Dresser-Rand Company (DRC), a subsidiary of Dresser-Rand Group Inc. (Dresser-Rand) and supplier of rotating equipment solutions, has entered into a ‘definitive agreement’ with Tarrytown, New York based technology company Expansion Energy LLC, whereby Dresser-Rand is granted a worldwide exclusive (for capacities up to 100,000 gallons per day) license to Expansion Energy’s proprietary VX™ Cycle technology for the small-scale production of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). Downstream applications include the production of vehicle-grade LNG, allowing LNG to compete effectively with diesel fuel on a cost-per-energy-content (BTU) basis.
Under the agreement, Dresser-Rand will design, package and sell equipment embodying the VX Cycle production technology including Dresser-Rand reciprocating compressors and Guascor engine-generator sets, and associated control systems. The technology is scalable to the tens of thousands of gallons per day, producing either LNG or CCNG (Cold Compressed Natural Gas) and will be designed in numerous skid-mounted, mobile trailer-mounted and/or stationary modular configurations to suit its clients’ requirements.
According to Brad Dickson, Dresser-Rand’s Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, “In our on-going evaluation of technologies to complete the value chain for the burgeoning shale markets, as well as solutions for addressing global natural gas flaring and the rapidly expanding markets for LNG vehicle fueling, Expansion Energy’s LNG production process met all of the requirements we identified and embodies technology that we can bring to the market quickly. We already have several clients anxious to take multiple units to fuel their fleet operations.”
Dresser-Rand believes that the patented VX Cycle is the first technology to provide a cost-effective small-scale (1,500 to 100,000+ gallons per day) LNG production process. The mobile, skid mounted equipment configuration for this process technology opens up a wide variety of applications in markets currently underserved or not served at all. Upstream applications include: the monetization of flared gas or associated gas to increase revenues for oil companies and reduce their environmental impact, the production of stranded natural gas fields which are not close to existing pipeline infrastructure, and on-site fuel supply for drilling rigs converted to run on LNG. Downstream applications include the production of vehicle-grade LNG, the use of which is increasing rapidly for long-haul trucks; delivery fleets; buses; ships, barges and ferries; railroad locomotives; and construction and mining equipment.
The VX Cycle enables the “distributed” production of LNG with small-scale plants, as the technology can utilize natural gas from virtually any high- or low-pressure pipeline or distribution line, or from stranded wells. As such, it eliminates the need for the costly trucking of LNG long distances from large, centralized plants to LNG fueling depots, as is the practice today. Instead, LNG can be produced right at the fueling station or at the wellhead.
The technology can also be used to upgrade existing CNG stations to produce LNG and/or a colder, denser CNG product (density approx. 80% of LNG) with a higher BTU density versus standard CNG.
Driven by rapidly expanding global shale gas development, Dresser-Rand predicts the market for small-scale LNG production plants is in the thousands of units and growing. The United States is the most rapidly growing market and the substantial price disparity between diesel fuel and low priced natural gas has oil-field service operators, oil and gas companies, shipping and delivery companies, and downstream fuel distributors/marketers across the country converting drilling rigs, transportation fleets, and retail fueling stations along the United States interstate highway system to LNG fuel. Benefits for heavy-duty engines to use LNG include lower fuel costs, improved air quality and reduced emissions to meet ever-more stringent environmental regulations.
Dresser-Wayne describes LNG as critical for the long-haul, heavy-duty truck market, and says the deployment of its technology will be a major step forward in building out the substantial infrastructure required to make LNG fuels widely available and cost-effective.
(This article compiled using information from a Dresser-Wayne press release)