Reganosa is strengthening its activity in scientific research, a field in which it is currently developing two projects with the participation of entities and specialists from various countries. Precisely for this reason the LNG terminal of the Port of Ferrol is receiving in May a team of French researchers. One of the projects develops a method for the determination of the methane number by means of infrared spectroscopy, led by Reganosa. The other refers to the measurement of the flow of LNG with Doppler laser, led by the French group Cesame Exadébit. Both cases are endorsed by the European Union through “EMPIR LNG” project.
Determining the number of methane is essential for efficient use of LNG as a transport fuel. The methane number, equivalent to the octane number of gasoline, allows knowing the moment of detonation of natural gas in an engine and, therefore its operating conditions. This information was not so relevant when the gas was only used for energy purposes in large power plants. Now that LNG is gaining momentum as fuel to power trucks, trains or ships, it is very important to know the methane number.
The ultimate goal of the project is to establish a direct relationship between the methane number of a gas and its infrared spectrum. After defining the scientific and technical idea, the company has involved in the project different companies and research groups both nationally and internationally. The national partners include Naturgy, Mestrelab Research S.L. (spin-off of the University of Santiago) and the Institute of Environment (IUMA) of the University of A Coruña (research group of Applied Analytical Chemistry).
It is well known that the composition of LNG varies for various reasons, such as efficiency of the liquefaction plant, origin of the gas, aging during transport. As a consequence of this, equipment is needed to measure, directly in the gas to be analyzed (on-line mode), all those properties susceptible to change with the composition.
One of these properties is the methane number and, at present, there are no validated methods for the “on line” measurement. This fact, together with the increase in the use of gas as a transport fuel, makes the reliable, fast and cheap determination of the methane number an emergency for the natural gas sector. Hence the importance of the project in which Reganosa has been involved: optimizing and fine-tuning an infrared spectroscopy method to determine the methane number. To validate the method, the results obtained from identical samples analyzed by spectroscopy and in real engines will be used.
This research is supported by the project “EMPIR LNG III Metrological support for LNG and bio-LNG as transport fuel.” An essential part of it is the development of the traceability of the measurement. To cope with this, the project combines the experience of the industry, the instrument manufacturers and the scientific institutes, to validate the methods and carry out the necessary tests.
Within the “Clean Power for Transport package”, the use of liquefied gases for transport is one of the pillars of the European clean fuel strategy. As current alternatives to diesel, LNG and bio-LNG are especially suitable as fuels, both in interurban road transport and in marine transportation. Its use, compared to conventional fuels, would help to meet the strict limits of emissions of pollutants of the EURO VI regulation.
In addition, engines running on LNG produce much less noise than diesel engines, which is why they are becoming the preferred option for trucks operating in urban areas. LNG is also interesting to meet the new limits of sulfur content and nitrogen oxides of emissions from marine engines.
The second international project in which Reganosa participates focuses on the creation and testing of a new device to measure the flow of LNG with laser Doppler. After two years of work, the French company Cesame Exadébit – a reference in metrology in its country – has designed a measuring equipment that is being tested in the terminal of Reganosa in the port of Ferrol, with the participation of Naturgy.
The measurement of LNG flow is complex due to the characteristics of the product. Overcoming that difficulty has become a priority now that small-scale operations with that fuel are extended. In addition, it is required that the measuring device is reliable, manageable and easy to manufacture. Cesame Exadébit has achieved this, and now Reganosa personnel together with French technicians carry out real tests of it in order to validate the instrument in cryogenic conditions.
Reganosa is a pioneer in the promotion of LNG as a transport fuel in the Iberian Peninsula, a region that has experienced a great growth in the adoption of clean energy. In this extremely encouraging scenario, AltFuels Iberia 2019 will take place on 11-14 June at IFEMA Trade Center, in Madrid. It will be an event conformed by first level conferences and exhibition, with the presence of companies, organizations and experts from all over the world that will analyze the present and future of the industry and will exhibit the latest technology in alternative fuels and sustainable mobility. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.