Ingestion of wet-gas (mostly gas with a small volume fraction of liquid) can have a significant impact on the performance and life of a reciprocating compressor. It is not well understood how this liquid will impact a reciprocating compressor, as very little research has been performed in this area, particularly in the area of compressor efficiency and power requirements. However, this is an important area of research as many well-head and refinery compressors operate with gas that contains various fractions of liquids.
The goal of this project is to expand on the current understanding of wet gas compression in regard to compressor efficiency. Issues related to long-term durability of the compressor’s components were not investigated. Using a reciprocating compressor allows for in-cylinder instrumentation measurement of the thermodynamic effects of wet gas compression separate from any aerodynamic effects such as those that would result from valve losses or blade losses in a centrifugal impeller. This lays the foundation for subsequent tests in other types of machinery or piping components in evaluating the cost of wet gas operation.
Thus, a series of tests were performed on the impact of varying amounts liquid volume fractions (LVFs) of water in the process gas (air) in a reciprocating compressor open test loop. The data was reduced using PV cards inside and outside the cylinder as well as torque to determine the impact of volume faction on compression power and efficiency. Additionally, the valve losses, system efficiencies, and the peak compression “spike” were evaluated in relation to LVF.