Abstract

This paper describes the design and development of an innovative 280 kW and a 125 kW Turboexpander Generator (TEG) for natural gas pressure letdown (PLD) applications. The flange-to-flange TEG is supported by active magnetic bearings (AMB) and uses an advanced thrust balancing scheme to minimize the net load on the thrust bearing. The machine designs for the two TEG frame sizes are very similar to maintain commonality between parts. A review of the high-speed generator (HSG) and AMB design is provided. A complete AMB closed-loop dynamics study is presented, including a comprehensive rotordynamics and controls analysis. The touchdown bearing design is shown and discussed, and design details of the touchdown bearing resilient mount are presented. The touchdown bearings are given resilience with a tolerance ring. A detailed simulation of a rotor touchdown event at full speed is shown. The magnetic bearing controller (MBC) and variable speed drive (VSD) are located approximately 35 m from the TEG, exposed to the outside environment, and are not required to be explosion-proof. The prototype TEGs are intended to be manufactured and tested in Q1 2021. They will be commissioned, and field tested in Q2 2021. A follow-up paper detailing the mechanical testing and field testing of the units will follow in 2022.

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