The COFRAC accreditation of these benches confirms the know-how of the teams and strengthens the position of RICE among the test laboratories in Europe.
RICE has, in the commune of Alfortville (Val de Marne), a unique testing center in Europe which allows it to calibrate in natural gas and air, up to pressures of 30 bar and flow rates of 8000 Nm3/h, the metering equipment that is used today and will be used in the future in gas transport and distribution networks.
An important part of the calibration and R&D study needs to which RICE’s test facilities respond concerns so-called transactional equipment, which is used to determine the quantities delivered and invoiced by suppliers to their customers, whether industrial, tertiary or domestic, or the quantities delivered at the interfaces between the various gas infrastructure operators. Considering the extent of the associated financial stakes, in particular for the network operators, notably the stake linked to the control of their gas balance difference, it is fundamental for the RICE sponsors that the quality of the results provided be recognized, opposable, and guaranteed within the framework of an international standard “NF EN ISO/CEI 17025” by an independent third party organization
This is why RICE has been engaged since the beginning of 2019 in a process of accreditation by the “COFRAC Calibration” of its flowmetering test means. By auditing laboratories according to the requirements of the NF EN ISO/CEI 17025:2017 standard, COFRAC recognizes the competence and impartiality of the laboratories and guarantees that the results delivered are reliable, opposable, and traceable to the International System of Units. Thanks to multilateral agreements between countries, a calibration certificate issued by a COFRAC accredited laboratory is recognized in many countries around the world and in most European countries.
This approach has resulted in a first success with the accreditation of the “BS2” domestic meter calibration bench (fluid: air / pressure range: Patm to 20 mbarg / flow rate range: 40 l/h to 10 Nm3/h – extended uncertainty: 0.5%) obtained in July 2021. In July 2022, a second important step was taken with the extension of this accreditation to the “PLAT” industrial meter calibration bench (fluid: natural gas / pressure range: BP to 30 barg / flow rate range: 10 Nm3/h to 8000 Nm3/h – extended uncertainty: 0.3%), under the n° 2-6836 rev. 1.
With an expanded uncertainty of 0.3%, the PLAT bench is among the best natural gas references in the world. Through its association with the CESAME EXADEBIT gas flowmeter, which holds the primary standard (PVTt) of the French gas flowmetering chain, the French metrology system can display calibration and measurement capabilities for high-pressure and high-flow natural gas flowmetering recognized by the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures. The COFRAC accreditation of this bench consolidates this association and strengthens the position of RICE within Europe, which is important for the gas industry in France.