July 1st 2010
This summer will be very cold at VSL and some other European metrology institutes. This has everything to do with the kick-off at VSL last May of the new EMRP joint research project called “Metrology for LNG”.
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is an extremely cold (-160 °C) fuel source and has shown strong growth figures over the past decades. Besides being a relatively clean source of energy, LNG is most of all key part of the EU strategy to secure the future supply of energy. While the trade of LNG is growing, the need for more accurate measurements becomes even more clear. The “Metrology for LNG” project is aiming to strengthen the metrological framework for LNG measurements and to reduce the uncertainties by a factor two. The custody transfer of LNG is about transferred energy and involves measurements of volume, density and gross calorific value. The project follows these aspects by developing test and calibration standards for LNG flow meters, by evaluating and directly comparing static and dynamic volume measurement methods, by evaluating off-line and in-line composition measurement methods and by developing primary standards for measuring the density of liquefied natural gas with unprecedented accuracy. The knowledge gained in the project will also be used to contribute to the further development of international written standards and guidelines. VSL is coordinator of this three-year project that is run by a consortium of nine European metrology institutes, one university group and three industrial partners. In addition several other industrial partners will establish a formal collaboration to this project and/or join the advisory board. This commitment from industry is both fortunate and needed for the success of the project.
The first milestone was reached at VSL in June already: A unique primary LNG flow standard was commissioned and cooled down with liquid nitrogen to test for basic functionality. This facility has been designed and constructed in a preceding project funded by the Dutch ministry of economic affairs. The flow standard will be further validated and optimized in the next 12 months to reach the ambitious aim of 0.05% uncertainty for real LNG flow measurements at a rate of 25 m3/h. This will only be the first step towards an industrial scale LNG flow standard that will need to run up to several thousand cubic meters per hour. The technique for up-scaling from the small primary standard to such large flows will be developed in the “metrology for LNG” project as well. Further information about the project can be found at the project website (www.lngmetrology.info) which will be online from September 2010. Project coordinator and contact person is Oswin Kerkhof.