Enabling the Future of Energy
We believe the energy landscape of tomorrow will have two major themes – conservation of existing resources, and development of new ones – and we believe aerogel will play a big part in both. The role of insulation in conservation is clear; by keeping hot things hot and cold things cold, insulation makes energy go where we need it. But did you also know that flexible aerogel insulation products can help in the development of unconventional sources of energy? Hotter, colder, further, faster – see how Pyrogel®, Cryogel® and Spaceloft® are helping to build the future of energy, today.
The first offshore LNG regasification terminal
Building the world’s first offshore LNG regasification terminal on a 180 x 90 m platform posed an unprecedented set of construction challenges. Complex logistics, fire-sensitive areas, and an aggressive schedule left Cryogel Z® as the preferred solution for insulating the tight spaces around the cryogenic valves and flanges. Aspen Aerogels helped train hundreds of insulators to install what was, at the time, a brand new insulation material. Nearly five years and 300 cargoes later, Cryogel Z® is still going strong.
The idea of putting a gas liquefaction plant on a boat –floating LNG, or FLNG – has opened up a whole new range of possibilities for fueling the future. Actually fitting it on the boat is another thing. As one of the thinnest cryogenic insulation materials on Earth, Cryogel Z® is already helping resolve the mechanical clashes that arise when compacting a major industrial facility into one-quarter of its land-based footprint; and providing faster installation, better fire protection, easier logistics, and greater in-service reliability doesn’t hurt either.
Getting Oil from Oil Sands
To extract oil from the buried tar sand deposits of Northern Alberta, Canada, operators must often move 300°C (570°F) steam and diluted bitumen through long, insulated pipelines. Insulating these lines in the field is hazardous and costly due to the remoteness and extreme environmental conditions. Pre-insulated piping systems provide superior quality, speed, and cost but, prior to the introduction of Pyrogel®, most were not capable of handling temperatures above 150°C (300°F). As the only insulation material that can handle both the heat and the mechanical abuse inherent to handling and trucking pre-insulated systems, Pyrogel® has opened up an entirely new construction model in the Canadian oil sands.
Long Subsea Tie-Backs
We believe much of the world’s future oil production will take place offshore, but not all subsea reservoirs are created equal. Some are too deep, some are too hot, some are too cool, and some are too far from a production platform for conventionally insulated subsea pipelines to work. When these challenges arise, operators turn to pipe-in-pipe designs insulated with Spaceloft® Subsea. Spaceloft® Subsea can be wrapped around the flowline and encased in a smaller carrier pipe than would otherwise be required. The result is more pipe on the pipe-lay vessel, less weight suspended from the platform, and better, more reliable insulation to keep the oil flowing.
Concentrated Solar Power
Concentrated solar power (CSP) uses energy from the sun to heat fluids that ultimately spin a turbine and generate electricity. To smooth out the natural variations in available sunlight, many facilities use storage tanks to keep their fluids warm through the night. For these tanks to do their job properly, they must be not just insulated, but super-insulated. Thin, durable, and easy to install, Pyrogel® is already helping these facilities hang onto their precious energy and deliver clean, reliable power to the grid.