Offshore oil and gas platforms require prime movers to drive compressors, pumps and generators. Platforms have traditionally used gas turbines for compressors and pumps and gas turbines coupled to low-speed (1,800/3,600RPM) induction generators with gearboxes for electricity.
However, since the mid 1990s, the use of electric equipment on platforms has become favored. Companies are switching to electrically driven pumps and compressors on platforms largely due to the reliability and lower initial costs of electric motors compared to gas turbines, and also because they offer higher efficiency, lower emissions, less vibration, less maintenance downtime, lower maintenance cost and a wider operating range.
Advantages of Direct Drive Systems® Permanent Magnet Machines
Our high-speed, permanent magnet (PM) motors and generators, which are approximately 10 to 20 percent of the weight and size of conventional electric motors and generators, could save operators tens of millions of dollars in platform construction, equipment installation and running costs over conventional electric machines. In addition, our high-speed, PM motors and generators run at 10-20 percent higher efficiencies and do not require a gearbox. Maintenance is also significantly reduced.
Another unique application for Direct Drive Systems is operating life extensions for offshore platforms. Because our high-speed, PM motors are much smaller than conventional motors, they can be coupled to compressor units and installed on existing platforms to provide several more years of operating life. This can provide tens of millions of dollars of additional revenue along with a very favorable payback period for operators.
Disadvantages of Conventional Electric Solutions
The size, weight and maintenance of conventional electric generators are significant cost factors for offshore platforms, particularly in deeper waters. The electric generators used are large, heavy, and inefficient compared to the high-speed solution offered by our PM motors and generators.