DNV GL opens LNG testing facility in Groningen

Cyrogenic capabilities will enable important study of LNG composition, boil-off, metering and use as fuel in Groningen Cyrogenic capabilities will enable important study of LNG composition, boil-off, metering and use as fuel in Groningen

A new DNV GL LNG test facility will enable small ship engine testing and metering and compositional analysis investigations.

The facility, at the organisation’s existing renewable energy technology and gas laboratory site in Groningen in The Netherlands, received its first delivery of LNG by truck on Wednesday 17 January. The centre has storage capacity for up to 250kg of liquefied gas and boasts a heat exchanger that allows the temperature of the LNG – and therefore its boil-off – to be precisely regulated.

Johan Holstein, head of gas testing and analysis at DNV GL, told The Motorship the testing of new sensor technology to rapidly identify the composition of LNG would be a priority. “The current accredited technology, gas chromatography, can take 3-5 minutes to show the composition of LNG,” Holstein explained. “Sensors can give an answer in a second.”

The exact composition of gases within LNG is important for accurately assessing energy content. LNG from different regions has a different composition, which changes further as LNG is used or boils off. Holstein noted that sensors have already been tested with other gas compositions, and further validation could lead to DNV GL certification.

The ability to monitor the composition of LNG in real time (combined with advances in flow metering) could also improve pricing transparency in bunkering, which has traditionally relied on mass alone rather than mass and energy content.

The impact of changing LNG composition on engine performance can also be studied at the Groningen site. Engine developers can optimise ignition patterns and compression ratios depending on the gas mixture, for example, and the facility will allow OEMs to test designs ranging from automotive engines of around 10hp to off-road and marine engines of around 500kW.

The test centre builds on DNV GL’s established expertise in downstream LNG. The company has released a recommended practice document for LNG bunkering facilities and last year produced the Propane Knock Indicator (PKI), a publicly available methane number calculator allowing LNG users to estimate energy content.

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