"Novatek" will benefit for itself the harsh climatic conditions of the Arctic, where its plants for liquefying gas will be located. The company Novatek has patented its own technology for liquefying gas. Its distinctive feature is the organization of the technological process using the cold of the natural environment.
Leonid Mikhelson, the main owner and predestination of Novatek, first reported on December 12, about the company's plans to obtain a patent for the gas liquefaction technology. But he did not disclose the essence of the technology. Confirmation of Novatek's patent (RU 2645185 C1) on the technology of the "Arctic cascade" was published by Rospatent on February 16. The date of the commencement of the patent is indicated on March 16, 2017, when Novatek applied for the registration of technology.
"Novatek" has already built in the village. Sabetta Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District on the shore of the Ob Bay first stage of the plant for liquefying gas capacity of 5.5 million tons per year. There are two more to be built. For them, Novatek licensed the world's most widely used C3MR technology, developed by the American Air Products. But "the lack of the [C3MR] process in the Arctic climate is the incomplete use of the cold of the natural environment," the Russian company patent notes. The American development of 1972, first applied in the construction of the plant in Brunei, was designed to work in the temperature range from +45 to -34 degrees Celsius. In the Russian Arctic, where Novatek develops its own cluster of LNG production, the upper limit of this range "can start at +10 degrees."
Own development of Novatek can be used for the construction of the fourth line of gas liquefaction at the Yamal LNG plant. Its capacity can reach about 0,9-0,95 million tons per year, said Michelson.
About the benefits of cold
To convert natural gas into liquid, it must be cooled to a temperature of about -160 degrees. The "Arctic cascade" assumes that at the first stage natural climatic conditions of the region can be used for this. A recurrent medal of technology is that at temperatures above +5 degrees the efficiency of the technology application is reduced. But "the waters of the Arctic or Antarctic seas, bays and other water bodies, even in the summer, have a low temperature," the patent says. The energy costs for the production of LNG using Novatek's new technology will be about 220 kW per 1 ton. For comparison, Air Products requires 20% more energy.
Novatek plans to build another plant, the Arctic LNG, on the Gydan Peninsula. The project involves the construction of three liquefaction lines, the "Arctic Cascade" can be used on the third, Mikhelson said. The capacity of the plant will be 19.8 million tons, said Deputy Chairman of the Board of Novatek Denis Khramov. This corresponds to the capacity of each production line of 6.6 million tons per year. The investment decision on the construction of a new plant Novatek expects to take in 2019.
An important feature of the new technology is the use of only one turbine on each line - instead of two at Air Products. For the production of 1 million tons of LNG with the claimed energy costs will require the use of a gas turbine unit (GTU) with a capacity of about 32 MW, the head of the research and forecasting group ACRA Natalia Porokhova. In Russia, there are. For lines with a capacity of 6.6 million tons per year, much more powerful turbines will be needed. But those are not in Russia, says Mikhail Lifshits, director of development of high-technology assets of the Renova Group. In the medium term, Russia needs a GTU project of 180 MW to ensure the independence of the industry, this will allow it to develop its own technologies and expertise. But when making investment decisions it is necessary to take into account, among other things, that the main trend is the movement towards distributed generation, and this puts the GTU project of high power into question in the long run.