As a globally abundant alternative to oil, natural gas is an increasingly popular form of energy that utilities use to generate low-cost electricity and the chemical industry uses to produce basic commodity chemicals. Additionally, compressed natural gas is being used in a growing number of light duty trucks and fleet vehicles thanks to a “cost per gallon” that is roughly $1 less than traditional gasoline.
All of these trends are helping to drive the rapid expansion of the natural gas industry, which is, in turn, spurring increased global demand for natural gas dehydration and filtration technologies from SPX FLOW. James Doherty, vice president of SPX FLOW Industrial’s dehydration business, explains how this trend and others are impacting the dehydration industry.
How is the global abundance of natural gas helping to drive growth in the dehydration industry?
In today’s dehydration industry, the most exciting trend is the global expansion of the natural gas industry. The sheer abundance of natural gas – and its appeal as an energy source – is driving major growth across the dehydration industry. That’s because dehydration equipment – specifically compressed air and gas – plays an integral part in the drying process necessary to create purified compressed natural gas. And as such, we are seeing more and more demand for our compressed natural gas dryers.
The prospects for continued growth are very strong, especially in light of the rapidly expanding natural gas vehicle (or NGV) market. Over the next two years, it is estimated that there may be as many as 6,000 to 8,000 compressed natural gas stations installed across the U.S. to serve the growing demand of natural gas powered vehicles.
In response to this anticipated growth, our design team has developed the next generation Fuel Station Single Tower Dryer (FSD-A) that improves performance and energy efficiency. The FSD-A single tower solution incorporates a regeneration package, and is equipped with high performance particulate and oil removal filtration for advanced fueling system protection. The FSD-A footprint is optimized for ease of transport, installation and service in tight spaces.
How are sustainability and energy-efficiency trends shaping demand?
Like many other industries, sustainability and energy conservation are increasingly at the forefront of our customers’ minds in their decision-making process, and as a result, we have been developing new solutions to help our customers drive operational efficiencies and reduced energy usage. Our customers want dehydration solutions that operate as efficiently as possible and require minimal energy consumption.
In response, we launched a new line of energy-saving dryers in the middle of 2013, and so far, the dryers have been very well-received in the marketplace. As we look ahead to the next five years and beyond, we think there will be a sustained emphasis on energy savings and environmentally friendly solutions will be strong market drivers.
How are SPX FLOW’s dryers energy efficient?
Our dryers are reliable, well-proven and designed for long life. In addition, the dryers deliver efficient operation with features such as Automated Moisture Load Control (AMLOC®) on our Heat-Les dryers. The AMLOC®) energy saving functionality reduces cycle frequency for regeneration using capacitance probes to assess the state of the drying bed and precisely control when switchover is required. As well as offering significant energy savings, this proven technology extends component life and ensures consistent dew points. Additional Energy Management options provided by SPX FLOW will facilitate changeover of dryer towers on dewpoint measurement, extending changeover time and reducing energy consumption when the dryer is not running at its maximum flow capacity.
Does SPX FLOW provide dehydration aftermarket services?
Yes. In dehydration, we operate a designated aftermarket fulfillment center that is completely separate from all our manufacturing facilities. If a customer places an order with us before 4:00 p.m. Eastern time on any given day, we will ship the aftermarket parts that same day. This availability and responsiveness has played a significant role in helping us earn and retain customer loyalty and has helped us expand our distribution, particularly in North America and Canada.
How does SPX FLOW approach working with today’s air compressor OEMs?
Today, SPX FLOW is one of the largest independent dehydration companies in the industry, and over the years, we have established good working relationships with a large number of leading air compressor equipment manufacturers around the world. The combination of working with OEM’s, EPC’s, Distributors, Sales Representatives and End Users has proven very beneficial to our business in terms of current and future growth opportunities.
SPX FLOW Dehydration provides the complete range of capital equipment, aftermarket parts and service for the increasing demand within the global compressed air and gas purification industry.