By September 10, 2015 Read More →

ElectraTherm develops system to generate electricity from well flaring

ElectraTherm uses gas to fuel industrial boiler, which heats water to run Power+ Generator

Flaring natural gas from shale wells has become a big problem and regulators are taking notice. Nevada-based ElectraTherm says the solution is producing electricity with the gas.


Photo: ElectraTherm

Last year, while oil prices were high and drillers were operating in high gear, it was estimated that every month North Dakota alone flared $100 million worth of natural gas. The reason? Prices are too low to justify building the infrastructure to capture the gas and take it to market.

Texas, with its more developed gas pipeline infrastructure, has strict regulations that only allow flaring for short periods after a well is completed or if there is a maintenance issue. As a consequence, about 0.8 per cent of Texas gas is flared, which is line with other states. But in the North Dakota Bakken, that figure can be as high as 30 per cent.

As state regulators clamp down on flaring, one of the solutions is to turn the uneconomic gas into electricity. ElectraTherm, which describes itself as a leader in distributed waste heat to power generation, partnered with a major oil and gas company to commission a Power+ Generator at a North Dakota oil well.

ElectraTherm says it applies “Organic Rankine Cycle” and proprietary technologies to generate power from low temperature heat ranging from 170-252°F.

At the well, natural gas that would otherwise be flared is instead used to fuel an industrial boiler. The boiler heats water to run the Power+ Generator, and produces clean energy (as low as 9 ppm NOx) that is used for onsite processes, offsetting the cost of electricity from the grid or expensive diesel generators.

“We’re capturing a wasted fuel source that was being flared to the atmosphere, and putting that fuel to use in the oil fields,” said John Fox, ElectraTherm CEO.

“The emissions profile of the site is greatly improved, the power is consumed on site and the equipment is easy to install and maintain.”

The project was undertaken  with ElectraTherm distributor Gulf Coast Green Energy and funding was provided by the Department of Energy’s Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (REPSEA) program and the Houston Advanced Research Center’s (HARC) Environmentally Friendly Drilling Program.


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