Force Technology gears up for MEGA loop launch

The MEGA loop will be the largest closed loop for custody transfer calibration of flow meters when it goes into operation this year, according to Force Technology, and the €10m investment is the largest in the company’s 80-year history.

The MEGA loop has been ‘revitalised’ in regards to technical capabilities and future-proofed towards the changing energy mix, in order to be hydrogen ready (initially up to 25%), as well as split into two independent calibration strings. It will be ‘larger than first intended’ in the initial phase. The (Re)calibration workshop and launch is scheduled for May 10-12 in Denmark.

The technology is similar to that used in previous facilities built in 2003, 2010 and 2012; the only difference is this one is three times bigger, due to customer demand. Manufacturers of the big flow meters haven’t had a facility where gases can be calibrated – they’ve just had to trust supplier readings from the factories – so it presents a new customer offering.

It will be able to calibrate flow meters in all sizes with a pressure of 0-65 bar, flow of 0-50,000 m3/h, and calibration accuracy of less than 0.15%.

Jesper Busk, Senior Specialist, Metrology & Calibration, said, “Even if the error of a meter is half a percent, it can be a lot of money. After the calibration we adjust the meter to as close to zero as possible, and customers need the lowest uncertainty possible so they can trust the results – it means we can be sure the meter can deliver the correct calculation of natural gas.

“We have finalised the pressure for the facilities, to be sure it’s ok for 65-bar operation. The next period, we will make the commissioning of the facilities, checking all signals and safety systems, and then we will do an initial calibration and verification, to be sure the measurements are totally correct. Finally we will receive approval from the Danish authorities, and accredited to the ISO 7025 Certification, otherwise no customer will use us.”

He added that MEGA loop is two facilities built in one. “We can run it as two independent facilities, or bundle them as MEGA loop. So it is additional capacity to the current business, and extension of our scope to accommodate the ‘crazy size’ meters that today are not calibrated at all – and they sell probably 2m cubes an hour – and we have no idea how precise the measurement is.

“All the pipes and fittings are hydrogen ready – we have to be ahead of the game, and better to be too early than too late. When hydrogen comes, we need to have facilities that can accommodate it as well, so this is how we try to future proof MEGA loop. If you put hydrogen in natural gas, you have to increase the volume to get the same energy density, so one of the major tasks in blending hydrogen into natural gas is to increase volume, as you can’t increase pressure.”

Initially the facility will calibrate natural gas and introduce a traceability system, so it’s traceable to hydrogen standards.

“We will be ready to calibrate the first meter, when the market is ready,” said Busk. “Today there are no hydrogen pipes in Denmark – probably it will come, and probably one day as pure hydrogen, it’s still a question. We are also working with Power-to-X on measurement of CO2 and CCUS.”

Busk stressed that the €10m is the amount Force Technology has invested. “If you buy it, you can triple it, because of the intellectual property, and we design everything ourselves,” he said.

The three-day launch event will feature a two-day conference with international keynote speakers delivering industry-relevant topics, alongside presentations around topics within custody transfer measurement, and a special focus on hydrogen.

MEGA loop capacity

  • Flow of 65.000m3/h
  • Pressure up to 65 bar g
  • Meter sizes up to 56-60 inches
  • Meter lines of 48m in length
  • 30-inch length compensator with a horizontal movement of two metres
  • Dp over the MUT system up to 1,5 bar

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