Opportunities for Efficiency Improvements in the U.S. Natural Gas Transmission, Storage and Distribution System

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This report provides an in-depth review of the U.S. natural gas transmission, storage and distribution system, from gas gathering at wellheads to final delivery to consumers, with a focus on energy efficiency opportunities. Drawing upon several resources published by the U.S. government and the natural gas industry, as well as a number of research papers and company publications, this report provides an overview of system components, historical and potential future trends, technical efficiency opportunities, cost estimates, and a final synthesis. While not comprehensive, a number of general conclusions can be drawn from the available information. There are a number of technical efficiency opportunities located throughout the natural gas infrastructure system that have yet to be fully realized. This includes improvements in compressors, prime movers (gas engines/turbines and electric motors), and capacity/operational choices; pipeline sizing, layout, cleaning, and interior coatings; and opportunities for waste heat recovery. While the natural gas gathering, processing, and transmission infrastructure being built as part of efforts to expand natural gas system capacity will generally be more efficient than existing natural gas infrastructure currently in place, there are opportunities to improve the efficiency of existing equipment (e.g. pipelines and compressor systems) through replacement and/or upgrades.

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