March 20, 2013
Wärtsilä's GasReformer Wins OTC Technology Award

Wärtsilä has introduced the GasReformer, which uses steam reforming technology to convert associated gas to a quality that can be used as fuel in gas fuelled engines. The GasReformer has been awarded the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) 2013 Spotlight on New Technology Award.

The award recognises innovative new products that provide significant impact for offshore exploration and production. The award criteria were that the product must be new, less than two years old, innovative, proven, have broad interest and appeal for the offshore industry, and provide significant benefits beyond existing technologies.

Methane Rich Product

The GasReformer enables gases produced during oil production, which by nature are rich in heavy hydrocarbons, to be converted into a methane rich product for utilisation in Wärtsilä dual-fuel engines operating at full performance levels. Traditionally, such gases would be flared and wasted. While catalytic conversion of hydrocarbon feeds to hydrogen is a known process dating back to the early twentieth century, the GasReformer represents a totally new application under quite different conditions than that of the traditional process.

Reducing Cost and Emissions

Associated gas from oil production is normally considered waste and is consequently flared into the atmosphere. The World Bank-led Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership estimates that globally around 150 billion cubic metres of gas are flared or vented every year, causing some 400 million tons of carbon dioxide in annual emissions. That is equivalent to 30 per cent of the European Union's gas consumption. The GasReformer treats this gas and converts it into a stable composition that can be used as fuel. This means that oil platforms and FPSO's, which demand high levels of power, can utilise an energy source that was earlier not used at all. Furthermore, since the power demand was previously met using marine diesel oil (MDO), the bunkering of MDO can mostly be eliminated when using the GasReformer. This results in direct and measurable cost savings.

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