Natural gas is transported in pipelines over many thousands of kilometers to destinations around the globe, both overland and via the seabed. The flow of gas must be prevented from ebbing and drying up. Every now and again, giant compressors, like springs, with the power of about 100 car engines provide the necessary boost. But in the process, methane gas escapes. Until now, at least. The recently developed zero-emission mechanical seal, CobaDGS, from Freudenberg’s EagleBurgmann Business Group uses nitrogen to prevent these harmful emissions. The sealing innovation makes a sustainable contribution to curbing global warming.
Methane is the main component of natural gas and has a much greater greenhouse effect than carbon dioxide (CO2). Dr. Ferdinand Werdecker, Director of Engineering for Compressor Seals at EagleBurgmann predicts: If all the compressors in German pipelines no longer allowed the escape of methane emissions directly into the atmosphere and were instead sealed with CobaDGS, 15,000 tons of direct methane gas emissions could be avoided annually. This corresponds to 1.3 million tons when converted to carbon dioxide (CO2), which is equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions of around 600,000 private households. The new sealing technology could save four times this amount throughout Europe, and even fifty times the amount worldwide – equivalent to more than 63 million tons of CO2 per year.