West Virginia Patent of the Month – April 2021

Natural gas can be transported either in its normal gaseous state through pipelines, or as a cryogenic liquified state on ships or trucks. To be transported the latter way, the natural gas is first liquified – a process which reduces the volume by a factor of 600. This incredibly reduced volume makes large volume transport easier. This transportation process involves transfer of the cryogenic liquids from a pipeline to a specialty tank for holding. During this transfer, a sample of the liquid natural gas (LNG) is taken to determine the energy value of the product. This LNG is traditionally analyzed using gas chromatographs, after being reverted back to a gaseous state.This sample is usually analyzed off-site which means it must be stored without loss or phase change. Mustang Sampling, LLC has designed an improved cryogenic liquid sampling device, capable of extracting and storing liquid samples for later analysis.

The system is made of a constant pressure container connected to a sampling device with a sealed chamber. A pump pulls the cryogenic LNG through the chamber into the pressure container. These samples will warm throughout the process, losing their cryogenic status but remaining liquid. The constant pressure and temperature are adjustable to make it work appropriately for varying sample sizes which can also be controlled. The chamber uses a vacuum port to evacuate any extra air from the chamber, creating a vacuum and helping to maintain temperature. The sample container can then be safely transported or stored for later analysis.

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