An Alfa Laval Smit Combustion system (FU type) is now installed at the Alfa Laval Test & Training Centre in Aalborg, Denmark. The system, which adds inert gas production to the centre’s already comprehensive range of full-scale vessel applications, will ensure that Alfa Laval remains at the forefront of developing and optimizing inert gas systems.
Inaugurated in 2014, the Alfa Laval Test & Training Centre is essentially a full-sized machine room on land, with equipment from all of Alfa Laval’s marine product groups installed in process lines as they would be on a commercial vessel. To support a focus on gas applications and combustion technology, the testing space underwent a major expansion in 2017, which added 1100 m2 and a gas fuel supply. The new Smit Combustion system fits neatly into that expansion, where flame tests and other activities are underway with the Alfa Laval Gas Combustion Unit (GCU) and multi-fuel Alfa Laval Aalborg burner systems.
Leading innovation in a safety-critical application
Inert gas production is needed on ships that carry oil and gas products, where the inert gas replaces oxygen in the cargo space to ensure a non-combustible atmosphere. The gas is pumped into the cargo tanks during offloading, for tank inspections or in order to maintain tank overpressure. Alfa Laval has produced inert gas generators for marine use since 1967, and their built- scrubber technology – used for cleaning the inert gas – laid much of the groundwork for today’s Alfa Laval PureSOx exhaust gas cleaning systems.
Most versatile among Alfa Laval’s different inert gas generators, the Smit Combustion system is a low-pressure inert gas solution based on the unique Smit UltramizingÒ principle, which produces soot-free inert gas even when operating below stoichiometric conditions. The system installed at the Alfa Laval Test & Training Centre is capable of running at full load, producing up to 2500 m3/h of inert gas with low (5%) oxygen content. It is also fitted with the Automatic Fuel Efficiency Module (AFEM), which provides up to 40% fuel savings by adjusting the amount of fuel oil and combustion air to the current demand.
Realistic opportunities to push the technology
In preparing the new permanent installation, Alfa Laval has made every effort to recreate onboard conditions and simulate tank pressure. The Smit Combustion system is complete with seawater cooling, delivery valve, purge valve and deck water seal, and it allows stepless adjustment of parameters such as oxygen content, supply pressure and capacity.
“Having a Smit Combustion system at the Alfa Laval Test & Training Centre is an opportunity to test product innovations and improvements in a true-to-life environment, where we can simulate things like high seawater temperatures or variations in tank pressure,” says Marko Van der Smitte, Sales Director Inert Gas Systems at Alfa Laval. “In addition, it lets us provide hands-on training or present and explain the system to customers in a real operating context.”
“One of the main ideas behind the centre is to examine not just individual equipment, but all of the complex interactions on board a vessel,” Van der Smitte continues. “So adding an inert gas production system is a key step that makes the centre even more complete.”