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With its expertise in the evaluation of gas analysers, RICE contributes to the qualification of tools for the energy transition

Gas analyzers are used throughout the gas infrastructure to ensure the quality of injected gases. Discover how RICE qualifies them and makes sure they meet the needs of each operator.

Each infrastructure operator has its own needs in terms of installation, use and maintenance of these analysers.

When new models are put on the market, RICE can qualify all the analysers in its laboratories before their installation in the field, and thus determine whether they meet the needs of each operator. The increase in the share of renewable gases in the network leads to a diversity of applications for these analysers: natural gas, biomethane, hydrogen or synthetic methane, or mixtures of these gases. Presentation of this expertise and unique testing facilities in France.

Analyzers are essential to ensure the conformity of gases in relation to the regulations

Analyzers are tools that allow to measure for a gas mixture :

  • The concentration of the different components of the gas: hydrocarbons, sulphur compounds (e.g. H2S, COS), THT (gas odorant), CO2, O2, H2, other trace compounds…
  • Its calorific value (quantity of energy per unit of mass or volume that is released during combustion), Wobbe index or density
  • Water and oil dew points

They are essential to ensure that a gas mixture complies with regulations or technical specifications and can be injected into the gas infrastructure. Indeed, to authorize injection, the regulations require certain minimum and maximum thresholds for a whole list of components and physical properties.

There is not yet an analyzer capable of determining all the regulatory parameters. Depending on the technology (e.g. chromatography, spectrometry…), the analyser is able to measure one or more parameters.

The analysers are used in the field, for example at interface points between operators, biomethane injection stations, or in the laboratory, such as at RICE to enable the characterisation of new gases such as biomethane within the framework of the Biomethane Characterisation project (Carabio).

RICE has a laboratory capable of evaluating all analysers, especially for new gases

New analyzers are regularly released by manufacturers. Whether it is a request from a customer or whether they are identified in the context of the permanent monitoring activity, RICE carries out a series of tests on these analysers in order to ensure their conformity: reliability of the results, drift over time, resistance to temperature variations, interference with the other compounds present in the gases, etc.

The objective for RICE and its customers is to find reliable analysers, which meet their metrological needs but also their operational needs (installation conditions, maintenance frequency…) and whose purchase and maintenance costs are the lowest possible.

To do this, RICE has set up test protocols over one to two months, with laboratory studies and then statistical studies in order to obtain the most representative results possible of the behaviour of the analysers.

The R&D center has unique equipment in France with a very complete gas library allowing the simulation of a multitude of gas mixtures, covering the main compounds but also the trace compounds that can be found in hydrogen, synthesis gas, biomethane, natural gas, etc.
Field temperature conditions can also be recreated in the laboratory using devices designed for this purpose.
Its activity in connection with network operators also allows it to take samples directly in the field, or to install the analyzer on a station in real conditions to test it over a longer period.

RICE also proposes to accompany suppliers and technology developers in the development of new analysis equipment, in particular by advising them on the needs and constraints of the operators of gas infrastructures, but also by making its testing resources available to them, in particular its gas library

With the development of the new gas sectors (hydrogen, synthetic methane, biomethane), even more analysers are being placed on the market and the activity has thus tripled: RICE now evaluates about ten analysers every year, compared with 2 to 5 per year 10 years ago, and thus contributes to qualifying the tools that are essential for the energy transition.

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