Chemical Energy Transport

Chemical fuels have very desirable characteristics for the transport of energy. Chemical fuels are portable and can be carried on trucks, trains, planes and boats. Chemical fuels can be pumped continental distances through pipelines without significant loss. The other method of energy transport, electricity, is limited to transmission over wires. From a comparison of the properties of transport of energy as chemical fuel and as electricity, it will be shown a chemical fuel offers advantages of simplicity, efficiency and reliability when compared to electricity. In addition, with today's technology a chemical fuel appears to be the only way to power transportation.

Pipeline transport is used throughout the world to transport natural gas and oil. At the source, the gas or oil is pumped to high pressure and introduced into a pipe. At this point, the pipe must be quite strong to resist the high pressure of its contents. At appropriate points, the large pipeline is divided into smaller pipes for distribution to specific areas or regions. The smaller lines can be operated at the same pressure as the main line or at a lower pressure depending on the length of the smaller line and its desired flow rate. Simple valves and orifices can control the flow and pressure of the fluid in the line. The process of branching into smaller and smaller lines with pressure reduction is continued until the pipeline arrives at its final destination. For reasonable costs, the pipeline systems can serve users as large as several states or as small as an individual home. For industrial customers, with large usage, the pipe lines are large and the pressure relatively high. For small users, such as individual homes, the pipeline can be quite slender and the pressure low. The delivery of the energy through this type of system is very reliable. Pipelines have been in use for more than 150 years. They have provided high quality service to industry and individual homes. Figure 4.1 shows a pipeline distribution point in Northeast Ohio.

Figure 4.1 Pipeline Distribution Point

Big pipe Feeding Smaller Pipes for Local Distribution

Figure 4.1 Pipeline Distribution Point

Big pipe Feeding Smaller Pipes for Local Distribution

Pipelines lose little of their contents by direct leakage, but energy is consumed by friction as the fluid flows through the pipe. To make up for this friction, and to keep the contents moving at the desired rate, pumping stations are established along the lines. Some pumping stations consume fuel from the pipeline to provide the pumping energy, others use electric energy obtained from the local grid. Whichever source of pumping energy is used, the effect on the total system is to deliver less energy to the customer than was initially available. The amount of energy used in pumping is strongly dependent on the design and length of the pipeline system. As a rule of thumb, less than 5% of the energy put into the pipeline is consumed in pumping and, is thus, unavailable to the customer.155

Figure 4.2 shows the surface manifestation of a pipeline in Northeast Ohio. These are located approximately one kilometer apart and near any point where someone might be expected to try to dig or place a building. Farming and trees can be planted over the pipeline.

Figure 4.2 Pipeline

Surface Manifestation - About One per Kilometer

Figure 4.2 Pipeline

Surface Manifestation - About One per Kilometer

155 Jensen E. K. and EDis, H. S., "Pipelines", Scientific American, Vol. 216, No. 1, January 1967, Page 62

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Guide to Alternative Fuels

Guide to Alternative Fuels

Your Alternative Fuel Solution for Saving Money, Reducing Oil Dependency, and Helping the Planet. Ethanol is an alternative to gasoline. The use of ethanol has been demonstrated to reduce greenhouse emissions slightly as compared to gasoline. Through this ebook, you are going to learn what you will need to know why choosing an alternative fuel may benefit you and your future.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment