DNV GL opens doors to its LNG test center

Classification society DNV GL opened the doors to its LNG test center in Groningen, the Netherlands aiming to boost adoption and use of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The LNG test center has been created with the aim to support stakeholders across the value chain in addressing the large variations in the properties, density and calorific values among LNG sources globally, DNV Gl said in its statement.

The facility, at the existing renewable energy technology and gas laboratory site, is the first type of facility with a capacity compatible for the downstream sector, the classification society said.

Its capacity is 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 – Oil & Gas, said the testing of new sensor technology to rapidly identify the composition of LNG would be a priority, as these can give results in seconds compared to up to 5 minutes for the current technology.

A stable and known composition of LNG is important for accurately assessing energy content and engine performance control. LNG from different regions have different compositions, which change further as LNG is used or boils off.

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 optimize ignition patterns and compression ratios depending on the LNG composition, for example, and the facility will allow OEMs to perform compliance tests ranging from automotive engines of around 10hp to off-road and marine engines of around 500kW, DNV GL said.

For LNG fuel quality testing, DNV GL has engaged in a strategic partnership with Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) to further develop procedures and practices to ascertain and monitor LNG quality.

DNV GL and VPS aim to develop a set of validated tools and measurement methods to provide the LNG industry with tools which will help break down the perceived barriers to LNG adoption.