Image of the ECONNECT Energy IQuay's Floating, flexible pipe technology for fluid transfer
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ECONNECT Energy Creates Ground-Breaking Modelling Tool for Floating Pipe Technology

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May 11, 2022
4
minutes read time

ECONNECT Energy, with input from SINTEF Energy Research, have collaborated to address the knowledge gaps related to fluid dynamics in floating, flexible cryogenic pipes for the marine-based distribution of fluids with a proprietary fluid dynamic modelling tool.

The full scale floating flexible cryogenic pipes used in the suite of ECONNECT Energy IQuay® solutions are the only floating, flexible, and cryogenic pipes produced at a commercial scale in the world.

Therefore, ECONNECT Energy sought to contribute to a body of fluid dynamics research, addressing the heat and mass transport phenomena required to improve the process configuration and control for floating pipe applications.

To establish optimal process configuration of floating, flexible pipes, ECONNECT Energy worked with dynamic modelling experts, SINTEF to create an exclusive and proprietary modelling tool.

Pioneering Research for Cryogenic pipe applications

There is no precedent for research into flow rates for floating, flexible cryogenic pipes to account for diameter, corrugation profile and insulation level. 

Historically, LNG (and other non-aqueous fluids) flow rates in these pipes have been unpredictable and subject to a high friction factor; the friction factor reduces throughput capacity and increases boil-off due to throttling and heat ingress, effectively increasing costs and reducing system efficiency.

Furthermore, there are additional commercial considerations related to scaling up cargo deliveries and the behaviour of large volumes of fluid, as it affects the velocity, pressure and contributes to a higher friction factor. Drops in pressure contribute to boil off, further increasing velocity and a phenomenon called throttling within the pipes.

To ensure stable delivery of LNG and other fluids, these phenomena must be understood on an adequate level of complexity to design a sufficiently insulated, flexible and corrugated pipeline to avoid an escalating pressure drop.

Research Outcomes

ECONNECT Energy, with input from SINTEF Energy, has developed a proprietary computational fluid dynamic (CFD) model to improve the process configuration and control for technologies using floating, flexible cryogenic pipes. 

Initial findings using data from a 2021 LNG operation indicate a favourable flow rate, further proving system efficiency and capacity for increased liquid volume. ECONNECT Energy input data allows for benchmarking the operational performance of the jettyless IQuay system against traditional jetty solutions.

The CFD models can also be used to estimate the friction factor for other diameters and pipes for future technologies. 

The collaboration also achieved:

  • A detailed model for subcooled LNG flow through leading manufactured flexible, cryogenic pipes, validated by available experimental test measurement data;
  • A reliable prediction of boil-off, pressure drop and system behaviour in the transfer system through a dynamic system model validated against available experimental test measurement data; 
  • An ability to derive transfer system configurations enabling low effective friction factors and increased LNG transfer capacity;
  • A validation of the applicability of the IQuay for ammonia, CO2 and other liquid transfer.

“The benefits of jettyless transfer are many; fast-tracking energy projects by unlocking a cost-effective, agile and environmentally friendly alternative to invasive fixed infrastructure, it is therefore necessary to have reliable fluid dynamic models. We see the importance of this tool to drive sustainable goals and we actively engage in developing technologies to enable the rapid transition to cleaner energy,” stated ECONNECT Energy CEO, Morten Christophersen 

Adopting Jettyless, Floating Pipe Technology to enable clean energy projects

LNG, as well as ammonia and carbon capture technologies are required to rapidly decarbonise the power and maritime sectors. In the case of LNG, is often used as a bridge to carry transport and power sectors into lower carbon operations during the energy transition. In the DNV report Energy Transition Outlook 2019, it is forecasted that a further increase in natural gas production and supply towards 2040 and that LNG will take position as the single most dominant marine fuel in 2050, with above 40 % market share.

LNG potentially reduces greenhouse gas emissions as well as other emissions from heavier fuel types, while carbon capture technologies and transitioning to ammonia as a fuel or feedstock can contribute to deeper cuts in carbon emissions.

ECONNECT Energy seeks to make gas to power projects and bunkering attractive investments by reducing the overall terminal/bunkering payback time, lead time and flexibility for asset owners. Already proven successful in the LNG market, ECONNECT Energy is now engaged in international projects:

  • Serving the renewable energy, ,carbon sequestration and bunkering sectors;
  • Decarbonising shipping, power generation and mobility;
  • Where fast and agile solutions are required;
  • In environmentally and socially fragile areas with low-footprint technology.

“The competence generated in the project will be of utmost value to SINTEF as an R&D provider and ECONNECT Energy as a technology developer. The commercialisation of the IQuay technology lowers the barrier to cleaner energy substantially and will make these energy feedstocks more available. This can enable industries and other users such as marine transport in Norway and abroad to make a switch from heavier fuels and feedstock to LNG,” stated ECONNECT Energy CIO Stian Magnusson.

Last updated:
May 10, 2022

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