Cryogenic insulation materials

Cryogenic insulation - for efficient transport and safe storage of cryogenic gases (LNG, LPG, ethylene)

Global demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) is rising. High-performance technology is required for reliable transport and storage. Engineers have to develop plants that are safe and efficient. The extremely low temperature range of -161 to -164 °C (112 to 109 K), at which natural gas is in a liquid state, places high demands on the technical infrastructure throughout the entire value chain of LNG. All the plant components and systems coming into contact with the liquefied gas have to be extremely well insulated.

This includes, in particular, the pipework through which the LNG is transported and the tanks for storage of the liquefied gas. It is important that the tanks and pipework are reliably insulated from adjacent plant components due to the low temperature of the liquefied gas. This also applies to points at which mechanical forces have to be absorbed, such as at mounts or support bearings. Thermal bridges at these points must be avoided at all costs. This requires high-performance cryogenic insulation materials which do not become embrittled, that can absorb high mechanical forces, and that offer exceptionally low thermal conductivity.

Materials for cryogenic insulation

We offer you materials specifically developed for cryogenic insulation. Our laminated densified wood Lignostone® cryogenic and our fibre-reinforced composite material Durolight® have been successfully applied in numerous projects. With their special properties, they help ensure the safe transport and reliable storage of LNG.

 

Lignostone® cryogenic and Durolight®:

  • Reliable avoide thermal bridges
  • Have high mechanical stability
  • Allow efficient transport and storage of LNG
  • Robust and low-maintenance
  • Approved/specified by numerous companies
  • Used throughout the world - proven quality

Applications of cryogenic insulation materials

Our cryogenic insulation materials are used throughout the world in different applications along the LNG value chain. For example:

Ships:

  • Storage tanks
  • Fuel tanks
  • Pipe systems

Terminals:

  • Pipe systems
  • Storage tanks
  • Terminals

Offshore:

  • Floating LNG and LPG ships
  • Bunkering tank supports

Lignostone® cryogenic

The material Lignostone® cryogenic consists of laminated densified wood impregnated with synthetic resin, manufactured from a renewable material, selected beech veneers (Fagus sylvatica). It is impregnated under vacuum with thermosetting synthetic resin and densified under heat and pressure. This produces a unique character profile that makes it ideal for thermal insulation of LNG systems.

Proven applications include:

  • Pipe supports

Properties - Lignostone® cryogenic:

  • Low thermal conductivity
  • Outstanding temperature resistance: -196 °C to +90 °C
  • High mechanical strength
  • Low coefficient of slide friction
  • High wear and abrasion resistance
  • Low specific weight

Advantages:

Lignostone® cryogenic

  • reliably insulates LNG storage tanks, fuel tanks and pipe systems
  • and thus, contributes towards the efficiency, durability and reliability of these applications.

Durolight® - cryogenic supports for pipework systems

Durolight® was specifically developed for supports for pipework systems. With its special formulation of selected resins in conjunction with high-strength glass fibre reinforcement, it offers very low thermal conductivity, excellent thermal insulation and is suitable for applications with temperatures of -196 °C to +200 °C. At the same time, Durolight® stands out for its high dimensional stability and resistance to corrosion and chemicals, and is free of halogens. It is also flame retardant in accordance with the international standard UL 94 with the classification V0. Thus, it meets the high requirements of materials used for the conveyance and transport of LNG.

Applications:

Properties - Durolight®

  • Very low thermal conductivity
  • High mechanical strength
  • Application at temperatures of -196 to +200°C
  • Dimensionally stable
  • Flame-retardant (free of halogens)
  • UV resistant

Why is high-performance cryogenic insulation important?

LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) is natural gas which when liquefied only has 1/600 of its volume in a gaseous state. The natural gas is cooled down to -164 °C to liquefy it. Thanks to the reduction in volume, the liquefied natural gas is ideal for efficient transport and storage. However, the low temperature of LNG places particularly high demands on the plant components and the equipment that is used for storage and transport of LNG – such as pipework systems transporting LNG, and tanks in which LNG is stored. The pipes and tanks have to be permanently thermally insulated from the adjacent plant components. This requires cryogenic insulation.

Prevention of heat exchange

The cryogenic insulation has to reliably prevent heat exchange between the pipes and tanks and plant structure. This is extremely important for the efficient operation of the plants along the LNG value chain. This is for three main reasons:

  • Thermal exchange and resulting temperature increase of the tanks and pipes would increase the energy required for cooling the liquefied gas.
  • At the same time, cooling of the adjacent structure, such as treads, would cause formation of ice and compromise work safety.
  • In addition, cryogenic insulation prevents extreme temperature fluctuations, thus avoiding the undesired expansion of plant components and the resulting strain this would place on connection members.

Requirements on cryogenic insulation

The efficiency of cryogenic insulation particularly depends on its thermal conductivity, in conjunction with the mechanical properties, such as pressure and shear strength. The thermal conductivity is specified by the unit of measure W/(m•K). The lower this value for a material is, the lower its thermal conductivity and the better it is at avoiding thermal bridges.
However, the efficiency of cryogenic insulation materials is not solely determined by low thermal conductivity. Depending on the application in the LNG value chain, the materials have to meet a number of additional requirements. This includes, for example:

  • Low flammability for areas which have to meet high requirements with respect to fire behaviour (including no halogens)
  • Mechanical properties: for example for supporting structures for pipework systems
  • High resistance to UV radiation and corrosion: for example in offshore applications
  • Continuous operation temperature
  • Dimensional stability

Individual cryogenic insulation

The specific requirements and ambient conditions need to be factored into the choice of cryogenic insulation materials for your application. Each application requires individually coordinated cryogenic insulation materials.

We are happy to advise you on the selection of suitable cryogenic insulation materials for your particular application. Just ask us. Individually machined Lignostone® cryogenic and Durolight® components are available according to your specifications.

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Rainer Sanders
General Manager Sales & Marketing

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