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SCHOTT solutions no. 2/2012 > Electronic Packaging

Photo: SCHOTT/A. Schneiderwind

Tailwind for Liquefied Gas

SCHOTT extends its certifications for glass-to-metal feedthroughs used in the liquefied gas pumps of tankers to allow for faster delivery and deployment times.

Alexander Lopez

Natural gas will become much more important as a fossil fuel in the decades to come. Forecasts indicate that demand will rise by 60 percent by 2040. Roughly 30 percent of the world’s electricity will then be generated by using gas. The driving factors behind this upsurge are mainly the growing global demand for clean energy sources and stricter environmental requirements. In light of this situation, liquefied natural gas or LNG is also being used more often. This raw material that can be compressed by more than 600 times by lowering its temperature can be pumped into special tankers in a way that saves space and thus represents an environmentally compatible, cost-effective alternative to heavy bunker oil and expensive transports of natural gas via pipelines. Besides, these do not always arrive on schedule in times of crisis. Around 400 tankers currently transport LNG around the world. According to the statistics, 261.3 bcm (billion cubic meters) of LNG were transported on a worldwide basis in 2011. By contrast, 488.1 bcm flowed through pipelines as natural gas. LNG thus already accounts for nearly 35 percent of the world’s natural gas shipments.

This success was made possible by adhering to the highest standards for safety. When storing LNG in the tanks of ships, the electrical connections to the pumps need to be hermetically sealed to protect both the power supply and the LNG. SCHOTT uses a special compression sealing technology to protect this extremely sensitive process. Unlike other products on the market, these glass-to-metal feedthroughs are maintenance free thanks to the fact that inorganic materials that resist aging are used. Furthermore, each product is carefully checked for how well it resists pressure, its leak tightness, dielectric strength and insulation.
Large feedthroughs from SCHOTT are used to hermetically seal off the power supplies of pumps in liquefied gas tankers. These glass-to-metal feedthroughs require no maintenance because inorganic materials that resist aging are used. Photo: SCHOTT/J. Küsters
All types of these products have already been certified based on the European ATEX standard, the international IEC standard for electrical safety (IECEx), as well as specific local regulations like the KOSHA (Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency) for South Korea. These directives pertain to security-relevant requirements on using devices and equipment under the harshest of conditions.

SCHOTT now also intends to have all of its products for use in offshore applications certified based on the standards of ship classifications. ”This certification based on the so-called ‘Plan approval,’ means it will no longer be necessary to obtain a special project-specific approval for each use of the product. This will save our customers a lot of time and effort due to the fact that we will be able to offer faster implementation and delivery times,” explains Thomas Göttlinger, Sales Manager for LNG at  SCHOTT Electronic Packaging. The respective certified pro­ducts therefore no longer need to be tested on an individual basis. Certification is expected to be available by the end of 2012. ”This means our hermetic glass-to-metal seals are not only the safest solution available on the market, but also allow for a much easier approval process,” Göttlinger adds. <|
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