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Butterfly valves in the LNG industry

Published by , Senior Editor
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The müller co-ax Group is a global manufacturer of valve technology for the most demanding customers and markets. With the founding of quadax valves inc. almost 10 years ago, the group of companies has entered the field of butterfly valves for extreme conditions with a separate company. Set to manufacture the innovative four offset butterfly valve, quadax® is designed for extreme pressure and temperature ranges and is therefore particularly suitable for low-temperature applications such as LNG and cryogenic use.

After natural gas is processed, the storage and transport is carried out by seagoing vessels, tank trucks, tank farms and/or through pipelines. Natural gas condenses to a liquid when it is cooled down to around -260°F. The term for this is LNG. This liquefaction process has considerable advantages over traditional transport options and is the fastest growing method of moving the product creating a substantial sector in the energy market. The volume of the gas is reduced by a factor of around 600 when changing the state of aggregation, allowing the same volume to be moved much more effectively. LNG is far more economical to transport because significantly larger loads can be moved or stored with the smaller capacity. In addition, there are regions where the construction of pipelines is not possible or the infrastructure is only rudimentary. Also, in some cases, the available customer base does not justify the high construction cost of adding pipleines. In these areas, natural gas can be supplied in larger quantities using LNG technology. Whenever need for the product wanes or increase prices for using existing pipelines increase seasonally, LNG can be stored and then transported to me the requirements of increased demand or in off-peak periods.

A steadily growing market

In response to the demand for valves for these and other extreme applications, müller quadax has upgraded its operations. Thanks to the growth potential created for LNG, the company's CEO, Patrick Hofacker, is optimistic about the future: “This market is growing rapidly and is becoming more and more important globally. We have invested heavily – among other things in the expansion of international sales, marketing, enhanced specification work enhancing our high level of competence as a problem solver. And this is now reflected in the increased sales figures.

“Our four offset butterfly valve has been specifically developed for LNG and cryogenic processes. Thanks to the perfectly round sealing geometry, even temperatures of up to minus 385°F present no problem – even at the most extreme pressures.” In 2018 müller quadax handled two major LNG projects that contributed significantly to the sales development.

Four offset butterfly valves

In contrast to the elliptical sealing geometry of a triple offset butterfly valve, the quadax® operates with a completely round seal. This principle of the four offset design guarantees bubble-free tightness in cryogenic applications and wherever there are massive fluctuations in temperature. During rapid cooling, when liquid gas is pumped through a pipeline, the round sealing geometry ensures a tightness of 100%. In its test, müller quadax achieved leakage values better than the target in the valve specification guideline BS 6364. They were given the rating: ‘no visible Leakage.’

In conclusion, the company's decision to re-think and retool to meet the higher standard and severe application has proven to be worthwhile and increased profitability within a short time. With the four offset butterfly valve, costly downtime can be reduced to a minimum and maintenance interval can be planned more specifically.

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