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John Crane discusses managing gas emissions

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

A United Nations (UN) panel examining the critical role gas will play in achieving the international organisation’s Sustainable Development Goals has invited an expert from John Crane to showcase how the firm’s technology is reducing methane emissions in sectors of the natural gas industry by up to 95%. John Crane is a division of the global technology company Smiths Group Plc. Paul Hosking, senior product marketing manager, gave a presentation at the UN’s Economic Commission for Europe’s Committee on Sustainable Energy to the Group of Experts on Gas. The meeting took place in Geneva on 27 and 28 March.

The Group provides a forum for multi-stakeholder dialogue on sustainable and clean production, distribution and consumption of natural gas in the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) region. It has established a taskforce to develop best practice guidance on reducing methane emissions along the gas value chain.

In the natural gas sector, centrifugal compressors equipped with oil seal technology are generally acknowledged as the leading source of methane emissions offshore and the fourth most significant onshore. John Crane pioneered the development of non-contacting gas seal technology in the 1960s and the innovation was first used commercially during the 1980s. Used as an alternative to oil seals, gas seals substantially lower operating costs, improve reliability and reduce emissions.

“In contrast to the older oil seal technology, gas seal technology eliminates the need for oil lubrication and the resulting need to address methane that becomes entrapped in the oil,” said Mr Hosking.

Now widely recognised and adopted in almost all new projects worldwide, gas seal technology can also be retrofitted to the many centrifugal compressors equipped with oil seals that are still in operation. As an area of interest this emission source, and the technology John Crane invented to manage it, is highly relevant to the group.

“As the market leader, John Crane is perfectly placed to showcase this technology and demonstrate the cost effectiveness of this solution when retrospectively applied to existing equipment. Gas seal technology is proven and the ability to retrofit oil seal technology with gas seal technology and deliver methane savings is proven,” Hosking adds. Our expertise in this area has recently led to the development of a lifecycle cost calculator that enables a full analysis of the economic case for retrofit from oil seals to gas seals and the next best alternatives. In many cases it is a win-win for business and the environment. Indeed gas seal technology is one of a very few technology solutions that has the potential to simultaneously meet the needs of industry, governments and other stakeholders.”

The UN’s Committee on Sustainable Energy’s Group of Experts on Gas contains representatives from major energy companies, industry bodies, government representatives and academic experts.

Mr Hosking is responsible for gas seal and gas seal systems portfolios at John Crane. Originally from Plymouth, UK, Mr Hosking holds both a Bachelor and Masters of Engineering from the University of Cambridge. Since joining John Crane in 1995, he has held a variety of roles in Operations, General Management, Business Development and Marketing. Mr Hosking is the co-inventor of two patents relating to the mechanical seal industry. He is based in Morton Grove, Illinois.

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