Virtual PipelineAlternative method of transporting natural gas
Virtual Pipeline – Introduction
Virtual pipeline is an alternative method of transporting natural gas to places where there are no pipeline networks available. It is based on a modular system of compression or liquefaction, transport and decompression and/or regasification of natural gas, which communities, industries, gas stations and others can use. In virtual pipelines compressed/liquefied natural gas is transported by various modes – highway, railway, waterways and the sea.
Virtual Pipeline System
The virtual pipeline is a system that allows the natural gas transportation in the form of compressed/ liquefied gas using modules coupled to mobile platforms, which are transported by trucks, ferry boats, boats and/or rail platforms. When the product reaches its destination, the module is connected to a decompression/ regasification station for ready consumption. The virtual pipelines and their specific features, such as type and storage capacity, means of transportation, compression and/or liquefying, loading, unloading and supplying, offer the remote customer the possibility of using the natural gas long before a conventional
pipeline is constructed.
transferred to a new region that needs to be developed.
Due to increasing Green house gas concerns, the use of natural gas is encouraged. Additionally, with recent advances natural gas extraction from shale gas has become extremely popular.
Relevant aspects of Virtual Pipeline
The CNG virtual pipeline is the natural gas processed and conditioned for transport, commonly, e.g., into ampoules and cylinders, at environmental temperature, pressure 500 psi (70bar) to 3600 psi (250 bar), with a volume reduction from 60 to 225 times the volume occupied under standard conditions. The virtual-pipeline allows meeting the demand in regions where there is no infrastructure of gas pipelines distribution nets. It also aims to encourage the development of new markets
for the natural gas, once it is highly flexible. It must be said that the transportation of CNG is complex and it involves risks of accidents due to the high pressure operation. Basically, the natural gas is taken out first, next the gas is compressed, and later the gas is transported to the purchasing point. As time passed, the demand for gas has increased in all regions, however, its supply through conventional pipelines has not kept up with those needs. As a result a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) system that can meet the cities’ needs for electricity generators, automotive sector, industries, industrial utilization, etc., is very much the need of the hour.
Technological aspects of the Virtual Pipeline
During the technical execution of a virtual-pipeline, the CNG can be nominated gas into transitory state, due to the volume reduction and storage into pressure vessels. The supply of CNG in bulk consists of acquisition, receiving, compression, storage, delivery, commercialization and quality control. The virtual-pipeline system is based on modular technology, which in turn allows scaling up of the system proportional to the demand. The Virtual-Pipeline described here (see fig. 1), is based on 3 technological developments, such as:
- Modular stations of CNG compression (Gas or Electric Powered)
- Modular plants of pressure regulation.
- Modular system of Natural Gas storage and transport.
CNG compressors are selected based on requirement and installed to be connected to a natural gas source, it can be an existing pipeline,
well with flare gas, anaerobic digester, etc. Many times CNG Delivery uses trailer based, gas powered mobile CNG compression trailers allowing us to get natural gas from large number of sources
Loading and Unloading:
At its arrival, the transport trailer replaces and interchanges the empty trailers from the consumer point by the filled ones. This interchange is executed by reconnecting CNG source from the trailer that has been previously used to the trailer that just arrived with a new source of CNG. Pressure Relief System is commonly used to enhance safety and regulate the inlet pressure to the source.
The vehicle transports the CNG Trailers or modules by land at the same speed as other
transports, with no need for additional security system. At industrial applications, depending on the kind of industry, the trailers are connected
to regulation plants. Remote stations of CNG: The trailers are connected to the filling station through a unload BOOSTER (small compressor and dispenser designated to recompression an supplying, respectively) and are managed by the Rotating Cascade