What is an Electric Submersible Pump?

Posted on Nov 23, 2020

Electric submersible pump

An electric submersible pump, also known as a submersible pump, or sub pump, is one type of multistage pumps and, like any other type of multistage pump, is used for delivering fluids from one place to another by providing pressure to the fluids.

While unlike other types of multistage pumps, an electric submersible pump is submerged into the fluids instead of being set as an individual device. To achieve this, the materials that make up an electric submersible pump are robust iron castings with coated epoxy on the outside.

In order to prevent the electric submersible pump against corrosion or wear and tear from the fluids. In addition, since the electric submersible pump is operated by electricity, it is equipped with special electricity cables in order to conform to the moist environments where it is.

Generally, any fluid is stagnant, while if it is required to be used, then it should be running. To make the fluids run, there must be an external force to push the fluids, which is the reason why the multistage pumps exist. Since the multistage pumps are operated by the electricity, there is limitation of the places that they are set.

The multistage pumps are usually set beside or near the device that it is supposed to work for, while the electric submersible pumps can be totally placed right in the fluids, which not only perform their functions, but can also be rest in the fluids without priming beforehand, since it is the hydraulic pressure that promotes them to operate.

 

How Does an Electric Submersible Pump Form?

Looking from the exterior, an electric submersible pump is made as a cylinder, and doesn’t take up too much space. Inside the electric submersible pump, from the top to the bottom, there is a head that is connected with the pump shaft, which is use to keep and deliver the fluids, an upper bearing, several impellers and diffusers that make multiple stages, and a lower bearing at the bottom.

Around the whole setup inside the electric submersible pump, there is a casing that can effectively protect the components and make a hermetically sealed motor, which is close-coupled to the pump body.

 

How Does an Electric Submersible Pump Work?

For typical multistage pumps, the source of the fluids comes from the suction inlet, which draws the source of fluids by the device’s own force. However, since the electric submersible pump is set in the fluid, the source of fluid that is going to be delivered by the electric submersible pump is pushed by the hydraulic pressure of the fluid.

In other words, the electric submersible pump is operated by pushing instead of sucking, which is according to the hydrodynamic principle.

When the fluid is pushed into the electric submersible pump from the bottom, the impellers and diffusers would keep rotating by the mechanical power and transfer the fluid through the pump shaft and the upper bearing until the head. Then the pressurized fluid is pushed out of the electric submersible pump to be used for other application.

 

What Are the Features of an Electric Submersible Pump?

  • Priming is not required
    As what the above introduction has mentioned, an electric submersible pump is operated by automatically receive the fluid by the pressure of the fluid. This feature allows for no operator to do the setting before the electric submersible pump is worked.

    In other words, it doesn’t require to be primed, which makes it a convenient device that is free from manual force to be operated.
  • Energy-saving
    Since the electric submersible pumps are totally submerged into the fluids and are operated according to the hydrodynamic principle, there is no requirement of other energy to push the fluid into the electric submersible pump, which saves a lot of energy that might cost a lot in the operating of other types of multistage pumps.
  • Never overheating
    When a multistage pump is operated, the impellers inside have to rotate in very high speed, which produces heat as they touch the other components. For other types of multistage pumps, there should be coolant systems in the surrounding, or the heat that is produced by the multistage pumps may cause danger.

    However, because that the electric submersible pumps are submerged into the fluids, they can be cooled by the fluids around them, which makes them never overheating and prevent any accident from happening.
  • Effective
    Add up the above three features of an electric submersible pump, which reduce the costs of the operators, the energy source, and the coolant systems to operate the electric submersible pump. These features make the electric submersible pumps effective devices because of the low costs and high efficiency.
  • Multiple applications
    The electric submersible pumps can be used for several applications, especially for the oil and gas industry. Because of the open rotor design, the electric submersible pump is able to be used in wastewater industry, which discharge water with rocks, debris, and other fibrous materials without obstruction.

    Such feature can also accommodate to the sewage treatment and sump pumping. In addition, the turbid flow mode of the electric submersible pump allows for agitating fluids with high viscous materials, such as in the application of dredging. Furthermore, the electric submersible pumps are also capable of being placed in the ships for onboard flooding and barge unloading.
  • Can withstand high temperature and pressure
    Since the electric submersible pumps can be applied to oil and gas industry, we can learn that they are able to withstand the environments with high temperature and pressure. Oil and gas are both inflammable substances, which means that when they are triggered by other devices that operate with a high speed, it is very dangerous for the surroundings.

    However, applying the electric submersible pump in the oil and gas industry is relatively safe because there is no other external energy to occur possible danger with the inflammable substances.
 

Is Using an Electric Submersible Pump Always Good?

As far as we know, the electric submersible pump owns a lot of practical features that makes them be used in several applications. With the feature that they are submerged into the fluids, it not only reduces the costs that other multistage pumps may have, but also prevent cavitation, which is caused by the rapidly changing of the pressure, from happening, since the hydraulic pressure around them may maintain proper pressure that is given to the electric submersible pumps.

However, because that the electric submersible pumps can be set in the deep well or sea, it may be hard for taking them out for inspection and maintenance until they break down. In addition, placing a mechanical device into the fluids may turn out lead to corrosion, which is something that cannot be avoided.

In order to deal with this problem, the electric submersible pumps are usually made of corrosion-resistance material, but are also relatively expensive than the normal materials that make the multistage pumps. Therefore, using an electric submersible pump may be effective for many applications, while there are still some problems that you should take in to consideration when selecting the multistage pumps to use.

 

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