Electric Motor Drive Equipment for Natural Gas CompressorsGMRC Application Guideline, Release Version 4.0Page 1 of 79
Application Guideline for Electric Motor Drive Equipment forNatural Gas Compressors
The following guideline addresses the need for practical guidance on electric motor drives for gascompressors. The guideline is directed to issues which are not addressed in detail by the existing Instituteof Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) electric motor standards or American Petroleum Institute(API) compressor standards. The guideline does not discuss specific electric motor designs because theintent was not to specify how motors should be designed as design standards already exist. The authorsintended the following document to be used to educate the users of gas compression equipment who needto know how to specify the electric motor drive system and assure that the system design can support thepower and speed range for the application.In the last ten years, electric motor driven compression has become more common in the natural gasindustry. Many of the components of an electric motor drive system have undergone technologicalchanges to meet the needs of gas compressor applications. While many electric drive systems arecurrently operating successfully, electric motor technologies, variable frequency drives, variable speedgear systems and advanced bearing technologies are still evolving to provide a more efficient drivesystem with a larger and more flexible operating envelope. This guideline focuses on the mainstreamelectric motor technology currently employed for gas compressor applications.Among the most challenging issues for electric driven gas compression are system start-up and method of meeting capacity demands of the pipeline through speed variation. This guideline addresses these issuesby providing a description of the various drive train configurations available for variable speed, and themultiple starting methods available to the operator. The important parameters involved in assessing themotor power and torque curves for the gas compressor operation are also covered. Other influential drivetrain components (bearings, couplings, and shaft design) are discussed. In some areas, it is appropriate torefer the reader to the relevant standards which cover some of these topics more extensively. Theguideline also provides guidance on factors affecting motor performance in terms of life, maintenance,reliability and efficiency.In Appendix A-1, basic electric motor definitions and formulas are provided as a reference. The appendixalso provides a checklist of the common issues that should be reviewed when designing an electric motordriven compressor station.