Emerson Enardo relief valves get WirelessHART communications

Emerson acquired Enardo, a manufacturer of pressure and vacuum relief valves based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in late 2013. This week saw the launch of a new wireless enabled version of the Enardo pressure and vacuum relief and safety valve used on storage tanks in the oil and gas, petrochemical and pharmaceutical industries.

Enardo_950_w-bracket

By adding the Smart Wireless monitoring system operating over the Emerson WirelessHART network, the safety valves, normally located on the top of large storage tanks, can easily signal to operators in the control room that they have been triggered to either relieve a pressure or vacuum condition. Such situations can arise as a result of changes in temperature, liquid level, or both, and relief valves are essential to prevent tank over or under-pressure conditions that could lead to structural failure. Enardo pipe-away, vent-to-atmosphere, in-line and end-of-line relief valves are typically installed on storage tanks to control evaporation and fugitive emission losses that result from flammable and hazardous petroleum vapour-producing products. Knowledge of the actuation of such a safety valve enables an immediate response, where needed, to prevent problems which can be related to safety, emissions, and the quality of a tank’s content.

Steve Attri, product manager at Emerson for the Enardo valves, commented: “Until now, PVRVs have remained un-monitored, with none of the feedback loops commonly seen in other pressure control devices. As the tank’s primary pressure control device, this wirelessly-monitored solution can be invaluable.”

Enardo manufactures tank and terminal safety equipment, including hatches, vent, pressure and vacuum relief valves and flame arrestors used in the oil and gas, petrochemical, chemical and other industries. Enardo in-line and stack vent valves have been the oilfield industry standard for more than 80 years.

Prior to the acquisition by Emerson, Enardo had sales of $65m a year, and employed 140 people. It now operates within the Regulator Technologies business, previously known as Fisher Regulators, within Emerson Process Management.

© Nick Denbow ProcessingTalk.info

@ProcessingTalk

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Multiple approval barriers to free trade in environmental protection systems

As a product development manager, I used to think that the supply of industrial instrumentation equipment was made particularly difficult by the plethora of International, European, American and specific industry (and country) specifications and requirements. In an age of International co-operation it seemed these approvals were designed to act as protective barriers for home industries. But these seem trivial compared to the problems faced by suppliers to the World shipping industry, in particular in relation to environmental protection.

Readers of this column over the years will have been aware that I reported enthusiastically on the Alfa Laval PureBallast treatment system for purifying ballast water discharges from ships, launched back in 2007, at Greenwich. This enthusiasm was because of both the professionalism of the launch, as well as the laudable product objective and aspiration: it was one of the best such events I had attended, despite atrocious windy weather, freak waves and thunderstorms on the boat cruise taking the Editors down to Greenwich! With slightly bigger waves there might have been no Editors left to report on the event!

BWT – Ballast Water Treatment systems

In the Alfa Laval system, light energy, from a broad spectrum source, acts on a Titanium catalyst in the flow, to produce hydroxyl ions, which oxidise and kill any organic material in the ballast discharge. This was developed in co-operation with Wallenius Water, who had done the shipboard tests on some of their ships over the previous three years. Alfa Laval launched this product in January 2007, to make it available for ship-owners in time to meet the IMO regulations that would require such equipment to be installed on all new build ships after 2009, in participating countries.

Another Scandinavian company, Optimarin from Norway, was at the same time addressing the ballast water treatment market, using Ultra-Violet light from high power UV sources (35kW) to kill any potentially harmful invasive organisms straight away. Optimarin was established in 1994 to develop this system, and supplied the first ever BWT system installed in 2000 on the Princess Cruise Line ‘Regal Princess’.

Extended approval timescales

It is significant that it is now 2016, over 20 years since Optimarin was founded, and at least 12 years after the first Alfa Laval systems were installed for sea trials on Wallenius ships. It is also 7 years after the first of the IMO regulations came into force – these did allow several years grace for older ships still operating from prior to 2009. All this makes for a very long lead time for any new product development to grow and become commercial!

Yet only in December last year did the US Coast Guard finally confirm that it would not type approve BWT systems if they failed to totally kill potentially invasive marine organisms transported in ballast water. This will exclude many ‘conventional’ UV purification systems which use lower power lamps as sources, since these render the organisms “unviable” (ie they are still alive but cannot reproduce). The approval tests carried out by DNV to prove performance to the USCG criteria (applying the CMFDA staining test method) takes up to a year, and Optimarin suggests that the testing – due for completion this year – will cost them around US$3m.

Alfa Laval also expresses confidence that their PureBallast system will meet the current USCG test criteria, and their tests will also be completed this year: at the moment, Alfa Laval points out that although US ballast water regulations took effect in 2012, no systems of any technology have yet been type approved by the USCG.

IMO, the World shipping legislative body

Indeed the IMO regulations themselves are not universally applied as yet: the “International Convention for the Control and Management of Ship’s Ballast Water & Sediments” is legislated to enter into force one year after being ratified by 30 states, representing 35% of the world’s tonnage. At present, March 2016, 46 states have ratified, representing 34.8% of the world’s tonnage – almost at the action stage! So the product is on the point of what should be a worldwide legislated requirement…..one more country to ratify the IMO proposal, with one more tanker, and a year later the market will be confirmed. Its only taken nearly 20 years for these products to become a market requirement!

The USCG requirements will have no effect on shipping using previously approved UV BWT systems in the seas and oceans outside US territorial waters.

Individual ship approvals, Insurers, and Ex regulations

The problems for the suppliers are not yet finished: for shipboard use the equipment also requires certification by a whole further range of classification organisations, like DNV GL, Lloyd’s, Bureau Veritas, MLIT Japan, and American Bureau of Shipping. Some tanker operators also require hazardous area approvals, i.e. to Zone 1 ATEX standards in Europe: Optimarin have supplied 10 such systems for the Turkish tanker fleet of Atlantis Tankers, which are designed for the transport of IMO II classified chemical cargoes.

Suppliers and users

Optimarin publish their existing major customers as comprising Saga Shipholding, MOL, Grieg Shipping Group, Gulf Offshore, Farstad Shipping, NYK, Nor Line and Evergreen Marine Corp. Since that initial installation in 2000, Optimarin have sold over 350 units, with 270 already installed. Optimarin in March announced a fleet agreement with UK shipowner and management company Carisbrook, which has the potential to cover retrofits across their entire fleet of 46 bulk and multi-purpose vessels.

Alfa Laval do not publish a customer list nor figures for the total number of their systems installed, but a PR from September 2015 discussed an Asian based shipping line placing an order for 33 systems. Another user has been quoted as MSC Containers.

Ballast water treatment retrofit work has been a major activity for Goltens Green Technologies (www.Goltens.com), a marine engineering contractor, who have already installed over 100 systems, from a current order book of 163. They supply systems from many manufacturers, listed as Optimarin, Bio-UV, Headway, Severn Trent DeNora, Alfa Laval, Auramarine, NK, Hyde Marine and Wärtsilä. Like Alfa Laval, Goltens are also involved in the supply and installation of other shipborne equipment required by and subject to environmental legislation, like SOx and NOx effluent control.

Whilst the retrofit market is important, the new build market is more significant, and obviously supplier attention is concentrated on the shipbuilders of South Korea.

© Nick Denbow, Processingtalk.info

@ProcessingTalk

When the wind does not blow….

If you have a large proportion of wind turbines providing the power to the electricity grid, maybe in parallel with solar farms, and the wind suddenly dies down at sunset, when the solar power really subsides, you have a crisis – just as the evening peak energy demand develops. This is despite the fact that through the day the wind blew hard and the sun shone, and there was a surfeit of green energy available.

The answer has to be that you store that daytime energy, and bring it out of the store in the evening. There is much research going on to find more efficient ways of dealing with this “peak shaving” to fill up the troughs in the supply. Back on 18 December 2015 this blog reported on the Yokogawa control system in Northern Ireland that drives a peak shaving system that puts energy into a big (mechanical) fly-wheel! Really ultra-modern technology successfully driving C19 mechanics.

So there is now a US press release that advises that AES Corporation has signed a deal with Eaton Inc, for Eaton to sell the AES Energy Storage technology in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

So who are ‘AES’ ?

As with any press release, it is difficult to actually understand what is actually available, and what it is based on. The ‘AES’ letters, undefined on their website, seem to relate to a company providing Alternative Energy Systems, wherever they might be profitable, be it coal, oil, gas, bio-fuels or other power generation methods. Their new offering is of the Advancion (sic) Energy Storage platform, which is what Eaton will be selling: “Eaton will supply the energy storage systems, provide support and ensure long-term operation directly to utilities, industrial and commercial customers, independent power producers and power system operators across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).”

AES says that ‘Energy storage has become a key factor in helping countries manage both grid stability, as renewable energy sources continue to be integrated into the grid, as well as peak demand, limiting the need to build dedicated peaking power plants and minimizing CO2 emissions. The energy storage market is therefore entering a new growth phase and Navigant Research (www.navigantresearch.com) projects that more than 11GW of energy storage capacity will be installed annually by 2020 in 22 countries.’

Installations in Europe

AES_Netherlands_Advancion_Array_-_Ribbon_Cutting

The Netherlands-based UPS battery storage facility, and staff.

Advancion systems have been installed in two arrays in Europe, located in The Netherlands and in Northern Ireland. These are described in a recent AES.com press release. “Advancion 4, released November 2015, is a complete, battery-based alternative to traditional peaking power plants and pumped hydroelectric storage projects that provides a dependable, smart and cost-competitive means to modernize power systems. It features best-in-class Advancion pre-certified suppliers, including Samsung SDI, who supplied the array with more than 45,000 batteries in its first Advancion deployment. Additional project suppliers and partners include the inverter supplier Parker Hannifin.”  So the Advancion system would appear to be a rather large battery-backed UPS.

The Netherlands facility will provide 10MW of interconnected energy, providing balancing services to the electricity grid in The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Austria via the TenneT system. In addition to the Netherlands array, AES recently completed its Kilroot Advancion Array in Northern Ireland, also providing 10 MW of interconnected energy storage.

AES quotes that it introduced the first grid-scale advanced battery-based energy storage solution in commercial power market service in 2008, presumably in the USA, and claims to operate the largest fleet of battery-based storage assets in service today.

(c) Nick Denbow, Processingtalk.info

@ProcessingTalk

A new three phase flowmeter

A fascinating technology development now released by Krohne is a new approach to oil, gas and water multi-phase flow measurement. Actually launched last November, maybe because everyone said “What?” the Krohne Academy guys have now come up with an on-line e-learning course – to introduce their M-Phase 5000 Nuclear Magnetic Resonance flowmeter. The name refers to the technology, not to anything remotely nasty like nuclear sources, X-rays or radioactive isotopes – there is nothing like that. In fact there is nothing untoward in the flow tube at all, it is a straight tube with an unobstructed bore, available in sizes from 4 inches down to 2 inches, with an operating turndown of 60:1.

Krohne M5000 2

I first met Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) when fresh out of University, but had not heard of it even then: it was used to make a Magnetometer, to measure the Earth’s magnetic field. Basically you wrap a coil round a bottle of water, to create a strong magnetic field, which lines up all the spins of the hydrogen atoms (the protons). The coil current is then interrupted, and as the protons try to realign themselves with the Earth’s ambient magnetic field, they precess round the direction of this field at a frequency determined by the strength of the field. The weak rotating AC magnetic field from this precession can be measured by a detector coil.

How it works

The NMR principle was discovered in the early 1900s, and as the Krohne introduction says, two Nobel prizes were awarded for research into the topic in 2003, in relation to the soft tissue medical imaging techniques used in MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scanners. Krohne have worked on developing the technique for three phase flow measurement for 10 years, in co-operation with Shell Research and NAM of Rotterdam, a joint Shell/Exxon company. For the last four years this has involved field trials of the first versions, both in labs and in test installations.

kROHNE ACAD 2

 

The final flowmeter can be seen on tinyurl.com/Ptalk-NMR, a 90 second video from Krohne. Horizontally mounted, the meter is about 12 feet long, and contains a glass-reinforced epoxy flow tube within a stainless housing. The first section has three separate magnetising zones, which can be driven separately, and this has the only moving part of the whole meter, a motor to arrange the different modes (this is outside the flow tube). Then the next section is the area where RF pulses are applied to the 3-phase fluid, which can be across the whole pipe or can interrogate horizontal layers across the pipe. This section also has the detectors, which measure the magnetic field transmitted by the protons at the ‘Larmor’ precession frequency, and the amplitude and decay of these signals following various different imposed magnetic field patterns. These different measurements (frequency, amplitude and decay rate) enable the computation of the flow of each of the three phases. Any sand or gravel flow is recorded as gas. At the exit of the flowmeter a separate tapping allows pressure and temperature to be monitored, which is the further data normally required in well test and production allocation applications.

The technique has been previously described in detail at the North Sea Flow Measurement Workshops, for example in 2013.

Operating parameters

The meter uses around 180 Watts of power, but is approved for installation in Zone 1 areas, with all the electronics and power/data connections in flameproof boxes. The fluid temperature can be up to 93°C, and the pressure should be 8 bar minimum for gas measurement duty, 224 bar max. There are no special installation pipe bend restrictions. The flow range is typically 2.5 to 150 m³/hr, and measurement accuracy 3-5% of measured value, after the meter has been set up on site to establish the characteristics of the oil being monitored, using a full pipe static test. The at-line conditions data output can be fed to a flow computer to give totalisation of all three phases, and PVT conversion to refer volumes back to standard conditions.

The Krohne M-Phase 5000 is launched and available for production well metering now, and the Krohne Academy training course is even giving out certificates to confirm you understand the meter operation, once you have done the e-learning training course! Find it on www.academy-online.krohne.com – I passed the test, and have a certificate!

© Nick Denbow, Processingtalk.info

@Processingtalk