Objectives and problems to be solved: Oil transportation companies are experiencing a need to increase their efficiency and transport capabilities. It has been shown that the frictional pressure drops or drags, responsible for energy losses and limiting the throughput of oil pipelines, can be significantly reduced by injecting long-chain polymers (the so called flow improvers). However, the technique is not widely used by oil-pipeline companies because of the lack of design and operation knowledge at industrial scale. The main objective of the project is to reduce the energy consumption and to increase the transport capabilities of oil pipeline networks by developing the techniques required to use long-chain polymers as Drag Reducing Agent (DRA) in European oil pipeline networks. Description of work: The research activity starts with experimental studies of the effect on oil product characteristics when high DRA rates are added. This task also includes the laboratory tests and analysis necessary to determine how long-chain polymers can be broken and the study of the effect on internal combustion engine and others parts of the vehicle. In parallel, large-scale experimental studies of the efficiency of long chain polymers on pipeline oil transportation systems with low DRA rates are carried out (oil products properties are not affected with these low rates). Different pipe diameters, polymer concentration and products are taken into account. At conclusion of this task, the same experimental studies are done with higher DRA rates. The data obtained serves as a basis for obtaining a model of how the polymers behave and how the injection rate affects the operation. Once the model is developed, a methodology for the use of polymers is established, considering specific instrumentation and computer aided design programs to establish the optimum design parameters regarding number of injection points and quantities to be injected and the optimal way of operating the pipelines. Expected results and exploitation plans: The expected results of the project are computer programmes for designing and optimal operation of oil pipelines using DRA as well as an assessment of the benefits obtained by the technique. The expected results in the installations are a reduction of more than 25 % in the energy required for ton-km of the base products and an increase in the capacity of more than 30 % in terms of ton-chem. reduction of the oil transport cost will imply a reduction of the price of energy and this will contribute towards the competitiveness of the oil pipeline partners and of Europe and on employment prospects in general. The increasing transport capabilities that can be obtained with this technology could make other transport solutions, mainly truck fleet, become only marginal. An important social benefit can be obtained combating the saturated European road and highway system. The results will be exploited by the two end-users in their own pipelines and also by selling the developed software to other companies.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
TS17 BJ Stockton-on-tees