Compressor Design Optimization

using the System Performance Model


Compressor design optimization evaluates opportunities to improve throughput (capacity) and efficiency, and reduce unnecessary fuel gas cost.

This approach is ideal for pipeline, midstream, or injection-withdrawal applications, to name a few.

Optimization generates millions of dollars (per year) in incremental throughput. It improves efficiency, which results in increased fuel savings and reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Optimization also ensures higher reliability and safety over the entire operating envelope.  

Note: A standard API 618 pulsation analysis does not include a truly optimized solution.


BETA and ACI Services, Inc. joined forces to develop this innovative solution.

  • The service applies to both new compressor installations or modified (revamped) projects.
  • The owner and EPC can evaluate different alternatives and make informed decisions.  
  • BETA utilizes the System Performance Model™ (SPM™), to analyze the compressor performance and identify conditions that will be a potential problem for the operator. 

The compressor optimization service can include these different options:

1. Validate Capacity/Performance for New or Modified Compressors

The traditional approach is to design the unit based on generic assumptions about the system pressure drop. This can result in +/- 10% error in the performance. Unfortunately, many customers may not discover the error until the unit is installed. The System Performance Model software evaluates the entire system, including the dynamic pressure drop, and validates if the design can meet the required specification. 

2. Optimize the Compressor Design

The System Performance Model enables the team to easily evaluate different alternatives and identify the optimal design. The approach considers financial and economic measures, performance, vibration, rod loads, temperatures, and other reliability factors. The result has a significant financial benefit to the owner.

The Service can evaluate different capacity control solutions, modified pulsation control, and changes to other components. 

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Compressor Optimization with SPM CompressorTech2 article

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> SPM article CompressorTech2 pdf

System Performance model
An optimized solution is achieved by evaluating performance from "fence to fence" and across the entire operating map using our System Performance Model (SPM).
Pressure drop across the entire system is improved with new approach
Actual Example: For this key design condition, the optimization study resulted in 20% less pressure drop than the existing solution.

3. Model the Entire Operating Envelope

For pipeline applications, it is critical to model a wide variety of conditions, including future design scenarios. In the past this was often impossible, given the limited software modeling tools.

With the SPM program, it is now feasible to model the complete operating envelope (which means over hundreds of different operating conditions). Evaluating the entire operating envelope greatly improves the overall reliability of the package.

Operating Map

 4. Evaluate Multiple Compressors at a Station

BETA can analyze multiple compressors and evaluate the interaction of the different units. We have completed projects with over 20 units at one compressor station (note that there is no limit to the number of units we can include in the model). This capability is required to address different operating or loading scenarios, as well as pulsation implications to centrifugal compressors.


5. Integrate System Performance Data in the Control Software

The compressor’s performance characteristics can be imported into the PLC or compressor control system (for the entire operating envelope). This enables operators to run the units more efficiently, avoid dangerous operating conditions, and generate higher throughput.  

Further Information

Contact BETA or ACI's Application Specialists for a SPECIFICATION on on this service, or for advice on how this optimization approach can assist your next project.

Piedmont pipeline compressor station

Piedmont compressor station optimized using SPM modeling and engineering support from ACI Services and Beta Machinery Analysis.