West Virginia Patent of the Month – April 2023

Mustang Sampling LLC has developed an innovative vaporizer and conditioning system for accurately sampling and conditioning liquid gas vapor from a liquid sample. This technology addresses the issue of maintaining the integrity of the liquid sample to the vaporizer and maintaining the vaporized liquid sample with minimal pressure and temperature variation to avoid inaccuracies.

The LNG (liquefied natural gas) production process involves cooling natural gas to a temperature of approximately −260° F for loading and transport. Accurate analysis of the constituents and energy value of the gas is crucial during custody transfer, as the BTU value of a shipment is subject to change in transit.

Gas sample conditioning plays an important role in accurate analysis. Once the liquid sample is extracted, it is communicated through a corrosion-resistant super alloy to a sample conditioner for vaporization, pressure regulation, and analysis. During the entire liquid to vapor process, it is important to prevent pre-vaporization and to maintain the vapor at a temperature and pressure outside the vapor phase curve to minimize the risk of Joule Thomson hydrocarbon dew point dropout in the form of condensation.

The improved vaporizer and conditioning system developed by Mustang Sampling includes a resistance temperature detector unit, a sweeping bend, a thermal break for minimizing heat energy transfer, and a flow buffering input manifold that splits the input into multiple outputs with reduced pressure drop and enhanced flow volume uniformity. 

Each heater cartridge unit includes an electrically powered heater rod of a select length with a coiled tubing segment designed to extend above the upper end of the heater rod, and spiral wrapping to minimize spacing between turns, maximize the contact surface area of the coil tubing with the heater rod, and minimize pressure drop across the coil tubing length. A thermocouple is disposed below the coil tubing segment to monitor the temperature of the vaporized gas. The vaporized gas is then passed through an exit manifold incorporating inputs corresponding to the number of outputs from the vaporizer. Each exit manifold input includes a shutoff valve to terminate flow from its respective heater cartridge unit. The exit manifold includes an interior accumulator chamber to mix the respective inputs into a common output stream that is passed to a downstream analyzer.

This improved vaporizer and conditioning system provides enhanced sample pre-vaporization mixing and post-vaporization mixing without condensation from pressure loss. It also includes an improved explosion-proof vaporizer enclosure that provides for efficient modular mounting of heat exchange elements comprising coiled tubing wrapped heater cartridges that improve heat exchange, prolong the useful life of the heater cartridges, and facilitate access for maintenance and replacement.

Mustang Sampling’s innovative vaporizer and conditioning system for liquid gas vapor has the potential to revolutionize the LNG production process by improving the accuracy and reliability of gas analysis during custody transfer.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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