The Road to Single Digit NOx for Oilfield Once-Through Steam Generators

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Title The Road to Single Digit NOx for Oilfield Once-Through Steam Generators
Creator Nowakowski, John
Contributor Robertson, Tom; Coleman, Beverly; Storslett, Stein; and Brancaccio, Nicholas
Date 2013-09-25
Subject AFRC 2013 Industrial Combustion Symposium
Description Paper from the AFRC 2013 conference titled The Road to Single Digit NOx for Oilfield Once-Through Steam Generatorsby John Nowakowski
Abstract This paper will walk you through how the San Joaquin Valley (SJV), where heavy oil extraction is enhanced by steam injection, came to have some of the strictest limits on Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) emissions in the world and what technological advances have been necessary to meet these limits while maintaining acceptable steam generator performance. This also paper explains the motivation for a collaborative project amongst the University of Utah, Chevron USA Inc. (Chevron), and Fives North American Combustion, Inc. (Fives North American) to examine NOx formation mechanisms in modern steam generators. The University of Utah will present the technical results of our collaboration in a separate paper titled Evaluating the NOx Performance of a Steam Generator for Heavy Oil Production: Validation/Uncertainty Quantification in the Field. The SJV has been designated as a "non-attainment area" for Federal and California ambient ozone and PM2.5 standards for many years. The SJV Air Pollution Control District (APCD) has promulgated regulations to control direct and/or precursor emissions of PM2.5 and ozone. NOx is a precursor for both pollutants. This has led SJV to have some of the strictest NOx limits on stationary sources in the world. These NOx limits have been a driving force for steam generator burner technology changes in SJV. Steam generators producing 60-80% quality steam are used in thermally enhanced oil recovery (TEOR) processes. In the SJV there are over 400 such generators, of which over 150 are operated by Chevron North America Exploration and Production Company (a division of Chevron U.S.A., Inc.). Over the past 40 years in SJV, NOx regulations have led to reducing steam generator NOx emissions over 95%, from over 300 ppm while burning recovered heavy oil in the mid-1960s and 1970s to limits today of 5 to 15 ppm (depending on when the steam generator was installed and compliance was achieved) with natural gas-burning, low-NOx combustion systems. If NOx reductions beyond the current lowest limits are required, further combustion technology innovation will be required. Meeting the ongoing challenge of ultra-low steam generator emissions requires commitment by both oil producers and combustion system providers. Partnerships, such as the one Chevron and Fives North American have entered with the University of Utah to explore combustion dynamics in steam generators, will also be important during the next 50 years of thermally enhanced oil recovery for heavy oil producers.
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ARK ark:/87278/s60c7sw4
Setname uu_afrc
Date Created 2014-10-14
Date Modified 2014-10-14
ID 14367
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