Natural gas is one of the most common (and cleanest) fossil fuels used in our everyday lives. In the United States, natural gas supplies nearly one-fourth of all of the energy used, according to the American Gas Association. But have you ever wondered where all that gas comes from?
Before it gets to your home natural gas travels thousands of miles in offshore and onshore pipelines across countries, sometimes even continents. In order to cover such distances, NG travels at high pressure in the pipelines, from 200 to 1500 pounds per square inch (psig) [ 13.8 to 103.4 barg]. But before being delivered in your home, the pressure is reduced to the level required for appliances that consume the gas to approximately 3 psig. [ 0.2barg]. The energy of the pressurized gas is typically lost.
The same happens with many other industrial gases transmitted by pipelines (oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, etc.) - as well as to many process gases within complex industrial plants.
Cryonod™ is a patented solution created by the Engineering & Construction teams of the industrial gases and services leader Air Liquide - a long-time partner of the Solar Impulse Foundation - to turn this wasted pressure loss into usable energy. The solution works by converting the energy available in pressure reductions from various gas networks to liquefy natural gas and hydrogen in cryogenic liquefaction units.
By using cryogenic expanders and exchangers within its cold boxes, Cryonod™ can liquefy natural gas and hydrogen with little to no energy, reduced capital investment as well as carbon footprint. With this, it is possible to produce cost efficient and clean cryogenic liquids that can be supplied to local distribution markets, including liquid hydrogen for car fueling stations. The liquid produced from this process is approximately 25% cheaper and emits 30% less CO2 as compared to a classical reference unit.