A company called 2OC is planning to install mini turbines in natural gas pipelines to generate electricity. The gas is at too high a pressure when it comes out of the ground for safe distribution so sites known as letdown stations are used to release the pressure. The turbines would be installed in these stations and could generate as much as one coal or nuclear power station.
2OC admits that this is an expensive way to generate electrity. But it is making use of energy that would otherwise be wasted. The letdown process also has a cooling effect- as the gas expands its temperature drops drastically- and the company are looking at ways to use this such as cooling data centres.
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