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Best Practice

SABP-A-002
Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps and Compressors
Document Responsibility: Energy Systems Unit, P&CSD

12 March 2011

Load Management for Energy Efficiency:


Pumps and Compressors

Developed by: Energy Systems Unit


Process & Control Systems Department

Previous Issue: 26 October 2005 Next Planned Update: TBD


Revised paragraphs are indicated in the right margin
Primary contact: Qahtani, Ali Hussain on 966-3-8746157
CopyrightSaudi Aramco 2011. All rights reserved.

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SABP-A-002
Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

Table of Contents
Page
1

Introduction
1.1
Purpose
1.2
Scope
1.3
Intended Users
1.4
References and Related Documents

5
5
5
5
5

General
2.1
Definitions
2.2
Principles and Concepts
2.3
Degrees of Freedom
2.4
Affinity Laws
2.5
Drivers
2.6
Data Quality

6
6
6
7
8
8
9

Pump Networks
3.1
Flow Profile
3.2
Number of Operating Trains
3.3
Recycle Minimization
3.4
Best Efficiency Point
3.5
Load Allocation by Efficiency
3.6
Composite Characteristic Curves
3.7
System Curve
3.8
Controls and Instrumentation

16
17
19
28
33
34
35
39
42

Compressor Networks
4.1
Thermodynamics of Gas Compression
4.2
Performance and System Curves
4.3
Control Strategies
4.4
Process Modifications

43
44
48
48
53

ATTACHMENTS
none

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SABP-A-002
Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

LIST OF EXHIBITS
Exh. No

Title

Page

2.1
2.2
2.3
2.4
2.5
2.6
2.7

The Affinity Laws


Simplified Schematic of CDU in an Oil Refinery
Raw PI Data for Crude Oil Flow rates
Calculated Yield Trends for Crude Oil Product
Schematic Diagram of Butane Vapor Recovery System
Measured PI Data for Butane Vapor Recovery System
Schematic Diagram of Oil Storage and Loading Facility

8
10
11
12
13
13
15

3.1
3.2
3.3
3.4
3.5
3.6
3.7
3.8
3.9
3.10
3.11
3.12
3.13
3.14
3.15
3.16
3.17
3.18
3.19
3.20
3.21
3.22
3.23
3.24
3.25
3.26
3.27
3.28

Typical Pump Network and Control System


Fluid Flow Historical Data (sample)
Fluid Flow Profile Histogram
Determination of Ideal Trigger Points for Pump Switching
Ideal Operating Policy for AM Shipper Pumps
Indicative Relationship between Trigger Point and Reliability
Basic Pump Data
Pump Operating Status and Flow Data
Estimating Power Savings from Minimizing No of Operating Trains
Actual Pump Trains in Operation versus Minimum Required
Power Cost Savings Potential vs Trigger Point
Impact of Sampling Interval on Calculated Savings
Typical Pump Control System
Typical Variation of Power Consumption with Flow Rate
Power Savings Potential from Minimizing Recycle
Inferring Recycle Requirements from Flow Profile
Estimating Power savings from Minimizing Recycle
Operation at Best Efficiency Point vs Minimizing Pump Trains
Operation at Best Efficiency Point vs Minimizing Recycle
Load Allocation by Equipment Efficiency
Generic Network of 3 Pumps in Series/Parallel
Characteristic Curves for Individual Pumps
Correlation of Pump Characteristic Curve Data
Composite Characteristic Curve for Pumps in Series
Composite Characteristic Curve Data for Pumps in Series/Parallel
Composite Characteristic Curves for Entire Network
Schematic Diagram of Simple Pumping System
System Data at Design Conditions

16
17
18
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
36
37
37
38
38
39
41

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SABP-A-002
Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

3.29
3.30
3.31

Static and Dynamic Heads at Design and Maximum Flow


System and Characteristic Curves
Recommended Control Philosophy for Parallel Pump Trains

41
42
43

4.1
4.2
4.3
4.4
4.5
4.6
4.7
4.8
4.9
4.10

Typical Data for Centrifugal Compressors


Typical Centrifugal Compressor Operating Curves
Compressor Performance with Variable-Speed Drive
Suction Throttling Control of Fixed-speed Parallel Compressors
Proportional Loading of Parallel Compressors with ASDs
Control of Parallel Compressors (One ASD and Rest Fixed Speed)
Power Consumption for Suction vs Discharge Throttling
Process Modifications to Reduce Compressor Load
Power Conservation by Minimizing Compressor Discharge Pressure
Shedding Fan Load vs Minimizing Compression Ratio

47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
56
57

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SABP-A-002
Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

Introduction
1.1

Purpose
Large industrial plants commonly use multiple parallel equipment trains for
improved reliability. Very often, installed equipment capacity far exceeds
normal production requirements. This excess capacity can be translated into
energy cost savings through optimum load management. The purpose of this
Best Practice is to describe ways in which energy efficiency improvement can
be achieved for different kinds of equipment.

1.2

Scope
Many types of equipment commonly used in Saudi Aramco plants are
significant energy consumers and amenable to operational optimization through
Load Management, including:

Pumps

Compressors

Fired Heaters (furnaces)

Boilers fired and unfired

Process Coolers air, water, refrigerant

Steam turbines

Gas turbines

This Best Practice manual focuses on methods to determine the optimum load
management policies for pumps and compressors only. The rest are covered in
other complementary Best Practice manuals.
1.3

Intended Users
This Best Practice manual is intended for use by the engineers working in Saudi
Aramco plants, who are responsible for efficient operation of their facility.

1.4

References and Related Documents


Saudi Aramco References
Saudi Aramco Engineering Procedure
SAEP-14

Project Proposal Requirements

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SABP-A-002
Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

Saudi Aramco Engineering Standards


SAES-G-005

Centrifugal Pumps

SAES-K-402

Centrifugal Compressors

Saudi Aramco Engineering Report


SAER-5968

Detailed Energy Assessment at Safaniya Onshore


Plants, TIC Library, Dhahran (January 2005)

Electrical Power Savings in Pump and Compressor Networks Via Load


Management, Proc of 27th National Industrial Energy Technology
Conference, New Orleans, La, USA (May 2005)
No conflict is expected between the optimum load management policy and other
standard Saudi Aramco operating practices with respect to reliability, safety, etc.
2

General
2.1

Definitions
Best Practice: A process or method that, when correctly executed, leads to
enhanced system performance.
Load Management: An operating policy that distributes the load among
multiple machines or equipment installed as series-parallel networks in a way
that minimizes their energy (fuel + power) consumption, without compromising
safety or reliability.

2.2

Principles and Concepts


The first priority in any energy conservation program should be to capture the
Easy Pickings, that is, energy cost savings that can be achieved with little or
no investment. Managing the load on various items of energy-consuming
equipment falls into this category. The fundamental concept is to extract some
operating cost savings in the form of reduced energy consumption from the
capital that has already been invested in equipment assets, but is not being
utilized for production capacity. The objective is to operate the equipment at the
lowest total cost while still meeting the process objective.
Several general principles and strategies apply in all cases:

Minimize number of machines being operated in parallel

Reduce the rate at which individual machines are being run, through
minimizing recycle flows

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SABP-A-002
Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

Operate equipment at conditions that will maximize the system efficiency of


the network, even if it means that individual items are operating away from
their maximum efficiency points

Assign maximum duty to the most efficient equipment (in a parallel set), and
use the least efficient equipment as the swing machine

It must be recognized, though, that there is always a trade-off. The fewer the
number of parallel machines that are running at any given time, the less
redundancy there will be, with consequent loss of some operating flexibility.
The analysis procedure outlined in this manual will help establish the
quantitative relationship between operating flexibility and energy costs, thereby
enabling the operating engineers and foremen to jointly make intelligent choices
about what the optimum operating policy should be.
2.3

Degrees of Freedom
Optimization implies that one has multiple choices to accomplish the desired
objective, and the only problem remaining is to choose the best option.
The range of options available is limited by constraints which can be either
hard or soft. A hard constraint is one which we cannot or are unprepared to
violate at any cost e.g., the laws of physics, market realities, or the directives
of upper management. A soft constraint is one that we have imposed on
ourselves, and which could be relaxed at our discretion upon penalty of
incurring some additional costs elsewhere. An example of a soft constraint is
the requirement for redundancy in installed equipment in order to increase the
level of operator comfort. It follows that the range of available options can be
increased by relaxing soft constraints, and by finding some other way to
alleviate the problem that the constraint was intended to prevent/mitigate.
The range of options can be increased by introducing new Degrees of Freedom,
which are parameters or design features over which one has some control.
For example, in an existing pumping network, one can increase the range of
options available for optimizing operating policies by adding inter-connective
piping (e.g., headers) between parallel trains, retrofitting fixed speed motors
with variable frequency drives, etc.
Basically, one must keep an open mind. Think out-of-the-box. Do not accept
the existing plant configuration as inviolate; try to think of the ideal solution,
and then systematically add features to the existing design that will help to reach
that ideal solution. Learn to recognize the difference between hard and soft
constraints.

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2.4

SABP-A-002
Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

Affinity Laws
Sometimes it is necessary to determine the performance of an existing pump or
compressor for a different impeller diameter or speed. The pump performance
at off-design conditions can be estimated using what are known as the Affinity
Laws, sometimes also called the Fan Laws, as summarized in Exhibit 2-1.
Exhibit 2-1: The Affinity Laws
Constant Impeller Diameter

Constant Impeller Speed

Capacity

Q1 N1

Q2 N 2

Q1 D1

Q2 D 2

Head

H1 N1

H 2 N 2

Horsepower

BHP1 N1

BHP2 N 2

2.5

H1 D1

H 2 D2
3

BHP1 D1

BHP2 D2

Drivers
Pumps and compressors are usually driven by electric motors, but not always.
Sometimes the motive power is provided by steam turbines (usually in the
500-10,000 HP range) or by gas turbines (usually >10,000 HP).
Electric motors generally operate at fixed speeds. For 60 Hz power supply,
these are usually around 1200, 1800, or 3600 rpm. For 50 Hz a/c power supply
the corresponding speeds are 1000, 1500, or 3000 rpm. When speed variation is
desired for either process reasons or for power savings, they have to be fitted
with some sort of a speed control, such as a belt & pulley system (obsolete
technology), a hydraulic clutch and gear box, or a variable frequency drive.
Steam and gas turbines, on the other hand, are inherently variable speed devices,
and elaborate controls are required to make them operate at constant speed.
The correct choice of driver whether motor or turbine depends on whether
speed control would be beneficial in that particular application, and on the size
(power consumption) of the pump or compressor. The overall site steam and
power balance also has a considerable influence on the economics of driver
selection (especially for the larger sizes), and should not be ignored.

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SABP-A-002
Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

A separate Saudi Aramco Engineering Procedure (still under development at the


time of writing) addresses the issue of how and when to select adjustable speed
drives (ASDs).
2.6

Data Quality
Data quality refers to both the consistency and accuracy of measured values.
Consistency is necessary; accuracy (within the specified limits) is sufficient.
{The terms necessary and sufficient are used here in accordance with their strict
mathematical definitions.}
It should be common sense that bad data will lead to the wrong decisions no
matter how brilliant the quality of the analysis. But how do we define Bad
and Good? There is no such thing as perfect accuracy. An acceptable level of
error in data accuracy is that which will not lead to the wrong process design or
operating decision. As long as the correctness of the decision is not affected, the
data quality can be considered to be Good.
2.6.1

Data Validation for Consistency


Data Validation is the process of checking the various related values
measured and recorded in the DCS/PI systems against independent
sources and found to be in agreement. In general, we need to ensure the
measured data are consistent of with the laws of mass and energy
conservation, and with known physical and thermodynamic properties.
The methodology is best explained using illustrative examples.
Example 1: Material Balance Check
Consider the Crude Distillation Unit shown in Exhibit 2-2, with the
following measured data.
Stream

Measured flow (MBD)

Density

Mass flow (Klb/h)

Feed

100

0.85

6198

P1

10

0.70

510.4

P2

25

0.80

1458.3

P3

35

0.90

2296.9

P4

30

0.95

2078.1

Sum of product flows on volume basis = 10 + 25 + 35 + 30 = 100 MBD,


which appears to be in exact agreement with the feed rate of 100 MBD.

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SABP-A-002
Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

Exhibit 2-2: Simplified Schematic of CDU in an Oil Refinery


P1

CRUDE OIL
DISTILLATION
UNIT

P2

Feed

P3

P4

Would it be right to conclude that the data are consistent? No, because
what is conserved is mass, not volume. This is a common mistake that
should be avoided.
Sum of product flows on mass basis = 510.4 + 1458.3 +2296.9 +2078.1
= 6343.7 Klb/h.
It is not possible for the flow out to be more than the flow in. So, strictly
speaking the measured data should be considered to be inconsistent.
However, if we look at the magnitude of the error, it is 146 Klb/h, or 2.4%
of the feed rate, which is within the accuracy of the meters, and so we
would accept the data as being acceptable despite being inconsistent; in
effect we deem the data to have acceptable consistency. If, on the other
hand, the error was found to be greater than the meter accuracy, then the
data would be determined to be unacceptable, and some action would be
required to reconcile the discrepancies before analysis can begin.
Example 2: Material Balance Check
Let us say that we want to check the quality of flow data for the AM and
AH product shipment pumps from one of the GOSPs. Sample raw data
from the PI system are shown in Exhibit 2-3, columns 4 and 5. How can
we check for consistency?
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Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

One way is to calculate the yield, which we shall define as the ratio of
product flow to feed flow. Because a certain (variable) amount of vapor
flashes off in the wet crude receiving tank, the yield is expected to be
less than 100%. The computed values shown in columns 6 and 7 reveal
that the yield for AM crude is fairly steady throughout the year at around
94%, indicating the data are consistent. The computed values of yield
for AH crude, on the other hand are often in excess of 100%, and
occasionally in excess of even 200% (see circled areas in Exhibit 2-4).
Exhibit 2-3: Raw PI Data for Crude Oil Flow Rates

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SABP-A-002
Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

Exhibit 2-4: Calculated Yield Trends for Crude Oil Product


Material Balance Check
250

AH Crude

200

Dry/Wet Yield, %

AM Crude
150

100

50

0
1

31

61

91

121

151

181

211

241

271

301

331

361

Day of Year (2003)

Since it is impossible for the yield to be higher than 100% (see numbers
highlighted in brown in Exhibit 2-3), we conclude that the measured data
for AH crude feed and product flow rates are inconsistent with each
other, and there was obviously some problem with the metering system
for the first 5 months that appears to have been fixed subsequently.
Example 3: Properties Check
Consider the product recovery system in Exhibit 2-5, in which vapor
from a liquid-butane storage tank is compressed and condensed against
air before being returned to storage.

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SABP-A-002
Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

Exhibit 2-5: Schematic Diagram of Butane Vapor Recovery System

P2

T2

Air Cooler
Compr

Sat. Butane Vapor


P3
Receiver

T3
P1

T1

Exhibit 2-6: Measured PI Data for Butane Vapor recovery System

Measured
Pressure (psia)
13

Measured Temp
(F)
30

Tsat at measured
Pressure
25.5

Psat at measured
Temp
14.3

110

169

155

130.1

107

160

153

116.7

Point #

Let us examine whether the measured pressures and temperatures make


sense. The first thing to do is list the equilibrium temperatures and
pressures for the measured pressures and temperatures.
For point 1, which is known to be a saturated vapor, the measured
temperature of 30F is 4.5 higher that the equilibrium (or saturation)
temperature of 25.5F. This is too great a discrepancy. So, either the
temperature or pressure measurement must be wrong. Of course, it is
also possible that they are both wrong. Generally, temperature
measurements are more reliable, so we would probably choose T=30
and P=14.3 psia for point 1 as the reconciled values.

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SABP-A-002
Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

For point 2, which is known to be a superheated vapor, the measured


temperature would be expected to be higher than the saturation
temperature, which is in fact the case. So, we would accept the data for
point 2 as being consistent.
For point 3, which is known to be a saturated vapor, there is once again a
discrepancy between the measured pressure and temperature. If we
assume, as for point 1, that the temperature reading is more reliable, we
get a pressure value in the receiver of 116.7 psia, which is more than the
measured value of P2. Since that is not possible, we choose P3=107 and
T3=153F. This gives the following reconciled values:
Point

Pressure, psia

Temperature, F

14.3

30

110

169

107

153

An alternative possibility is that the measured pressure reading of P2 is


also wrong. If we postulate that both the temperature readings are right
and both readings are wrong, then we get a pressure drop in the air
cooler of 130.1 116.7 = 13.4 psi. This is too high. Therefore, we
conclude that our first reconciliation decision is probably correct, and
these are the values that should be used for design.
2.6.2

Data Validation for Accuracy


Accuracy means that the measured values are equal to the true values.
Checking for accuracy is much more difficult than for consistency.
Consider this example of an oil storage and loading station, depicted
schematically in Exhibit 2-7.
The flow is 10,000 gpm for 2 hours. The meter has been calibrated
recently and certified as accurate by the maintenance department.
The same pump is used for both loading (filling) and unloading a fuel
storage tank, according to the following operating policy:
Valve A

Valve B

Filling

open

closed

Unloading

closed

open

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SABP-A-002
Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

According to the meter, the amounts of oil that flow in and out are each
1,200,000 gallons (28,571 barrels). So, the data are consistent. But are
they accurate?
For this we need independent verification.

Exhibit 2-7: Schematic Diagram of Oil Storage and Loading Facility

FI

B
Level 2
A

Level 1

Truck or Ship
B

Let us say that the tank is a vertical cylindrical type with a diameter
D = 80ft. Let us say that the difference between the initial and final level
in the tank (after filling) is 30 ft. Then, the volume of oil pumped in is
V = (D/4) x h = 150,797 ft = 1,130,976 gal.
This is 6% less than what the meter reading shows, and so would be
considered inaccurate, because the standard of accuracy for custody
transfer meters is usually less than 0.5%.

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SABP-A-002
Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

Pump Networks
The methodology used for estimating savings potential will be described for a single
representative pumping system only (see Exhibit 3-1), as all systems can be evaluated in
an identical manner.
Exhibit 3-1: Typical Pump Network and Control System

There are three principal steps:


1.

Develop and assess flow profile

2.

Determine optimum operating policy for each of the four load management
strategies noted in Section 2.2

3.

Estimate the power cost savings potential by comparing the costs of operation
under the prevailing operating practices against those from following the optimum
operating policy

Each of these will now be described in more detail.

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3.1

SABP-A-002
Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

Flow Profile
First and foremost, we have to develop a histogram of the load profile from raw
PI data, as in Exhibits 3-2 and 3-3. PI data should be recorded as daily averages
for a period of at least 12 months to capture seasonal variations.
Exhibits 3-2a and b: Fluid Flow Historical Data (sample only). Note:

AM CRUDE OIL PRODUCTION RATE


1400
1200
Design
capacity

800
600
400
200

A M Crude

12/1

11/1

10/1

9/1

8/1

7/1

6/1

5/1

4/1

3/1

2/1

1/1

Flow , MBD

1000

DATE

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SABP-A-002
Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

Exhibit 3-3: Fluid Flow Profile and Histogram


AM Crude production profile
140

Days per year

120
100
80
60
40
20
0
550

600

650

700

750

800

850

900

950

Flow, MBD

HELP NOTE
For those of you using Microsoft Excel, there is a useful feature that enables you to generate
histograms easily from tabular data. However, this feature is not part of the basic installation of MS
Office, and must be loaded manually. If you do not see Data Analysis on the Tools menu, you will
need to load the Add-In as follows:
Click on Tools > Add-Ins
Check the box named Analysis ToolPak
After a few seconds, you should see Data Analysis on the Tools menu.
Histogram, and follow the instructions.

Click on that, select

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3.2

SABP-A-002
Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

Minimize Number of Operating Trains


One of the biggest sources of energy savings is to minimize the number of pump
trains being operated in parallel. This section describes the criteria for
determining this number, and developing an operating policy that balances
energy savings versus equipment integrity, operating flexibility, and reliability.
Two important considerations must be kept in mind:
a)

There is a certain minimum flow required through each pump below which
cavitation could occur and damage the pump. This type of cavitation (as
opposed to the type caused by inadequate NPSH) is due to eddy formation
in the pump suction/discharge nozzles at low flows, and generally begins
when the flow falls below 60% of flow at the best efficiency point. Short
term episodes of low flow are not a problem; damage occurs only if lowflow operation is sustained for several weeks or months. However, if the
pump flow falls below 30% of the best-efficiency flow, the fluid could
overheat due to low pump efficiency, and reach its bubble point inside the
pump casing. If this happens, the pump will seize, and stop working
altogether due to internal mechanical damage. The recycle line is designed
to prevent these types of problems.

b)

In general, the flow achievable by using N pumps in parallel will be less


than N times the flow through a single pump. This is because there is a
non-linear relationship between flow and number of pumps, which is
determined by the intersection between the system curve and the
composite pump characteristic curve.

As a matter of principle, we should never operate more than the minimum


number of trains needed to satisfy the production target set by the corporate
dispatching department. On the other hand, if the required throughput is
bordering between the capacities of one pump and two, or between 2 pumps and
3, it is not good practice to frequently start and stop the extra pump.

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SABP-A-002
Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

Exhibit 3-4: Determination of Ideal Trigger Points for Pump Switching


AM Crude Booster/Shipper Pumps
2000
1800
1600

Head, ft of oil

1400
1200
1000
system hd, 3 p/l

800

system hd, 2 p/l


600

1 train

400

2 trains

200

3 trains

0
0

500

1000

1500

2000

2500

3000

Total Flow , MBD

The fractional load at which we make the switch between N and N+1 pumps has
been named the Trigger Point. Numerically, the Trigger Point is expressed as
the ratio (%) of actual flow at which the switch is made to the ideal flow at
which the switch should be made. The flow rate at which we should ideally
switch from N pumps to N+1, and vice versa, is when the composite
characteristic curve for the pump network intersects the system curve (inclusive
of required minimum control valve P), as in Exhibit 3-4. This corresponds to a
Trigger Point of 100%.
The pump characteristic curve is obtained from the data sheets, and verified
against operating data in the PI (plant data historian) system. For pumping
networks consisting of multiple pumps connected in series and/or parallel, we
have to construct a composite characteristic curve from the individual pump
curves, according to the procedure explained in Section 3.6. For pumps
connected in series, we must add the individual heads at a given flow rate.
For pumps connected in parallel, we must add the flows at a given head.
The system curve can either be determined from the data sheets, or from PI data,
as illustrated in Section 3.7. One should keep in mind that the design manual
and data sheets are usually based on new pipe, for which the pressure drop per
linear foot is less than for old pipe, and make the necessary adjustments.
Another potential complicating factor is that sometimes there could be more
than one pipeline available for use. In the case of the AM and AH crudes, there
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Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

are several pipelines that could be used interchangeably. For AM crude either 2
or 3 pipelines are normally used, depending on the flow rate.
The ideal operating policy at a Trigger Point of 100% as derived from
intersection of the system curves with the pump composite curves in Exhibit 3-4
is shown in Exhibit 3-5.
Exhibit 3-5: Ideal Operating Policy for AM Shipper Pumps (at Trigger Point = 100%)

Unfortunately following the ideal policy runs the risk of having to throttle
back production during the time it takes to get the extra pump/train up and
running. In practice, therefore, it is safer to start up the N+1th pump a little bit
before it is needed, and to keep it running a bit longer after it is no longer
needed. In effect, therefore, the optimum Trigger Point for fixed speed motors
drives is somewhat less than 100% (see Exhibit 3-6).
The approximate relationship between Trigger Point and reliability (measured in
terms of lost production during the switchover period) is shown semiquantitatively in Exhibit 3-6. The optimum operating zone is around the sharp
bend in the curve, when reliability falls off rapidly for small increases in Trigger
Point. For fixed speed motors the optimum range of Trigger Points centers
around 95%, which is the number recommended, and is the basis for estimating
the energy savings potential compared to existing operations.
Significantly greater power savings can be realized if the Trigger Point is raised
from 95% to 100% or 105%. This can be achieved if the pump driver has overspeed capacity, e.g., if the motor is fitted with a variable frequency drive (VFD),
or the driver is a steam- or gas turbine.

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Load Management for Energy
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Exhibit 3-6: Indicative Relationship between Trigger Point and Reliability


Reliability vs Trigger Point
120

Reliability Index

100
80

Optimum
Zone

60
40
fixed spd motor
var spd drive

20
0
0

20

40

60

80

100

120

Trigger Point, %

To calculate the energy savings potential, one has to compare the cost of the
current operating practice versus the cost of following the optimum policy. The
energy consumption and cost of actual operation can be obtained either from the
power meters (if the pumps have them), or by following the methodology
described below.
Step 1: Prepare a summary of the pumps data.
Step 2: Determine pump on/off status over a period that represents typical
operation.
Step 3: Calculate minimum number of pump trains required for each operating
interval, for a range of Trigger Points, say 85% to 105%.
Step 4: Estimate power savings potential on the basis of shutting down the
excess pumps during each operating interval, and sum these savings for
all intervals within the selected period of interest.
Step 5: Prepare a table and plot of power/cost savings potential vs Trigger Point.

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Exhibit 3-7: Basic Pump Data (Example)

From the PI system, determine the on/off status (and flow rate if ON) of the
pumps at the mid-point of the selected period. For example, if the year is
divided into 365 24-hour periods, and the periods are counted from midnight to
midnight, then you would check the on/off status at noon every day. If the
period is elected to be a shift, and the shift timings are 6 am 2 pm, 2 pm
10 pm, and 10 pm 6 am, then the mid-points of the periods would be 10 am,
6 pm, and 2 am. The selection of sampling interval can be important, and is
discussed in detail at the end of this section. Sample output from the PI system
for the AM Booster/Shipper pumps at Safaniya is shown in Exhibit 3-8 for
illustration.

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Load Management for Energy
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Exhibit 3-8: Pump Operating Status and Flow Data (from PI system)

From the pump flow data and the ideal operating policy table (Exhibit 3-5),
calculate the number of pump trains required during each selected period for a
range of Trigger Points (e.g., 85% to 105%, in increments of 5%).
The computational logic is as follows:
Let number of parallel trains required = NP, and assumed Trigger Point (%)
= TP.
Let the minimum required flow through a pump to avoid cavitation or
seizure be FM.
Then,
For FM < Flow < 825*TP, NP = 1
For 825*TP < Flow < 960*TP, NP = 2
For Flow > 960*TP, NP = 3

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Load Management for Energy
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Exhibit 3-9: Estimating Power Savings from Minimizing No of Operating Trains

The power savings are estimated assuming that each excess pump will be
operating for exactly one full interval. While this is not strictly true, it is not a
bad approximation, as there will be some intervals during which an excess pump
may be operating part of the time but does not get recorded because it happened
to be off at the sampling moment, and these discrepancies should cancel one
another on average.
It is helpful to also plot the fractional number of pump trains required against
actual number of trains in operation (as in Exhibit 3-8) to get a visual feel for
how much of the time excess trains are being operated.

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Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

Exhibit 3-10: Actual Pump Trains in Operation versus Minimum Required


AM crude shipping pumps
2.5

Number pump trains in operation

Excess Pumps in use


2.0

1.5

1.0

0.5
No . trains needed
No . Trains Running

0.0
12/10

1/29

3/20

5/9

6/28

8/17

10/6

11/25

1/14

3/4

Date, 2003

Exhibit 3-11: Power/Cost Savings Potential vs Trigger Point


AM Booster/Shipper Pumps

1200

Savings, K$/yr

1000
800
600
400
200
0
80%

85%

90%

95%

100%

105%

Trigger Point

It can be seen that savings can be substantially higher for pumping systems with
adjustable speed (variable frequency) drives on the motors. In the case of the AM
Booster/Shipper pumps at Safaniya Onshore Plants, an additional $520-760 K/yr
of savings could be realized by fitting the fixed speed motors with VFDs, and
operating at a higher Trigger Point. The economics of installing VFDs are very
attractive because it is possible to design a control system such that only one VFD
Page 26 of 57

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is needed for any number of parallel trains. For other types of adjustable speed
drives, e.g., hydraulic gears, this is not the case.
When evaluating the existing load management practices of a set of parallel
equipment it is important to ensure that the data sampling technique is an
accurate representation of reality, because in order to have an accurate estimate
of savings potential, we need to get the closest correlation possible between the
average flow rate over the sampling period, and the on/off status of the pumps
(which is an instantaneous measurement) and the average flow rate during the
interval. This would argue for the shortest possible interval, say 15 minutes.
However, since it normally takes at least 2 hours to get a pump fully operational
from a cold start, there is unlikely to be a disconnect between average flow rate
and pump status for sampling intervals less than 2 hours. In order to reduce the
computational effort, we can limit the number of samples to 365 by making the
assumption that average flow rates over the sampling period are representative
of the average flow rates for the whole day, and calculate estimated savings
accordingly. The relationship between sampling time interval and calculated
savings is shown in Exhibit 3-12, which confirms that for savings from
optimizing the number of running pumps, the sampling period does not have a
statistically significant impact on the results.
Exhibit 3-12: Impact of Sampling Interval on Calcd Savings from Minimizing Excess Pumps
Savings from Excess Pumps
129
128

Savings, K$/yr

127
126
125
124
123
122
0

12

16

20

24

Sampling Interval, hr

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3.3

SABP-A-002
Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

Minimize Recycle Flows


Flow control can be achieved in many different ways by throttling the main
discharge line, by running the pump at full throttle and recirculating the excess
flow, or by using an adjustable speed drive. Flow recirculation is also employed
for protecting the pump against mechanical damage that could occur at low-flow
conditions, as explained at the beginning of Section 3.1.2. A typical pump
installation showing the piping and control scheme is illustrated in Exhibit 3-13.

Exhibit 3-13: Typical Pump Control System

Pump power consumption is a function of flow (Exhibit 3-14). Recirculation


through the bypass line increases flow rate and wastes energy; therefore it
should only be employed when the net process flow falls below the minimum
flow requirement of the pump. The opportunity for energy savings arises when
some flow is being recirculated through the by-pass line even when it is not
needed. This usually happens when the pumps are grossly oversized for the
required service, a consequence of excessive conservatism during the project
planning and design phase.

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Exhibit 3-14: Typical Variation of Power Consumption with Flow Rate


Pump Power Consumption
900
Total

800

PV pow er

Power, BHP

700

Pw r to Heat

600
500
400
300
200
100
0
0

200

400

600

800

1000

1200

1400

1600

Flow, gpm

PV power is the useful energy absorbed into the process for increasing
pressure or driving the fluid. However, a certain amount of input power is lost
to heat due to friction. Observe that the pump efficiency (useful energy divided
by input power) is not constant but in fact goes through a maximum over the
pumps operating range, falling off to near zero at extremely low flow rates.
In general, there are two situations that we could encounter:
a)

Required Process Flow > Minimum Pump Flow

b)

Required Process Flow < Minimum Pump Flow

In case (a), there should be no recycle; in case (b) some recycle is unavoidable,
but should be kept to the minimum.

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Exhibit 3-15: Power Savings Potential from Minimizing Recycle


Pump Power Consumption
1000

MINIMUM

Power, BHP

800

REQUIRED

ACTUAL

600

SAVINGS

400

200

RECYCLE
0
0

200

400

600

800

1000

1200

1400

1600

Flow , gpm

Pump Power Consumption


1000

REQUIRED MINIMUM

Power, BHP

800

ACTUAL

UNAVOIDABLE
RECYCLE

600

SAVINGS

400

200

RECYCLE

0
0

200

400

600

800

1000

1200

1400

1600

Flow , gpm

Consider Exhibit 3-15, which shows the power-flow curve for a typical pumping
system. Let us adopt the following nomenclature:
Parameters: F =Flow, HP= Power
Subscripts: A=Actual, R=Required, M=Minimum
Then, the potential power savings for a given time interval are:
HP = HPA max ( HPR, HPM )
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where BHP

SABP-A-002
Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

Flow (gpm) x Head (psi) Flow (gpm) x Head (feet) x sp gr


=
1714 x pump eff
3964 x pump eff

To calculate the power consumption for each case (actual, required, minimum),
use the average flow rate and head for that time interval. Pump efficiencies at
the relevant flow rates should be obtained either from the pump manufacturers
data sheet/curve or from the efficiency data generated during the most recent
pump performance test.
The power savings for each time interval must be added up for all intervals
during the year to get the total annual savings. It is recommended to use either
365 intervals of 1-day each, or 730 intervals of 12 hours each.
The pump flow profile histogram is a very good indicator of whether there is
significant cost saving potential from elimination or minimization of recycle.
Exhibit 3-16: Inferring Recycle Requirements from Flow Profile
Flow Distribution Histogram
140

100

Days per year

Design
Capacity

Minimum
Flow

120

80
60
40
20
0
550

600

650

700

750

800

850

900

950

1000 1050

Flow , gpm

Specific steps to be taken are listed below and illustrated in Exhibit 3-17:
a)

Develop correlation for pump characteristic curve (from factory test or


data sheet)

b)

Develop correlation for pump efficiency curve (from factory test or data
sheet)

c)

Establish minimum flow requirement per pump (if not specified on pump
data sheet, assume 35% of flow at best efficiency point)
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d)

Gather PI data for net process flow and actual flow through pump (= process flow
+ recycle flow)

e)

Calculate power consumption and potential savings from recycle flow elimination
or minimization using the formulas given above.

Pump Curve and Efficiency Correlations:


Head-flow correlation (pump characteristic curve)
h (ft) = a + bQ - cQ^2, where Q = gpm/100
a
b
c

1702
15
2.5

Pump Efficiency correlation


eff (%) = a + bQ - cQ^2, where Q = gpm/100
a
b
c

14.48
14
0.8

Operating Data:
liquid sp gr
Cost of power
Interval duration

0.86
26.7
24

$/MWH
hours

Minimum flow (surge point)


Head (from char curve)
Efficiency, %
Power consumption

571
1706
68.3
309

gpm
feet
%
HP

Exhibit 3-17: Estimation of Power Cost Savings from Minimizing Recycle

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3.4

SABP-A-002
Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

Operation at Best Efficiency Point


The efficiency of pumps is a function of flow rate. Sometimes, the efficiency
can be significantly lower at flow rates beyond the best efficiency point, and
one has to check to make sure that minimizing the number of operating pumps
will in fact minimize power consumption. The procedure for doing so is
illustrated in Exhibit 3-18. If this is not the case, then the operating policy
developed for minimizing pump trains in operation (as recommended in
Section 3.2) must be revisited and revised as necessary. Real efficiency curves
are seldom as extreme as the one shown in Exhibit 3-18, but it makes the point.

Exhibit 3-18: Operation at Best Efficiency Point vs Minimizing Pump Trains

100

1600

80

1200

60

800

40

Head
Efficiency

400

200

400

600

Process Flow, gpm


Number // pumps
Flow per pump, gpm
Head, feet
Efficiency, %
BHP per pump
Total power, HP

Case 1
2700
2
1350
1449
57.7
735
1471
normal

Case 2
2700
3
900
1635
75.7
421
1264
best eff

20

0
0

Efficiency, %

Head, ft of liquid

Pump Head and Efficiency


2000

800

1000

1200

1400

1600

1800

0
2000

Flow, gpm

In the case or recycle elimination/minimization (as recommended in Section 3.3),


however, there is never a case to be made for operating at higher flow than the
minimum, because the increased power consumption due to higher flow always
exceeds the savings from efficiency improvement, as illustrated in Exhibit 3-19.

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Load Management for Energy
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Exhibit 3-19: Operation at Best Efficiency Point vs Minimizing Recycle

100

1600

80

1200

60

800

40

Efficiency, %

Head (ft), or Power (HP)

Pump Head and Efficiency


2000

Head
Power

400

20

Efficiency
0
0

200

400

600

800

1000

1200

1400

1600

1800

0
2000

Flow , gpm

3.5

Load Allocation by Equipment Efficiency


So far we have assumed that all pumps in parallel are identical, and have
identical efficiencies. In fact, this can never be strictly true; at best, it can only
be approximately true. In some cases, it may not even be approximately true,
eg. if one machine suffers mechanical deterioration at a faster rate than another.
The appropriate operating policy, when we have parallel machines of unequal
efficiency, is both simple and obvious:
Use the most efficient machines for base load,
and the least efficient machines for swing loads.

The calculation procedure is straight-forward. Consider the case of three equalsized pumps of varying efficiency of which only two are normally operated in
parallel (see Exhibit 3-20). The best combination is pumps 1+3, while the worst
is pumps 2+3. The savings potential between best and worst combinations is
$1039 - $996 = $42K per year. While this may not be very great compared to
some of the other savings, it can be achieved easily with zero capital investment.

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Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

Exhibit 3-20: Load Allocation by Equipment Efficiency

Process Flow, gpm


Head, feet
sp gr
Pump efficiency, %
Pump power, HP

Pump #1 Pump #2 Pump #3


10000
10000
10000
800
800
800
0.9
0.9
0.9
75
69
72
2421
2631
2521

Alternative pump combination options:


Option
1
2
3

Pumps ID
1+2
1+3
2+3

S HP
5052
4942
5152

K$/yr
1018
996
1039

In general, the number of combinations to be evaluated is nCm, calculated using


factorials as follows:
n

Cm

n(n 1)(n 2)...x2x1


n!
m! x (n m)! = [m(m 1)...x2x1] x [(n - m)(n - m - 1)(n - m - 2)...x2x1]

where n = total number of installed parallel pumps, and m = number required to


be in operation simultaneously.

3.6

Composite Characteristic Curves for Pump Networks


The head-flow relationship of pumping networks consisting of multiple pumps
connected in series and/or parallel is described by the composite characteristic
curve, which must be constructed from the individual pump curves. For pumps
connected in series, we must add the individual heads at a given flow rate.
For pumps connected in parallel, we must add the flows at a given head.
Consider the series/parallel network shown in Exhibit 3-21, with individual
pump characteristic curves as shown in Exhibit 3-22.

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Load Management for Energy
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Exhibit 3-21: Generic Network of 3 Pumps in Series/Parallel


to Process

Wet Crude
Storage
Tank
Storage
Tank

Pump 2
Pump 3

Pump 1

Exhibit 3-22: Characteristic Curves for Individual Pumps


Individual Pump Characterictic Curves
2000
Pump 1
1600

Pump 2

Head, feet

Pump 3
1200

800

400

0
0

500

1000

1500

2000

2500

3000

3500

4000

Flow, gpm

The construction procedure for the composite characteristic curve is illustrated


in Exhibits 3-23 to 3-26.
Step 1: Develop quadratic correlation (use curve fitting utility within Excel)
for each pump curve in the form h (ft) = a + bQ - cQ^2, where
Q = gpm/100.
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It should be noted that the quadratic formulation is a good fit only for
heads less than 95% of the shut-off value. In the very low flow region,
when head is between 95 and 100% of the shut-off value, the
relationship is more accurately correlated as a linear function:
h = a - dQ. (The shut-off head is the value at zero flow)
Step 2: Add the a, b, c and d parameters of the pumps connected in series
(#2 and 3 in the example) to get the composite values for the two
together.
Exhibit 3-23: Correlation (Curve-Fit) of Pump Characteristic Curve Data

Exhibit 3-24: Composite Characteristic Curve for Pumps 2 & 3 in Series, and Pump 1 by itself
Composite Characteristic Curves for Pumps in series
2000

Head, feet

1600

1200

800

Pump #1

400

Pumps 2/3
0
0

500

1000

1500

2000

2500

3000

3500

4000

Flow , gpm

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Load Management for Energy
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Step 3: Construct a new table showing the flow for pump 1 and the 2/3
combination at the same head. Then, add the two flows together at each
value of head, which gives the composite characteristic curve for the
whole network.

Exhibit 3-25: Characteristic Curve Data for Pumps 1 and 2 & 3 (in Series) in Parallel
Flow, gpm
Pumps 2/3

Head, ft
1550
1545
1540
1520
1500
1495
1485
1450
1400
1300
1100
800

Pump 1
0
0
0
0
0
250
750
1212
1477
1870
2440
3076

in series
0
147
294
882
1338
1360
1402
1536
1701
1975
2407
2911

1 + 2/3
0
147
294
882
1338
1610
2152
2749
3178
3845
4846
5987

Exhibit 3-26: Composite Pump Characteristic Curves for Entire Network


Composite Characteristic Curves
1800
1600
1400

Head, feet

1200
1000
800
600
P ump 1

400

P umps 2/3
Co mpo site

200
0
0

1000

2000

3000

4000

5000

6000

7000

Flow, gpm

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Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

Observe that if system head is greater than the shut-off head for Pump 1
(= 1500 ft), it will not be able to contribute any flow, and the combined network
flow will be equal to the flow from Pumps 2/3 (in series) only. Both parallel
lines can contribute flow only when the system head falls below the shut-off
head for the lower one of the two.
3.7

System Head Curve for Pump Networks


System head is the total head that the pump must overcome at any given flow.
It has two principal components static and dynamic. The static head consists
primarily of the potential energy difference between the suction and discharge
points. The dynamic head consists primarily of kinetic energy (fluid
momentum) differences and frictional losses in the piping network.
Exhibit 3-27: Schematic Diagram of Simple Pumping System

P2

P1

Static Head (feet of liquid) = (P2 - P1)/(h2 - h1)

It should be recognized that the static head is not necessarily constant.


It will fluctuate somewhat as a consequence of variations in vessel pressure at
the suction and discharge ends, as well as due to fluctuations in liquid level.
If frictional losses dominate the system, then the static head may be considered
to be approximately constant, but if not, then variations in static head would
have to be taken into account in the analysis.
Dynamic head (feet) =

( 2V22 1V12 ) S(Pf )

2g

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Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

In normal industrial piping systems, the kinetic energy (V2/2g) term is generally
small, and can be safely neglected. Strictly speaking, the frictional term in the
Bernoulli equation includes pressure losses in the piping, equipment,
instruments and the pump itself (bearings, seals, etc). It is common practice,
however, to separate pump losses from piping/equipment losses. Internal losses
within the pump are accounted for as pump efficiency, and only the piping,
equipment and instrument losses are included in the dynamic head component of
system P.
Frictional pressure drop in turbulent flow (Reynolds numbers > 10,000) can be
very closely estimated by the equations:
P = 2f LV2 / gD
and
f = 0.0029 (DV/)-0.2
Because the Moody friction factor f is itself a function of velocity, the net
proportionality between frictional pressure drop and pump flow works out to be
approximately
P Q1.8
With a proper understanding of these basic principles, it becomes easy to
develop the system curve from available data.
If the engineering design contractor and the procurement group have done their
jobs right, the static and dynamic heads at the design condition will be recorded
on the pump documentation supplied by the manufacturer. Only four items of
information are needed design flow rate, liquid density, static head, and
piping/equipment frictional drop at design flow to calculate the system curve
over its entire range of operation:

(Pf ) d
H = HS +

Qd

1.8

where subscript d refers to Design conditions.


A more accurate method is to obtain this same information from PI data over a
suitably wide flow range. Unfortunately, there is seldom sufficient
instrumentation installed to enable disaggregation of the control valve drop and
the frictional drop. The appropriate procedure in such instances is to estimate
the piping and equipment frictional drops (using the equations and methods
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Load Management for Energy
Efficiency: Pumps & Compressors

described in most engineering handbooks and college-level textbooks on fluid


mechanics).
The first step is to list the pump data (from drawings and design manuals or
plant data), as in Exhibit 3-28. The next step is to calculate the static and
dynamic heads according to the equations provided above, as in Exhibit 3-29.
Exhibit 3-28: System Data at Design Conditions

Liquid level (elevation), ft


Source/destination pr, psig
Equipment P psi
Piping P, psi
Instrument (meters) P, psi

suction discharge
24
86
12.0
31.1
3.9
25.7
2.0
293
0.0
4.3

Exhibit 3-29: Calculation of Static and Dynamic Head at Design & Maximum Flow

Flow, gpm
Liquid density (specific gravity)
Static head, ft
Dynamic head, ft
System head, ft
Delivered head, ft
Control valve DP, ft
, psi
, % of TDH.

Design Maximum
825
1070
0.8605
0.8605
100
100
884
1419
984
1519
1656
1576
672
58
250
21
41%
4%

The control valve drop is the difference between the TDH of the pump and the
system head. For good control, this should generally be about 1/3 of the total
pump delivered head. Even in the fully open position, the control valve incurs
some pressure drop, equal to 21 psi (58 ft) in the illustrative example, which
defines the maximum flow possible from the pump and piping system.
The maximum flow must be found by trial and error until the system head +
control valve drop (in fully open position) equal the delivered head.
Exhibit 3-30 shows the system curve in relation to the pump characteristic
curve.

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Exhibit 3-30: System and Characteristic Curves

2000
Pump Curve
System Curve

Head, feet of oil

1600
Control
Valve P

1200

800

Dynamic head
(frictional P)

400
Static head
0
0

500

1000

1500

2000

Flow, gpm

3.8

Controls and Instrumentation


For effective operation of pumping networks, it is important that they be
controlled properly. The control scheme shown in Exhibit 3-1 (Section 3) is
typical of Saudi Aramco facilities, but is not optimal for effective load
management. A superior control scheme, which works equally well for both
identical and non-identical pumps, is shown in Exhibit 3-31. [ Ref. Bela G.
Liptak, Optimization of Industrial Unit Processes, 2nd ed, CRC Press, Boca
Raton, Florida, USA (1999), pp 394-401.] There is no sacrifice in operating
reliability; in fact the illustrated scheme features improved flexibility.

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Exhibit 3-31: Recommended Control Philosophy for Parallel Pump Trains

The combined total flow may be set on either flow control (shown) or level
control (not shown), depending on process requirements. If the stream is a
process feed, we would normally prefer flow control, as this makes for better
operating stability. If on the other hand, it is a product stream going to a
pipeline or bulk storage facility, we may prefer to use level control.
The flow controller output signal passes through a hand switch, controlled by
the operator, which is routed to one of the three control valves in the individual
pump discharge lines. Only one of the valves should be controlled at any given
time; the other two would be either fully open or fully closed, depending on
whether the pump is running or not. The valves should be set to the fail-open
mode. Check valves, block valves, bleed valves, pressure gages, and other
details of standard piping and instrumentation are not shown.
4

Compressor Networks
The methodology for estimating savings potential from load management of
compressors is similar to that for pumps, except that several important differences must
be taken into account:
a)

Gases are compressible while liquids, for all practical purposes, are
incompressible. Physical properties such as specific heat and compressibility can
vary significantly at high compression ratios, affecting power consumption.

b)

Density variations (due to composition and suction pressure drift) are more prevalent.
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c)

Compressors are generally more difficult to startup and shut down (normal startup
period is on the order of 4 hours vs less than 1 hour for even very large pumps)
partly because they usually operate between their first and second critical speeds,
and partly because they have to be properly purged every time when compressing
flammable hydrocarbon gases.

d)

The system curve is generally dominated by static head, as opposed to dynamic


head for most pump applications.

e)

The surge limit generally occurs at 50% of the design flow at the design speed.

4.1

Thermodynamics of Gas Compression


The pressure-volume-temperature behavior of real gases is described by the
equation:
Pv = ZRT
where

P = pressure, psia
v = specific volume, ft3/mole
T = temperature, R
R = universal gas constant = 1545 ft-lb/moleR = 1.987 Btu/moleR
= 10.729 for the units of measure indicated above

and

Z = compressibility factor (must be obtained from data charts for


each particular gas)

For diatomic gases at low pressures, Z is approximately 1.


The power consumption of a compressor, in horsepower, is given by

ZWT1 460 1

BHP
1281.55 MW ad
where

T1

k 1

k P2 k

1
k - 1 P1

= suction temperature, F

P1 & P2 = suction and discharge pressures, psia or any other units


k

= average specific heat ratio Cp/Cv

= average compressibility factor

= gas mass flow, lb/hr

MW

= molecular weight, lb/mole


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= adiabatic efficiency, usually in the range 0.75-0.85

The constant 1281.55 = 60 (min/h) x 33000 (ft-lb/min-HP) /1545 (ft-lb/moleR)


It is useful to know that Cp is usually about 7 Btu/lb-moleR for most diatomic
gases, and 5 Btu/lb-moleR for ideal monatomic gases. For a gas mixture, Cp is
evaluated as the weighted mole fraction average. It is also useful to know that
for ideal gases, Cv = Cp R, so that k can be approximated as
k = Cp/(Cp-R)
Overall Energy Efficiency of a compressor is easy to define:

absorbed energy into process gas isentropic HP

delivered energy to the driver


brake HP

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to measure. The best we can hope for is to


calculate efficiency based on measurements of other process parameters such as
flow, temperature, pressure, and estimation of gas physical properties.
For compressors, two types of efficiencies are commonly used: adiabatic and
polytropic. As a practical matter, the single-stage adiabatic efficiency can be
calculated as:

T2' T1
T2 T1

T2 = actual discharge temperature before any cooling, F


T2 = isentropic (adiabatic) discharge temperature, F, calculated as:

P
T2 ' T1 460 2
P1

k 1
k

1 460

The polytropic efficiency is then calculated as:


n k 1

n 1 k

p
where

n = polytropic constant, which is a function of gas properties only,


and determined experimentally from the equation PVn=constant,
unique to each machine.

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Generally, n and p are provided by the compressor manufacturer, and can be


found in the data sheet supplied with the equipment at time of purchase.
The adiabatic efficiency can be back-calculated from this information:

ad

k 1

P2 k

1
P1

P2
P1

n 1
n

Adiabatic efficiency varies with compression ratio, whereas polytropic


efficiency is independent of the thermodynamic state of the gas, being a function
of mechanical design only. The reason is that gas properties are implicitly
included in the polytropic constant itself. Polytropic efficiency is therefore a
better indicator of compressor mechanical condition and performance, and so
load allocation decisions should be made on the basis of polytropic, not
adiabatic efficiency.
The overall efficiencies are given by:

oa a . m
and
where

op p . m

m = mechanical efficiency of the compressor


= fraction of power delivered by the driver (motor) that is
actually transmitted to the gas, usually 97-98%

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Exhibits 4-1a and b: Typical Data for Centrifugal Compressors

Centrigugal Compressors
79.0

12000

10000

78.0
8000
77.5

Efficiency
6000

Speed
77.0

4000
76.5

Nominal Speed, rpm

Polytropic Eff, %

78.5

2000

76.0
75.5

0
0

10

20

30

40

50

60

Impeller diam, in

For multi-stage compressors, the total power requirement is simply the sum of
the power for each individual stage. From a thermodynamic viewpoint, the
defining characteristic of a compression stage is that there should be no intercooling between successive impellers. Thus, a compressor casing containing
multiple impellers without intermediate coolers would be considered a single
stage. Confusion often arises because some manufacturers and authors of
technical articles refer to each impeller as a stage. These are not
thermodynamic stages unless an intercooler is provided between each impeller.
In order to keep the temperature rise within reasonable limits, the single-stage
compression ratio is normally limited to about 3.0.

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When calculating the power consumption of the 2nd and later stages, one should
take into account the pressure drop in the interstage cooler and piping, the new
suction inlet temperature, and differences in gas properties at the new suction
conditions.
Performance and System Curves
In general, the head vs capacity curve (also called the performance curve) for
a centrifugal compressor operating at a fixed speed is quite flat, with the total
head at the minimum throughout (the surge point) typically being only 105115% of the head at design throughput. Similarly, the system curve is also
relatively flat, because the static head usually dominates frictional (dynamic)
head. The operating point occurs at the intersection of the compressor
performance curve and the system curve.

Exhibit 4-2: Typical Centrifugal Compressor Operating Curves


Centrifugal Compressor Curves
32

30

Head, 1000 ft

4.2

28

Surge limit
26

24
Performance Curve
System Curve

22

20
0

1000

2000

3000

4000

5000

6000

7000

8000

Suction Flow, acfm

These characteristics are important considerations in selecting a control scheme


that will result in both stable and energy-efficient operation.

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4.3

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Load Management for Energy
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Control Strategies
For almost all compressor applications, some form of flow regulation is
required, whether to maintain a constant discharge pressure or a constant flow.
Furthermore, the flow set point could be in terms of volume or mass. The type
of control scheme also depends on the type of driver whether fixed speed or
variable speed. The optimal control scheme therefore varies from case to case.
Speed control is considerably more efficient than throttling the flow with a valve
(or even worse, by employing flow recycle) at constant compressor speed, since
the valve resistance creates an unrecoverable power loss. Steam and gas
turbines are inherently variable speed machines, with speed control being easily
achieved by regulating either the steam flow or fuel/air flow. Compared to fixed
speed drivers, variable speed drivers permit a much wider range of control in a
highly efficient manner.
Speed variation can be used to alter the position of the H-Q performance curve
such that it exactly intersects the system curve, as illustrated in Exhibit 4-3, with
power consumption rising and falling roughly in proportion to the process load.
The performance curves at different speeds are developed using the affinity
laws.
Exhibit 4-3: Compressor Performance with Variable-Speed Drive
R92-K151

33

31

29

Polytropic Head, 1000 ft

System Curve
1780 rpm

27

1767 rpm
1630 rpm

25

1484 rpm
1362 rpm

23

Current Compr
Flow Rate,
fixed speed

21

19

17

15
0

1000

2000

3000

4000

5000

6000

7000

Process Flow (vapor from storage tank), acfm

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Controlling two or more compressors operating in parallel and having identical


characteristics would be similar to the case of a single compressor. However,
because of age, wear, or design differences, no two compressors have identical
performance characteristics. Slight variations in flow can cause one compressor
to be fully loaded and the other to fall below its surge point, forcing needless
recycle. The control scheme shown in Exhibit 4-4 overcomes this problem.
Typically, the suction valve that receives the lower flow is kept 100% open.
Exhibit 4-5 illustrates how two compressors can be proportionally loaded and
unloaded, while keeping their operating points at equal distance from the surge
line. The lead compressor (31) is selected either as the larger unit or the one that
is closer to the surge line when the load rises or further from it when the load
falls. Improper load distribution is prevented by measuring the total load, and
assigning a variable percentage to each compressor adjusting the set points of
the flow ratio controllers. Each compressor must be provided with its own
independent surge protection system.
Exhibit 4-4: Suction Throttling Control of Fixed-speed Parallel Compressors
[Ref. Liptak, op cit]

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Exhibit 4-5: Proportional Loading of Parallel Compressors with ASDs


[Ref. Liptak, op cit]

Various alternative control strategies for different conditions and scenarios are
described in the following excellent reference texts:
[1]

Optimization of Industrial Unit Processes, 2nd ed, Bela G Liptak, CRC


Press, Boca Raton, Florida (1999), Chapter 4.

[2]

Compressor Handbook for the Hydrocarbon Processing Industries, Gulf


Publishing Co, Houston, Texas (1979), pp 103-124.

In most Saudi Aramco plants, when the compressor is not turbine driven, the
electric motor is normally operated at fixed speed (although there are a few rare
cases where variable speed capability is provided either using a hydraulic gear
box or a variable frequency drive). Since variable speed operation is one of the
ways to improve energy efficiency, it is worth noting that this is a relatively easy
retrofit that can have excellent economics when dealing with networks of parallel
compressors. The reason is that only one of the compressors needs to be fitted
with a VFD; the rest can be left on fixed speed, as illustrated in Exhibit 4-6 (surge
protection controls not shown). It is not necessary, as some mistakenly believe, to
install a VFD on each and every motor in the network.

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Exhibit 4-6: Control of Parallel Compressors (One ASD and Rest Fixed Speed)

TI

TI
FC
FI

PI

PI

M
TI
TI

SC

PC
FI

FI

Whether the process objective is to maintain constant header pressure or


constant flow, the fixed speed compressors must be on flow control, which can
be accomplished by either suction throttling or discharge throttling. Butterfly
valves are preferred because of their lower pressure drop. The appropriate valve
location depends on whether the goal is to deliver mass flow (e.g., for most
process applications, including sales gas compression) or volume flow
(e.g., most utility applications such as plant or instrument air).
For equal mass flow rates, discharge throttling consumes less power, and
therefore would be preferred. However, for equal volume flows, the situation is
reversed.
Consider the illustrative example in Exhibit 4-7, with suction and header
pressures of 80 psia and 230 psia respectively, a k value (= CP/CV) of 1.32, and a
control valve drop of 10 psi at the design flow. A comparison of the relative
power consumption for the two cases clearly demonstrates that appropriate
placement of the control valve can save a significant amount of energy.

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Exhibit 4-7: Power Consumption for Suction vs Discharge Throttling


(a) Constant Mass Flow control
Inlet pressure, psia
Discharge pr, psia
Compression ratio
X = (k-1)/k
(P2/P1)^X - 1
Relative power

Suction throttling
80
230
2.875
0.1113
0.1247
1.00

Discharge throttling
90
240
2.667
0.1113
0.1154
0.9248

Suction throttling
80
230
2.875
0.1113
0.1247
1.00
1.00
1.00

Discharge throttling
90
240
2.667
0.1113
0.1154
1.2112
1.2112
1.1201

(b) Constant Volume Flow control


Inlet pressure, psia
Discharge pr, psia
Compression ratio
X = (k-1)/k
(P2/P1)^X - 1
Relative inlet density
Relative mass flow
Relative power

The final point to keep in mind is that the interaction of compressor operations
with the rest of the plant must be given due consideration in the design of the
control system.
For example, if the process upstream of the compressors is under constant
pressure control, then the compressor control system must be designed (or
modified) in such a way that starting and stopping a compressor will not disturb
the upstream process. In short, an integrated control philosophy is needed.
4.4

Process Modifications
The principal process parameters that affect compressor power consumption are
mass flow rate, suction (inlet) temperature, and the compression ratio, so
anything we can do to reduce these three parameters through process
modifications will help to reduce power consumption.
Flow requirements are generally set by process conditions, but one should
examine the overall process flowsheet to look for opportunities to change the
material balance in such a way that the flow through the compressor is minimized.
Inlet temperature can obviously be reduced by installing a heat exchanger in the
process stream entering the compressor, but this seldom pays out, because the
new cooler creates additional pressure drop in the system that will increase the
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required compression ratio. The increased power requirement from a higher


compression ratio will almost always be more than the reduction from lower
inlet temperature. The solution, once again, is to examine the overall process
flowsheet, and look for places where the suction stream may be being heated.
Exhibit 4-8: Process Modifications to Reduce Compressor Load

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From Exhibit 4-8a, it can be seen that the suction stream to the Sales Gas
compressor is being used to cool the feed gas to the Gas Treating process.
Effectively, we have a heater in the compressor suction line; by bypassing it,
as shown in Exhibit 4-8b, we can reduce not only the suction temperature but
also the compression ratio by eliminating the heaters P. The process stream
which was being cooled against compressor suction must now be cooled against
some other stream, with consequent net energy savings.
Power consumption can also be reduced by minimizing the required discharge
pressure. For example most Aramco compressors have a fin-fan cooler in their
discharge line, whose cooling capacity varies with ambient temperature. One of
the power conservation strategies used by the operators is to shed power load on
the fans during cooler weather (a laudable attempt at thermal load management)
once the temperature set point downstream of the cooler is being met. However,
maintaining a constant condenser temperature is the wrong control objective if
the compressor discharge stream is going to a condenser, because the required
pressure for condensation is not constant but varies with ambient temperature.
In such cases, even greater power savings could be obtained by following a
different operating policy viz. to maximize the fin-fan cooling capacity but
save even more power by minimizing the discharge pressure (and therefore, the
compression ratio). A suggested control scheme is shown in Exhibit 4-19, with
the supporting calculations presented in Exhibit 4-10.

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Exhibit 4-9: Power Conservation by Minimizing Compressor Discharge Pressure

The tricky part is being able to determine when exactly we have achieved total
condensation, something very difficult to do. The proposed solution is to have
two condensers in series. The main condenser would condense only about
90-95% of the vapor, and the vent condenser would condense the balance.
The control system would be set up to maintain a fixed 10:1 or 20:1 flow ratio
between the main flow and the vent flow.

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Exhibit 4-10: Shedding Fan Load vs Minimizing Compression Ratio

The required discharge pressure in Case 2 is found by successive iteration until


the calculated condenser surface area for Cases 1 and 2 are identical.
Although process modifications cannot strictly be classified as Load
Management, the subject has been presented here because it is a way to
introduce new degrees of freedom that enable optimal load allocation between
the different energy consumers in the overall system.
12 March 2011

Revision Summary
Revised the "Next Planned Update". Reaffirmed the contents of the document, and reissued
with editorial changes.

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