The upgrade of the in-line blower system that is a key part of NEL’s National Standard Gas Flow Test Facility was completed at the end of August. BEIS Flow Programme Funding was used to fund this aspect of the facility revamp, which aims to keep NEL at the cutting edge of flow-metering research and testing.
“The work on the in-line blower system has improved its performance, streamlined its maintenance and increased its long-term operational life,” says Muir Porter, NEL’s Business Manager. “The revamp will extend our operating capability in line with future requirements. It is expected that, due to the improvements that have been made, dry gas volumes may be increased beyond 2,200 m3/hr.”
The dry and wet gas facility’s in-line blower system is a bespoke part of the test facility and provides the driving force that circulates gas through the system. It comprises an encapsulated drive motor and in-line centrifugal fan within a pressure vessel, and is controlled using with variable speed drive.
The operational efficiency of the re-vamped blower has been significantly improved thanks to new hi-efficiency drives and low-maintenance, heavy-duty bearings. These enhancements will increase service reliability and improve test completion times for both research projects and NEL’s customers.
“The blower was an aging item of plant,” explains Muir. “It required downtime every two hundred hours of service to re-grease the bearings. This was a constraint on the operating envelope of the test facility.”
“Rather than replace it with a new bespoke unit,” Muir explains. “It was decided to commission the original manufacturer to replace and improve relevant parts. This was by far the most cost-effective route.
NEL’s Gas flow testing facility is the UK’s only independent commercial test centre that can generate wet gas flows using water and oil simultaneously. As it more accurately replicates the real-world conditions faced by industry, it reduces the uncertainty and financial exposure that operators experience.