NATURAL gas is being extracted with the help of solar power, thanks to a revolutionary pumping system developed by world leading technology business John Crane.
The LVPS (low volume pumping system) – the first of its kind – can remove water from as deep as 3,280 feet with zero carbon emissions, enabling additional systems to extract up to 150 million cubic feet of gas per day from each well. Some 10,000 wells are candidates for the new technology.
All gas wells have water at the top which needs to be removed in order to allow the gas to flow. Solar panels generate enough electricity to power the pumping system which pumps water from the underground field using John Crane Production Solutions’ lightweight fibreglass sucker rods allowing the gas to travel to the surface where it is then collected and transported via pipelines.
The LVPS enables easier and more economical access to wells in remote areas than traditional artificial lift systems, which are powered by other methods and require miles of transmission cables and costly electricity to work.
The new pump was specifically developed for the coal-bed methane gas fields of Colorado and Northern New Mexico following growing global concern over the environmental impact of harmful carbon emissions. It consumes less power than a handheld hair dryer and is being trialled by a global energy giant at various sites in North America.
Paul Cox, President, John Crane, said: “This is a unique solution to a very modern problem. In the context of the growing demand for global energy, John Crane is helping to improve gas production by keeping wells pumping using a totally renewable energy source with minimal impact on the environment. This new system represents a significant growth market opportunity with continuing service work for John Crane.”
John Crane is part of global technology business Smiths Group.
Solar panels produce electrical power directly from sun light, helping to power the pumping unit. This moves fluid (water) from the bottom of the well to a tank on the surface. By producing the water, natural gas flows to the surface and is collected before being transported via pipelines.