Waste Heat Recovery Opportunities for Interstate Natural Gas Pipelines

This white paper, Waste Heat Opportunities for Interstate Natural Gas Pipelines, prepared for INGAA by Bruce A. Hedman, an expert on distributed generation and waste energy recovery with the consulting firm of EEA-ICF, analyzes the current status and future potential for three energy efficiency applications – power generation from waste heat recovered from compressor drives, turboexpander systems that generate power from pressure reduction at city gates, and inlet air cooling technologies – in terms of applicability on interstate pipeline systems.

The white paper includes details of a voluntary proposal developed by INGAA’s member companies to work in partnership with third-party developers to facilitate the development of compressor heat recovery for power generation where such projects can be economic.


“Pipelines recognize the need to promote increased energy efficiency and reduce green house gas emissions. Although the economics of pipeline waste heat to power projects can be marginal in many applications, recent experience demonstrates that pipelines have been open to pursuing waste heat to power projects where the economics warrant,” stated Mr. Hedman.


The white paper reviews existing and planned energy efficiency projects and identifies the participants in recent projects. The paper also indentifies key technical, economic and business factors affecting the viability of each energy recovery option


“There are applications where heat recovery for power can be and is being economically applied to the pipeline system – where power purchase prices include some incentive for clean energy and where compressor capacity and load factor are both above certain minimums. Turboexpanders and turbine inlet air cooling, however, do not appear to be viable commercial options for interstate natural gas pipelines under current conditions,” stated Mr. Hedman.