Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Impact of drag reducing agent on energy saving of oil pipelines

The amount of energy required for oil transportation is considerable and affects the price of energy. Furthermore, oil companies are experiencing a need for increasing their efficiency and transport capabilities. It has been shown that the frictional pressure drops or drags, responsible of energy losses and of limiting the throughput of oil pipelines, can be significantly reduced by injecting these long-chain polymers.

Results of energy saving will also help reducing CO2 and others emissions. The accordance with the European environmental policies is thus clear as an agreement was reached in March 1997 at a meeting of the Ministers of the Environment of the EU on a 15% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2010 with reference to the 1990 level.

The energy saving can be studied from two different points of view:
- Considering no increase in transport capacity (neither by pipelines nor by trucks). The current capacity is transported with or without additives, being the energy saving just the difference spent in energy consumption in pumps in both cases.

- Considering that the quantities transported in pipelines are not increased and the surplus continues being transported by trains and trucks: in this case the energy saving is the difference between the energy needed to transport the current limit of ton-km by pipeline without additive (Drag Reducing Agent - DRA), completed with trucks transportation and the energy needed to transport the total ton-km by pipelines when using DRA.

Both scenarios give figures in the rate of energy saving between 3000 and 11000GWh, depending on the addtive concentration and calculated for a total fuel traffic figure of 107E+9 ton km (adapted from Concawe, 2002 considering an average density of 0,8500kg/l).

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