V-Cone for LNG: Safety and Quality Benefits in Cryogenic Processes

A V-Cone customized with multiple taps.

The V-Cone is often implemented in upstream, midstream, and even downstream oil and gas processes to measure a variety of flow media in various states and temperatures. The V-Cone’s options for customization are among the many factors that prompt customers to choose this meter for such diverse and varied applications. Additionally, it’s often the quality measures behind McCrometer’s an engineering and manufacturing teams that ultimately get the V-Cone specified into projects such as liquified natural gas (LNG) and other cryogenic applications.

Let’s review.

A V-Cone customized with multiple taps.

Cryogenic for LNG

In the LNG process, gas is extracted from the earth, liquified, shipped off, received by regasification plants to be reconstituted, and finally sent to the consumer. In their natural gas, hydrocarbons are volatile, and cryogenic liquefication such a hazardous material ultimately reduces the risk factor, as LNG is virtually non-flammable. Liquifying the natural gas also reduces its volume, creating a more efficient flow media as well as an overall cheaper storage and transport process.

Many major LNG projects who have implemented liquefaction processes have used V-Cones for flow measurement. This process, among others, prioritizes plant performance and economic efficiency. Liquefaction processes are insulated, complex systems that require metering solutions that are durable and consistent. As one of many variables in that system, the V-Cone is relied upon for its minimal-to-no maintenance needed and 25+ year life expectancy.

Non-LNG Cryogenic Applications

Cryogenic applications exceed the LNG market – in fact, McCrometer has provided V-Cones for very specialized, unique cryogenic projects since entering the market in 1985.  The V-Cone was selected to measure cryogenic coolant for detectors on a satellite in outer space, due to the meter’s ability to measure flow media extremely close to absolute zero. The V-Cone’s lifespan and durability were extremely beneficial as well – we can’t think of an installation where ongoing maintenance would be more inconvenient!

The V-Cone as an Emergency Shutdown System-Instrument

Other cryogenic applications, such as gas compressor discharge flow, rely on the V-Cone for its customization flexibility. In addition to the V-Cone’s range of standard and exotic materials for manufacturing, multiple taps can be engineered into the final product as well. Beyond the normal process control taps, additional taps for checks and balances add a level of redundancy to bolster customers’ emergency shutdown systems (ESD). The V-Cone can be customized with multiple taps as a part of a Safety Instrumented System (SIS) to provide measurement redundancy to meet the required Safety Integrity Level (SIL). For cryogenic processes, V-Cone taps can be manufactured with different standoff heights to accommodate thermal and acoustic insulation.

Taller standoff heights on a V-Cone to accommodate insulation.

Additional V-Cone Specifications for Cryogenic Applications

Other popular specifications for these applications include 304L stainless-steel construction due to the characteristic low temperature of cryogenic flow media. Plenty of other materials are available such as nickel-based alloys and even zirconium if required. McCrometer’s engineers work on cryogenic projects often requesting low temperatures of -320 degrees Fahrenheit (-195 degrees Celsius) prompting our teams to perform more stringent quality checks and non-destructive testing (NDT) related specifically to temperature.

Ensuring the integrity of the welds at extremely low temperatures is critical. V-Cones for cryogenic processes are manufactured with different weld procedures to accommodate cryogenic flow media and avoid brittle fracture. NDTs are often performed on the raw material as well as the manufactured flow meter, and may include impact testing, radiography testing, and penetrant testing, often chosen to detect fatigue cracks. All of these NDTs are meant to verify the sustainability of the welds and authenticate that in-house best practices were followed.

Unique Project? No Problem.

Each cryogenic flow project will face different and unique specifications and environmental factors, and each customer will have their own project goals that McCrometer can help them achieve. Custom V-Cones are manufactured to the specifications laid out by the customer and/or their engineering firm. We encourage our customers to communicate with our engineers early on in their design process; each customer is an expert in their project, and our engineers are experts in flow measurement. McCrometer prioritizes collaborating with our customers and channel partners on their challenging flow projects to help develop and manufacture lasting metering solutions.