Onboard Dynamics Creates Solution to Minimize Methane Releases During Natural Gas Pipeline Evacuation

June 08, 2022

Onboard Dynamics Creates Solution to Minimize Methane Releases During Natural Gas Pipeline Evacuation

Onboard Dynamics supports their customers in reducing global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions safely and reliably through innovative and practical commercial solutions. Their patented compression-based systems minimize methane and other GHG releases during pipeline operations and maintenance, mitigate GHG emissions from transportation vehicles, and capture methane that would otherwise be released to the atmosphere from other industrial operations. Their customers receive expanded environmental benefits and reduction in costs through purchasing, leasing, and/or receiving turn-key services from their natural gas-powered products.

Onboard Dynamics was founded in 2013 originally spun out from a natural gas compression technology that originated at Oregon State University. They received funding from the DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPAE) to help increase the adoption of natural gas as a transportation fuel in the US. Their first product to market, the GoFLO ® CNG80, addresses the critical lack of infrastructure needed to refuel natural gas fleets and are deployed across the US.

Less than two years ago, one of their major natural gas utility customers wanted to use their mobile CNG compressor technology for a pipeline evacuation project. The successful execution led to the development and launch of their most recent product – the GoVACTM FLEX which is designed to capture and recover methane during natural gas pipeline evacuation.

So how does the technology work? The system is built on an integrated V-8 combustion- compression engine platform where one side is used for combustion to power the system and the other side performs the compression. The system accepts inlet pressures up to 1200 PSI and outlet pressures are based on what you are compressing into with a maximum of 3600 PSI. This is a fully automated system with temperature and pressure sensors, electronic valves, and a flow meter that continuously measures how much gas is being captured and recovered. The control system communicates up to the cloud which enables remote system monitoring and provides all the data necessary to generate the reports required by their customers.

In the system, there are four stages of compression that are taking place which are being cooled between each stage. The first two stages utilize flat plate heat exchangers, and the last two stages are of the tube-and-canister type. There are two cooling circuits for the system. One circuit is dedicated to the engine which allows it to run hotter, and the other circuit is used for the head and the cooling equipment. Where the partnership with American CNG comes in is illustrated in the two tanks (or cylinders) installed in the system. Finding a reliable partner in American CNG, Onboard Dynamics was able to acquire these critical components needed to complete their system. The two cylinders are used for two different purposes – one is for the blowdown function and the other is to provide fuel. The blowdown cylinder is used for the final compression portion of a job. When the compression cycle is stopped, the pressure is taken out of the compressor head and put into this tank. The blowdown tank is then used at the beginning of the next compression cycle and emptied so there is no emission of methane to the atmosphere. It is all contained inside the system. The other cylinder (the fuel tank) is used to power their engine. It is kept at a minimum of 1000 psi so that there is always enough natural gas onboard to enable continuous operation during the entire evacuation process.

Onboard Dynamics’ products and services allow their customers to adopt best practices for performing evacuations of natural gas during pipeline operations, recovering methane from a variety of sources, and transportation refueling of natural gas fleet vehicles. Interested in learning more about Onboard Dynamics unique, patented, natural gas compression technology for driving down emissions?? Contact them here: https://onboarddynamics.com/




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