Until alternative sources of fuel are widely accepted and utilized in society, we will continue to rely on the mining, oil, and gas industries to produce and deliver our fuel supply. Shifting economic demands, environmental restrictions, and growth of commercial and residential developments have forced wells, plants, drilling operations, and refineries to be “off the grid” and located where there is no access to electrical power. In order to function normally and safely, they must maintain operations 24 hours a day and be completely self-reliant in terms of generating electricity - this means they need to use batteries and generators as their primary energy sources. Easy right? What about their declining energy efficiency because of waste heat?
Well, there are two major problems that stand out: batteries eventually die and are expensive to replace, and fuel to power conventional generators (often propane or gas) eventually runs out and is expensive to replace - not to mention transport to remote locations. Instead of relying on energy sources that work, but not as effectively as they could be - why not utilize waste heat recovery? Enter thermoelectric generators (TEG’s) with their versatile functionalities and abilities to generate power in extreme conditions and isolated areas.
So, why do the oil, gas, and mining industries trust powering their complex pumps and systems, sensors, and monitoring equipment to thermoelectric generators?
They’re an Efficient Alternative Power Supply
Oil and gas production requires constant, massive amounts of energy and they’re not always as efficient as they could be, omitting waste heat into the environment. Thermoelectric technology offers a unique alternative in that thermoelectric generators effectively and efficiently convert thermal energy and waste heat to DC power that keeps critical systems operational. The impact on oil, gas, and mining industries means that TEG’s can help to reduce ongoing costs of battery powered maintenance and fuel for traditional generators while providing an efficient solution for processing waste heat.
They’re Accessible and Reliable
Constructing and operating massive rigs and refineries in remote areas comes with countless unique challenges, and generating power isn’t one of them thanks to thermoelectric generators. The flexibility and accessibility from TEG’s enables these industries to operate remotely - the generators are relatively easy to transport and can generate power regardless of temperature or time-of-day. For most operations, solar panels are great for generating energy during the day when the sun is shining, but if it’s nighttime or a cloudy day, thermoelectric sources are preferred to keep production moving and maximize efficiency while reducing energy costs.
TEG’s by design are much more durable than other alternative energy sources and can fully operate in extreme conditions. II-VI Marlow’s TG line of thermoelectric generators are ideal to use as coolers for critical, sensitive components that are required for down-hole drilling. Down-hole drilling requires precise movements to exactly map where the well needs to be. This is monitored by sensors inside the drill and as the drill gets deeper, the heat and pressure gets more intense - keeping systems operational becomes all the more critical and drilling operators trust TEG’s to prevent sensitive components from overheating.
Most oil companies utilize a digital field oil initiatives for monitoring - this helps to increase data collection and storage while reducing manpower. They could be utilizing batteries (that will need to be constantly replaced) to maintain system operations, but by using II-VI Marlow TEG solutions that self-adjust to their environments, they can implement long-lasting, low-power and low-maintenance solutions to power their precise remote-sensing applications.
II-VI Marlow is in partnership with multiple oil, gas, and mining suppliers - the reliability of II-VI Marlow's thermoelectric technologies will allow applications to evolve and succeed in the oil, gas, and mining industries.
Do you have a thermoelectric challenge or question? Feel free to reach out to our experts.