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Chinese linear motor oil pump cuts energy use by up to 30%

09 May, 2007

A Chinese motor manufacturer claims to have developed the world’s first vertical oilwell pump to be driven by a powerful cylindrical synchronous linear motor. Harbin Electric says that its new pump design will cut energy requirements by 20-30% compared to traditional oilwell pumps, as well as reducing maintenance costs.

The pump uses a patented technology that gauges the power needed to lift liquid out of a wellhead, and adjusts the pumping action in real time to minimise the use of energy. Harbin has already been awarded three Chinese patents for the technology used in the pump, and two more are pending.

Harbin oilwell pump

Harbin began to develop the pump and its permanent magnet linear motor three years ago. For the past 18 months, a prototype (shown above) has been running at the Daquing oilfield operated by the China National Petroleum Corporation. Based on this trial, Daquing Petrolueum – China’s largest oil producer, with an annual output of some 50 million tonnes – has placed an order for 13 more pumps to be delivered by the end of this year at an average price of around $52,000 each.

The Chinese government has set a target of cutting its energy consumption by 20% per unit of GDP (gross domestic product). It is also introducing tough mandatory minimum efficiency levels for electric motors sold in the country.

"This product development is an important milestone for our company as it further positions Harbin Electric as a leader in industrial motor technology," says Tianfu Yang, the company’s chairman and chief executive. "We believe this product will add to our growth in the years ahead and supports our corporate goal to introduce intelligent, efficient solutions to the global industrial motor marketplace."

Harbin focuses on linear and other specialised motors, both for the Chinese market and for OEM customers outside China. The company, which has around 270 employees, has an operation in the US and is listed on the NASDAQ exchange.

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