As economic demand shifts, profitability depends on operational efficiency at each individual refinery and plant. Many wellheads and pipelines are located “off grid,” having no access to electrical power. Power needed to run sensors that monitor flow rates, pressure and temperatures is simply not available. Often, remote plants and refineries require large generators to provide power, and emit wasted energy that is not recycled back into the grid.
Solar power is the preferred power-generating technology in some warm, sunlit environments where only small temperature differences exist. Yet at night or in colder environments, when the intensity and duration of solar energy is limited, thermoelectric power generation is often preferred.
Innovative uses of thermoelectric technology can enhance production efficiency by converting thermal energy to power-critical sensors, or capturing waste heat to replenish overall power supply.
Thermoelectric energy harvesting enables a wide range of wireless sensor applications to monitor system condition health, reducing the ongoing costs of maintenance to battery-powered wireless sensors. Thermoelectric exhaust waste heat recovery converts waste heat to supply power to the plant or refinery, increasing energy efficiency and decreasing energy cost.
Our products also offer solid-state reliability with no moving parts, high resistance to shock and/or vibration, and convenient packaging – scalable in size and weight.
Read more on our Oil, Gas & Mining applications:
Successful down-hole drilling often entails precise directional drilling along a prescribed path, requiring constant system monitoring. Sensors placed inside the drill relay information to those managing the drilling process. Based on preprogrammed logic, these sensors detect change in well direction, measure vibrations, indicate directional orientation of the bit and provide other critical data. Temperature and impact monitoring at the bit also preserves the drill-bit bearings.
As wells are drilled deeper and deeper, temperatures at these extreme depths exceed the operating temperatures of many electronic sensors and components. II-VI Marlow’s TG line of thermoelectric generators, fabricated with high temperature solders and superior diffusion barrier technologies needed for long term operation at high temperatures, are ideal thermoelectric devices to use as coolers to provide an effective means of cooling critical, sensitive electronics down-hole. A thermoelectric generator can be used as a thermoelectric cooler (by supplying power to it) and vice versa and can also generate power by creating a temperature differential. It is simply a matter of having the thermoelectric device tailored for the temperature extremes of the application. Thus, II-VI Marlow’s TG line of thermoelectric generators is an excellent choice for high temperature thermoelectric cooling applications.
Oil, Gas, Mining Process Monitoring
Remaining consistently aware of pipeline processing, equipment functions and drilling progress in a remote oil field presents challenges in manpower, efficiency and cost. Most oil companies have digital oilfield initiatives that collect real-time data throughout the field reducing manpower and data collection expenses. This improves optimization within an oilfield which may contain hundreds of wells. A wireless battery solution offers a sensor capable of providing information feedback, but demands recurrent battery replacement and maintenance due to its inability to self-adjust to the surrounding temperature. In a remote oil field, sensors are difficult to access, thereby driving the need for a self-powered, low-maintenance solution.
II-VI Marlow thermoelectric power generators harness ambient thermal energy that can produce power for wireless sensors. These sensors detect critical information, including flow rate, pressure, temperature, the health of pumps and other systems, allowing the customer to receive system information from any geographical location. The II-VI Marlow solution self-adjusts to its environment, thereby creating a long-lasting, low-power and low-maintenance solution to power the remote-sensing application.
Exhaust Waste Heat Recovery
Successful oil and gas production demands a massive, constant supply of energy to a plant or refinery. This energy is typically provided by a large generator, such as a gas turbine. Plants and refineries lose energy efficiency by emitting significant amounts of waste heat into the environment.
II-VI Marlow thermoelectric power generation technology offers an alternative. Hot and cold side heat exchangers applied with a thermoelectric power generation system will harness waste heat and convert it to useful DC power, thereby enabling high performance under extreme temperatures. This power can be supplied back to the grid or power various other systems, in turn reducing dependency on generators and increasing the efficiency of energy consumption.
Low-temperature exhaust waste heat applications are currently available. Higher temperature applications designed to capture 500°C are in development.
Detection of leaks, flow condition monitoring, and in-line equipment monitoring are critical to many oil and gas digital field initiatives. Designed to optimize field operations and maximize pipeline transmission, security, and safety, this becomes even more critical for aging subsea oil infrastructures and new subsea pipelines. Specifically the pipelines being deployed in deeper waters where the thermal effects of pipeline expansion, buckling, and hydrate formation are exaggerated because of the larger temperature extremes.
II-VI Marlow's EverGen® PowerStrap™ Generator harnesses thermal energy from the pipeline and converts it to useful electrical power. The harnessed energy creates a local, self-contained power source for wireless sensors and flow meters on terrestrial pipelines and piping systems. These self-powered sensors and meters detect critical information, including flow rate, pressure, temperature, pump health, and other systems, allowing the customer to receive system information from any geographical location. The II-VI MarlowEverGen® PowerStrap™ Generator self-adjusts to its environment, creating a long-lasting, low-power, low-maintenance solution to power the remote-sensing application. II-VI Marlow has also demonstrated subsea thermoelectric power source capabilities that can withstand the extreme pressure of deep-water pipelines, providing a lasting power source for subsea pipelines and monitoring equipment.