Lithuanians have developed an innovative technology for using LNG cold energy
Lithuanian engineers have succeeded in developing an advanced technology that will enable the efficient use of the cold energy of liquefied natural gas (LNG). This innovative solution, which will reduce the cost of electricity for businesses and contribute to the solution of ecological problems, will be adapted for use not only in the refrigerator terminals but also in many other objects.
The technology was developed by UAB “Valcon”, a company that has accumulated a great deal of experience in the power plant systems. An initiative, in cooperation with the Lithuanian LNG cluster of organisations, impelled the company to take on a new challenge. A consortium was formed for the implementation of a project involving AB “Vakarų laivų gamykla“, AB “Klaipėdos nafta“, the international company “Emerson Automation Solutions” and the partners – UAB “Ketonas”, which would provide warehousing services for frozen products, and UAB “Emeko”.
“Given the fact that the small-scale LNG market is being intensively developed, not only in the Baltic Sea region but also throughout Europe, there is no doubt that new solutions are needed that will enable the more efficient use of this gas. We appreciate receiving this opportunity to direct our accumulated knowledge toward developing a new product, and we believe that this project will contribute to enhancing the competitiveness of LNG as an energy source by creating new business models,” said Vytenis Naujokas, Process Control Engineer of UAB “Valcon”.
In the “Independence” terminal storage vessel, LNG is stored as a liquid at -162 degrees, which requires a high-energy content when it is being cooled. One ton of these gases requires about 250 kWh of energy. The solution developed by the Lithuanians opens up the possibilities to “employ” the energy that is released into the environment when changing the status of the LNG from a liquid to a gas, and thus to use it purposefully.
The system for the use of the LNG cold energy, which has been named “Ecers”, will save up to 80 percent of the cost of the standard system during the freezing process. Furthermore, the technology can be used in a wide range of facilities with a demand for the cold energy: from refrigerator terminals, to the food or pharmaceutical industry, to the entertainment industry and data processing centres.
The system is characterised by highly dynamic modes of operation, and it is suitable for operating in different temperature and pressure conditions, as well as for interacting with different carriers of cold energy. The mobility of the technological solution also provides a significant advantage – the structure is designed to fit into a sea container.
According to Andrius Sutnikas, Development Manager of the Klaipėda Science and Technology Park, the innovative solutions that are already present on the market are a testament to the Lithuanian LNG cluster’s ability to be really active in the concentration of partners. “This result, which we can celebrate today, shows the great technological and intellectual potential of Lithuania in developing new areas in the field of energy,” emphasised the representative of the institution responsible for coordinating the activities of the cluster.
Photo: LNG realoading station in Klaipėda. Photo courtesy of Klaidepos Nafta.