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Efficiency is a significant priority to every business operating in the full range of oil and gas markets. The sustained oil low price has certainly driven major changes across all aspects of the exploration and production industries in recent years.

In 2014, a report by McKinsey into the efficiency of North Sea production facilities highlighted the potential for both new and ageing production infrastructure to deliver greater production efficiency. The industry reacted to the efficiency challenge, following the major drop in oil price, with initiatives like the UK Oil and Gas Efficiency Task Force; which has helped define many areas where action can be taken to target improved efficiency and work towards securing the future of the industry.

Efficiency improvements can come in a multitude of areas, through every aspect of an oil and gas business and throughout the industry, for example in:

Oil and gas production and processing – the Efficiency Task Force mentioned above has highlighted many areas that will help here;

How companies are managed, operated and structured – we continue to read announcements of business restructuring, acquisitions and mergers where talk of business efficiencies are a primary objective;

How we perform our work – digital technology can enable significant progress to be made in the efficiency of engineering activities in design, analysis and simulation are undertaken as discussed in the following.

Almost everyone appreciates the beautiful (and often sleek) styling of a new automobile model. However, the smooth curves of a new car model are as much to do with aerodynamic necessity as aesthetic pleasure.

A typical sedan cruising on the freeway will use about 18 percent of its fuel energy in overcoming aerodynamic drag*. Since the power required to overcome drag rises with the cube of velocity, the faster you go, the more fuel you use. (If this seems deceptively low, it’s because the process of turning gasoline into the kinetic energy of the vehicle is tremendously inefficient, thanks to the second law of thermodynamics and the fact that entropy sucks).

In order to maximize the driving range of a vehicle, it’s generally a good idea to minimize its drag (and therefore fuel consumption). This is a particular concern for drivers of electric vehicles, whose range is limited by a fixed battery capacity.

Growing up in the countryside in Sweden, I got used to several power outages a year due to snow, storms, lightning, etc. No water, no electricity and no heat for days, sometimes in the middle of winter, meant you had to huddle together to keep warm, get water from a local supply and eat cold food. A possible remedy for this annoyance is distributed energy generation. Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) combined heat and power systems are independent of local weather conditions (unlike wind and solar systems) and provide a cleaner, quieter and more efficient alternative to traditional petrol generators. SOFC systems are used to power and heat/cool data centers, homes and stores across the globe, as well as for offshore and remote military applications. Power outage for a data center doesn’t only mean inconvenience and freezing indoor climate, it also means large financial losses due to downtime, so SOFC systems are often used to supply reliable power. To support the movement towards cleaner and more efficient distributed energy we have made simulations of SOFC systems straightforward in STAR-CCM+® v12.02. You can now natively specify the required electrochemical reactions on the anode and cathode as well as the ion transported through the membrane, making it much easier than before to set up such calculations.
Matthew Godo
STAR-CCM+ Product Manager
Stephen Ferguson
Marketing Director
Brigid Blaschak
Communications Specialist
James Clement
STAR-CCM+ Product Manager
Dr Mesh
Meshing Guru
Joel Davison
Lead Product Manager, STAR-CCM+
Ravindra Aglave
Director - Chemical Processing
Sabine Goodwin
Director, Product Marketing