A Q&A: The Baker Hughes Turbomachinery Perspective

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Leonardo Baldassarre—Executive General Manager of Engineering, Platform Leader for Compressors, Pumps, and Expanders at Baker Hughes’ Industrial and Energy Technology (IET) business—talks about the company's latest developments and more.

Q: Tell us about your latest turbomachinery developments.

Baldassarre: The NovaLT16 combustion system can now operate with fuel gas compositions up to high percentages of hydrogen while delivering 15ppm NOx when operating with natural gas. The machine is undergoing testing of a new combustor with 100% hydrogen capability.

The High-Pressure Ratio Compressors (HPRC) we developed a few years ago are now being used at higher speeds for hydrogen applications. As hydrogen has a low molecular weight, its compression must be fast and multi-stage. The HPRC can provide up to 9-10 stages in a single casing and speeds of 450 M/sec speed with a compressor ratio up to 2.2-2.3 (compared to about 1.5 for a traditional compressor). There is also an H2PRC in develop-ment that can spin at 650 m/sec and deliver pressure ratios in excess of three.

Q: What are you doing to increase compressor efficiency and reduce leakage?

Baldassarre: On the LNG side, Baker Hughes just completed a new project in Qatar to increase efficiency of LNG compressors by 5% compared to those sent there originally in 2003, while reducing their footprint by 15%. Thermoplastic materials were used to reduce compressor leakage.

Baker Hughes has also been working with Dry Gas Seal (DGS) and other suppliers on component reliability. To reduce methane leakage, small compression packages capture any lost gas and refeed it back to the compressor, or onto a gas turbine for power generation.


The Baker Hughes integrated compressor line with magnetic bearings and an electric motor is being promoted as a solution for pipelines, storage, and other equipment to eliminate leakage. This technology eliminates venting and the need for DGS on compressors.

Q: Any further developments you can tell us about?

Baldassarre: We are standardizing electric motor-driven packages leveraging our portfolio, which includes Brush and Lufkin product lines, to reduce footprints by 15%-20% for offshore applications in Saudi Arabia and Brazil. For carbon capture, we are implementing an integrally geared, multi-shaft, intercooled machine that can reach more than 200 bar.

We are investing in compressed air energy storage to make the technology more cost competitive.