Southwest Research Institute is currently the home of a reciprocating compressor flow loop that is capable of recreating real-life gas pipeline pressures, temperatures and horsepower levels. The flow loop is one of only a handful of its kind available for industry research, development and testing and will play a central role in an ongoing SwRI project to reduce methane emissions.
The new reciprocating compressor flow loop at SwRI operates an Ariel JGT/4 compressor at pressures up to 1000 psi and up to 700 horsepower and will be used for testing new technology as well as existing compressor components for performance in the field.
Potential future uses for the facility include compressor valve testing, advanced pulsation control, lubrication optimization for reciprocating compressors and drivetrain dynamic studies.
SwRI researchers are using the new flow loop to measure leakage from compressor rod packing as part of a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) project to quantify methane emissions nationwide.
Using the new flow loop, SwRI will document rod packing leakage at a variety of pressure and speed conditions. The DOE project is already underway and is expected to be completed by mid-2020.