Liquefied natural gas infrastructure is expanding worldwide. It involves highly complex systems posing enormous technical challenges. KSB has the right products for the task.
A large proportion of natural gas is liquefied prior to transport. Transforming gas into liquid form means cooling it to below –164 °C. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is reduced in volume by a factor of 600, facilitating transport and storage. This means that the largest tankers can ship almost 150,000 cubic metres of liquefied gas.
LNG’s cryogenic temperatures leave most metals brittle with reduced strength. Special low-temperature materials are therefore required for mechanical components and sealing to ensure safe, reliable and long-term operation. KSB thus tests its valves for liquefied gas with liquid nitrogen at temperatures of –196 degrees Celsius at the company’s French factory in La Roche-Chalais. Valves in LNG systems also have to withstand enormous pressures of up to 100 bar which severely test their integrity.
Use on specialised ships
However, highly complex components such as valves are not only found on liquefied gas tankers. LNG logistics requires increasing numbers of specialised vessels to meet the surge in demand on the world market.
Today, the purification and liquefaction of natural gas usually takes place on land. In the future, offshore solutions will also be used for natural gas fields located far out at sea. These so-called FPSO (Floating Production Storage and Offloading) tankers are capable of extracting, purifying, storing and offloading natural gas. Elaborate infrastructure involving deep-sea pipelines is not necessary.
Floating storage and regasification units (FSRU) are another type of specialised vessel. These can be moored in a port for a short time to land, store and regasify LNG.