Energy companies SINTEF Energy Research (SINTEF) and ECONNECT Energy (ECONNECT) have developed a computational fluid dynamic (CFD) modelling tool to predict liquefied natural gas (LNG), ammonia and liquid carbon dioxide (LCO2) flow rates in floating, flexible cryogenic pipes.

With no previous reliable modelling in place, the tool will provide flow rate data for gases subjected to various pressure and temperature parameters. 

The tool – which is supported by Innovation Norway and Norwegian Research Council – aims to optimise flow rate configuration of floating pipes and increase gas value chain efficiency. 

Stating that SINTEF is ‘pleased and proud’ to contribute to the project, David Berstad, Project Manager and Research Scientist, SINTEF, added, “Together with ECONNECT we contribute to shaping the future’s energy solutions.” 

In addition to accounting for diameter, corrugation profile and insulation level, the modelling tool addresses methods to stabilise the friction factor of LNG and other non-aqueous fluids to help reduce costs and increase efficiency. 

With higher volumes of fluids associated with a higher friction factor, the model can help predict the behaviour of such volumes, providing additional commercial value when scaling up cargo deliveries. 

According to Stian Magnusson, CIO, ECONNECT, the project could lead to the scaling of jettyless distribution technology, lowering the barrier to cleaner energy. 

“This will enable industries and other users such as marine transport in Norway and abroad to make a switch from heavier fuels to LNG and ammonia,” he said. 

A lower-than-anticipated friction factor was seen in data from an LNG operation that took place in 2021 utilising the modelling tool. 

Using the model, friction factor can also be estimated for pipes associated with future technologies such as zero carbon fuels and carbon capture.