altitude atmospheric conditions for turbine engine test cells.
We have installed turboexpanders around the globe, in every environment, both onshore and off, from small units under 100 horsepower up to large units rated at 25000 horsepower. We pride ourselves on our ability to design custom turbomachines engineered to meet the most rigorous specifications while operating under the harshest of conditions. Our sealing, automatic thrust balancing and inlet guide vane designs are robust, providing you with high performance, trouble free operation for decades. Using the latest technology, such as computational fluid dynamics, vibration analysis, stress analysis and other computer simulation software, along with our extensive experience, we are able to design the world’s best turboexpanders to perform well over a wide range of operating conditions. Our state of the art, ISO 9001 certified facilities allow us to design, manufacture and test each turboexpander under one roof, ensuring nothing is lost in translation between design and the finished product. Receiving your new fully-tested turboexpander is only the beginning, our worldwide field service division has engineers and technicians ready to assist with every aspect of keeping your turboexpander running efficiently, including commissioning, maintenance and emergency repairs. When you choose to purchase a turboexpander from Turboexpanders.com, you aren’t just getting a turboexpander, you’re also getting our commitment to quality and support for the life of the plant.
Typically used for cryogenic refrigeration purposes in hydrocarbon processing or air separation, the power generated by the expander is transferred directly to the compressor, less the almost negligible bearing losses. Not only does the expander increase the temperature drop for a given pressure drop by expanding the gas almost isentropically instead of isenthalpically, but it also recovers the energy that would otherwise be lost in the expansion of the gas and uses it to reduce the additional power required to compress gas at some other point in the process.
This is the most versatile configuration, as it can be used wherever there is significant pressure drop and flow to generate electricity which can either be used to drive other equipment or sent to the grid. While it can be used for refrigeration instead of the expander-compressor configuration, this configuration is the obvious choice for geothermal power generation and waste heat recovery applications. Expander-generators are available in direct drive or gear reduction configurations.
Used when the near isentropic expansion across an expander is desired over the isenthalpic drop across a Joule-Thompson valve or other throttling device, but the amount of energy produced by the expander is not sufficient to justify the additional cost of recovering it with a generator or compressor. Common brakes include oil brakes (dynamometers) and air brakes (blowers/fans).
Sometimes the energy necessary to compress the process gas cannot be generated by the expander alone, and the expander is mounted on a shaft with a compressor as well as another prime mover, such as an electric motor or another turbine. This configuration is similar to the expander-compressor configuration, in that it is a near isenthalpic process and uses the recovered power to help compress gas at another point in the process.
Magnetic vs Oil Bearings
Oil bearings work well for most applications, however, as we specialize in delivering custom engineered turboexpanders to meet each client’s unique needs, we have extensive experience building magnetic bearing units as well. While our sealing system keeps lubrication oil out of the process gas, when the consequences of contamination are severe enough, magnetic bearings can be used to eliminate the risk of contamination entirely in case of seal gas supply or mechanical problems. Other reasons to consider magnetic bearings include smaller skid size due to elimination of the lube oil system, lower bearing friction, improved vibration control and monitoring and reduced maintenance requirements.
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at +1-805-352-9093 to find out how a turboexpander engineered for your specific needs can increase your productivity.