Tag Archives: Natural Gas

Getting Educated

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A couple years ago I got moved from a commercial position at work to an engineering type job and it has been a transition. I went from having almost constant interaction with my fellow commercial people to hardly any interaction on a daily basis in engineering. Literally there are some days where I don’t talk to anybody else at work. So that has been a struggle but I got a little break earlier this week.
An engineering company in town hosted a natural gas engineering symposium and invited a bunch of people to come in and learn a few things free, gratis, breakfast and lunch included. Sign me up is what I say.

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Plus there were continuing education hours involved. Those of us who are Licensed Professional Engineers need to have 15 hours of continuing education every year. So free hours were a bonus. 

So I am not really an engineer’s engineer, or anybody’s engineer for that matter but I love learning about the new technology and in the natural gas world there is lots of new technology. The machine above is an Expander Recompressor. It takes natural gas and cools it to about minus 130 degrees F to partially liquify it in order to remove the ethane, propane, butane, and natural gasoline out of the gas. This machine is cool. It does that without oil. It uses magnetic bearings! Dealing with oil at minus 130 is the pain in the butt. It can be done but using magnetic bearings is a lot better. 

They talked about levitation. You turn a switch and you levitate the shaft. on its bearings. It can stay levitated for years. Who says there is no magic in the world. 

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And we got a shop tour. They said to ask before I took photographs. This is about the only one they let me take. I literally asked them if I could pictures of the windows and they said yes. What I really wanted to take a picture of was this gigantic stainless steel apparatus that was headed to one of our national laboratories to use liquid helium to cool a particle accelerator. That would have been a cool pic, but no can do, oh no!! So you get these windows instead. Just imagine something ginormous, very cool, and made of shiny stainless steel. 

But that is just a quibble. Getting a shop tour is a rare privilege these days because of safety concerns. Believe it or not but that is a huge thing these days and I fully support it. And part of safety is avoidance of risk and it is just a lot easier to just say no, but this company said okay. Of course we got a safety briefing from their safety guys and we had safety guys bird dogging us through the whole tour and we wearing our PPE (“Personal Protective Equipment”) hardhat, safety glasses, and ear protection. 

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But hey, I got over it when we went to Tulsa’s Oktoberfest later. I soothed my feelings with an imported malted adult beverage. 

I have seen some other cool stuff lately that I can post pics about, but that is for another day.

Have you seen anything cool lately?