VSL’s Cryogenic Field Laboratory

This summer VSL commissioned its Cryogenic Field Laboratory, situated at the Maasvlakte in the Rotterdam harbor area. This unique facility was developed in an extensive research and development collaboration with many international partners and supported by Euramet (the European Association of National Metrology Institutes). The purpose of the Cryogenic Field Laboratory is to provide real-life experimental field-scale data for flow and composition at cryogenic conditions, enabling calibrations at cryogenic conditions and experimentally supported assessments of measurement uncertainties. Cryogenic liquid is pumped around in a measuring and loop, in which flow meters and composition determination can be tested and calibrated. The laboratory’s flow and composition measurements have a very short traceability chain to VSL’s primary mass flow standard and to two different sampling analyzer methods, resulting in the best uncertainty values available.

Currently, the Calibration and Measurement Capability (CMC) of this facility meets current International Legal Metrology Organization (OIML) recommendations, and ultimately the uncertainties will be comparable to those common with conventional fuels (0.5%). At the moment the Cryogenic Field Lab operates on liquid nitrogen (LIN) which has flow properties similar to LNG, but which is even colder, meaning we stretch the operational envelope of our area of interest even more.

We expect to start operating with LNG in the last quarter of 2019. This year so far has seen an many of the above questions being addressed in an extensive test program of the facility, but also the impact of flow disturbances, a second phase, meter insulation and “ageing” of LNG, i.e. the composition change of LNG in a tank over time.

We feel that our cryogenic field laboratory is a facility unique in the world and we expect to be able to calibrate flow and composition equipment in cryogenic compositions at the lowest possible uncertainty, as well as to be able to perform experimental research in these conditions, addressing research questions that have been untouched so far.

If you would like to know more about this facility, are interested in having a meter calibrated or have a research question you would like to collaborate on with us, please do not hesitate and contact us!

The current specifications of the cryogenic field laboratory for LIN are:

Flow lines:

2”and 4”

Flow range:

7200-72000 kg/h

Temperature range:

-175 – -185°C

Gauge pressure range

3–8 bar

Density range:

730–760 kg/m3

Repeatability for this flow range:

better than 0.1% (95% confidence interval)