There are a number of surge control schemes in current use for centrifugal compressors employed in natural gas transmission systems. Basically, these schemes consist of a set of detection devices that either anticipate surge or detect it at its inception, and a set of control devices that act to prevent surge from occurring. A patent search was conducted in an attempt to assess the level and direction of technology development over the last 20 years and to define the focus for future R&D activities. In addition, the paper presents the current state of technology in three areas: surge control, surge detection, and surge suppression. Patent data obtained from on-line databases showed that most of the emphasis has been on surge control rather than on detection and control and that the current trend in surge control will likely continue toward incremental improvement of a basic or conventional surge control strategy. Various surge suppression techniques can be grouped in two categories: (i) those that are focused on better compressor interior design, and (ii) others that attempt to suppress surge by external and operational means.

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