EURAMET projects enable Europe’s first calibration facility for LNG

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Liquid energy gases are a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional fuels, and Europe now has a new calibration facility for them.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquefied biogas (LBG or bio-LNG) are two of the most efficient ways to store and transfer energy. This, along with their high energy content, makes them excellent for industries that require a lot of power, such as heavy-duty haulage and marine transportation. In addition, when compared to petrochemical fuels like gasoline or diesel, engines running on LNG and LBG are quieter and emit less CO2. As a result, one of the foundations of the European clean fuel policy and the EU Directive on alternative fuels is the use of various types of fuels.

The proper calibration of LNG devices, such as flow metres and systems for detecting composition, density, and energy content, is critical.

The now-completed EMPIR project Metrological support for LNG and LBG as transport fuel (16ENG09, LNG III), which builds on the work of two previous EURAMET projects (ENG03 LNG and ENG60 LNGII), has taken a major step forward thanks to the development of Europe’s first LNG and LBG calibration facility.

The facility, which was established by the National Metrology Institute of the Netherlands, VSL, and is situated in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, is capable of traceable calibrations for both flow and composition of LNG, LBG, and liquid nitrogen, and has already attracted industry clients.

The mass flow measurement calibration uncertainty at this LNG facility is 0.17 percent (k = 2), which means it can validate instrumentation down to a 0.5 percent accuracy class.

In addition to the new facility the project has:

  • Project partners NEL and VSL supported the development of the published international standardISO 21903:2020,  that specifies the metrological and technical requirements for flow meters that can dynamically measure LNG and other refrigerated hydrocarbon fluids.
  • Project partners MestrelabNaturgyReganosaTNO, and VTT validated 3 new, cost-effective sensors for determining LNG composition, developed in the projects, to determine the energy content (methane number) and that enable real-time engine management for optimal engine performance.
  • Validation of  EffecTech liquefier by project partners EffecTech and VSL using RUB’s equation of state software that can be successfully employed for the calibration and performance evaluation of optical sensors for LNG-composition measurement.
  • Validation of a primary standard for volume flow developed by project partner Césame-Exadébit SA in the previous EMRP project, that can also act as a transfer standard.
  • Publication of a good practice guide by project partners NPL and VSL on a new method for the weighing of particulate filters used in LNG and LBG refueling stations – highlighting many of the issues and pitfalls associated with setting up traceable measurement, from onsite sampling to the final mass value for particulates in LNG and LBG.

The new facility, as well as other project deliverables, will help with energy security as well as enhance trust in the transport and storage of cryogenic liquid fuels, which is an important aspect of the goal of making Europe “carbon neutral” by 2050.

Menne Schakel from VSL who coordinated the highly successful project has said about the work

“The LNG calibration facility enables LNG meter manufacturers, LNG end-users, and the metrological and scientific communities to gain confidence in LNG trade. The impressive list of project outputs supports the large-scale adoption of LNG and LBG as clean transport fuel, playing a key role in the energy transition.”

This EMPIR project is co-funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the EMPIR Participating States.

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