DNV GL has opened a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) test centre in Groningen, the Netherlands, in order to enable safer use of the gas in various sectors, including shipping.

Situated at the company’s existing renewable energy technology and gas laboratory site in the Netherlands, the centre has the capacity to handle up to 250kg of LNG and features a heat exchanger to allow the temperature of the LNG and its boil-off to be precisely regulated.

Capable of addressing large variations in the properties, density and calorific values among LNG sources worldwide, the facility is also expected to support various stakeholders across the value chain.

The centre can also be used to study the impact of changing LNG composition on engine performance.

DNV GL Oil & Gas gas testing and analysis head Johan Holstein said: “The current accredited technology, gas chromatography, can take three to five minutes to show the composition of LNG. Sensors can give an answer in a second.”

“Monitoring the composition of LNG in real time has the potential to improve pricing transparency in bunkering.”

The company noted that a stable and known composition of LNG is required for accurate evaluation of energy content and engine performance control.

Monitoring the composition of LNG in real time has the potential to improve pricing transparency in bunkering, which usually depends upon mass alone rather than mass and energy content.

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DNV GL Oil & Gas Continental Europe, Eurasia, Middle East, India and Africa regional manager Ben Oudman said: “The 2017 DNV GL Energy Transition Outlook report predicts that LNG and LPG will account for 32% of total shipping energy use in terms of technology and fuel uptake, so I believe DNV GL’s continuing investment in facilities, recommended practices and online tools is timely and builds on our established expertise in downstream LNG.”

The company has entered a strategic partnership with Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) to further develop procedures and practices to determine and monitor LNG quality.