As the world turns its attention to hydrogen as a primary energy resource, equipment manufacturers are gearing up to manage it. Richard Laukam, ValvTechnologies, and Tim Webb, Severn, discuss the pivotal role of valves in supporting a hydrogen economy.

At Present, hydrogen is dominating the headlines worldwide. This is no surprise, as this versatile fuel seems destined to play a crucial role in the world’s transition to a low-carbon economy. As the simplest and most abundant element in the universe, hydrogen offers great promise. The International Energy Agency (IEA)’s ‘Future of Hydrogen’ report asserts that, globally, clean hydrogen is benefitting from unprecedented political and business momentum, with both policy initiatives and projects expanding rapidly.1 

The report suggests that there is currently a major window of opportunity to upscale hydrogen technologies and reduce associated costs, thereby enabling the broad use of hydrogen worldwide. In keeping with this, countries across the globe are announcing national strategies that rely on hydrogen to address environmental concerns without weakening energy security.

Scientists have studied hydrogen as a source of energy since the 1800s, and it has been an essential industrial feedstock and fuel for decades. Today, however, it is attracting considerable interest due to its potential to decarbonise major economic sectors, such as power generation, long-haul transportation, construction, manufacturing, chemicals, iron and steel.

Existing and future hydrogen infrastructure

Existing technologies enable hydrogen to produce, store, move and use energy in a variety of ways. It can be produced from renewables, nuclear, natural gas, coal and oil. In gaseous form, it can be transported by pipelines, and in liquid form, it can be transported by ships (much like LNG). In addition, it can be transformed into electricity and even blended with methane to power homes and industry, as well as into fuels for cars, trucks, ships and planes.2

Hydrogen has been used in refineries for more than 40 years. The gas is produced by steam methane reforming (SMR) in a process that emits carbon pollution. This product is commonly referred to as grey hydrogen. However, green hydrogen has been proven, at scale, using renewables to power methane pyrolysis or water electrolysis. Although there remains some technological uncertainty in many new applications – and the hydrogen infrastructure will require new networks and storage, as well as integration into gas and electricity networks – its potential is clear. Many countries are taking first steps towards the investment and deployment of hydrogen.

Safety concerns

As engineers worldwide focus increasingly on hydrogen, they are well aware it diffuses readily through materials, including the base metal substrates and coatings of the isolation valves that are critical to safe hydrogen processing. Christian Tae, Policy Analyst, Climate & Clean Energy Program, Natural Resources Defence Council, wrote a piece on the safety concerns behind the use of hydrogen, and underlined that whilst there are hazards to consider, this is not something that the industry has not dealt with before.3 

Indeed, gaseous hydrogen, when mixed with omnipresent oxygen in the air, can self-ignite (whereas liquid hydrogen is far less volatile.) Therefore, hydrogen infrastructure of the future will require the use of both isolation and control valves to keep hydrogen flowing safely. Zero-leakage isolation valves will be needed to prevent leaks both externally and internally – from the valve stem or body/bonnet joints, as well as through the ball and seat. Control valves must operate with precision, preventing external leakage.

API 641 and fugitive emissions

The API 641 standard for fugitive emissions from quarter-turn valves was released in late 2016. As with the earlier standard, API 624 for rising-stem valves, this new standard is the type test for quarter-turn valves, gauging their low-emission performance during an accelerated life cycle.

API 641 applies to all stem-seal materials. To pass, the valve cannot allow leakage of more than 100 ppmv for the duration of the test. The API test standard calls for 610 cycles of the valve, under extreme temperature fluctuations, thereby evaluating emission performance during an accelerated life cycle.

Through and external leakage standards

The most stringent ANSI standard – Class VI, for hydrogen service – addresses through leakage between the valve’s ball and seat. ISO 15848-1 addresses external leakage from a body or stem joint leaking to the atmosphere. The standard, at the highest level (AH), is typically achieved with bellows seals or an equivalent stem (shaft) sealing system for quarter-turn valves. ValvTechnologies achieved class AH using fugitive emissions packing as opposed to bellows seals.

Helium to hydrocarbons to hydrogen isolation

ValvTechnologies initially developed its V Series with RiTech® H zero-leakage valves for helium service, processing high-purity silicon for a US manufacturer of semiconductors. The manufacturer successfully used nearly 5000 of the zero-leakage valves from 2004 to 2015, when it closed due to global trade restrictions. The valve continues to be used for select hydrocarbon processes – with either pure or partial hydrogen – in multiple refineries worldwide. It is also suited for the emerging hydrogen market.

Achieving zero leakage in hydrogen service

To ensure zero hydrogen leakage, these valves (both balls and seats) are coated with a proprietary chemical solution and compressive

spray technique that fills and seals the inherent microcracks and porosity of base metals. This proprietary process is called RiTech, for robotically-integrated technology. The valve components, whether manufactured from chromium carbide or tungsten carbide, are saturated with the chemical solution at room temperature, and then fired to chemically bond the coating and substrate.

This occurs in a robotically-integrated, high-velocity oxygen fuel spray booth, reducing porosity to zero and preventing even minor infiltration by hydrogen molecules or corrosives. This coating is optimum for impure hydrogen, and for pure hydrogen at pressures less than 3500 psi. If pressures exceed 3500 psi, the company recommends a spray-and-fuse process. In addition to material coatings to maintain zero leakage, an integral seat eliminates the possibility of gas escaping between a separate seat and seat pocket. A Belleville spring forces the upstream seat into the ball and, in turn, into the integral seat. The spring load is very high, ensuring that hydrogen cannot leak past the seat. With such tight isolation, the valves produce higher operating torques which are critical for the positive shut-off demanded in hydrogen service.

Control valve considerations

Isolation and control valves have different roles to play: the control valve regulates fluid flow by varying the flow area, as signalled by a controller, to manipulate pressure, temperature and liquid level. To eliminate external leakage, globe control valves with rising stems use live-loaded, high-integrity gland packing, or even a bellows seal, but continue to provide precise control. These valves typically meet both international and ASME standards. When selecting a control valve, it is important to look for multiple trim options to ensure that the valve meets both current and future requirements. As demand for hydrogen ramps up, the selected valves can be retrofitted for precise control.

Looking to the future

It is clear that isolation and control valves will play an important role in the future global hydrogen market, in order to safely contain and control hydrogen in both liquid and gaseous form. ValvTechnologies and Severn will continue to develop and refine products to meet the exacting performance and safety standards of the energy transition.

References

1 – ‘The future of hydrogen’, International Energy Agency (IEA) (June 2019).

2 – ‘H2@Scale’, US Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, www.energy.gov/eere/fuelcells/h2scale

3 – TAE, C., ‘Hydrogen Safety: Let’s Clear the Air’, NRDC, (14 January 2021), www.nrdc.org/experts/christian-tae/hydrogen-safety-lets-clear-air

The engineering specialist, LB Bentley Ltd, has been awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade.

The award recognises the British manufacturer’s three-year trajectory of continuous growth in overseas sales between 2018 and 2020, with a significant growth in international trade. 

LB Bentleys strategic growth was born out of the principles of its heritage which is to design and manufacture highly engineered, quality products for deployment in extreme environments.  Over the years their commitment to innovation delivered alongside the ability to listen to industry needs and customer requirements has driven the development of the business and potential available growth.  Due to the dedication of its employees LB Bentley were able to continue to grow even when challenged with the adversity of the global pandemic.

The medium to long term strategic focus for LB Bentley is to develop the product range in other areas of the energy industry and affiliated industries, such as the subsea renewable energy markets and clean power generation. With years of expertise and a focus on research & development LB Bentley are looking to deliver solutions to support customers new technological developments. The ability to understand the requirements to export and operate in this global business arena will be very important for these emerging markets.

LB Bentley has 120 employees based in the UK with 3 employees based in strategic geographical locations.  LB Bentley are part of Severn Group a family of complementary specialist, high-end engineering and manufacturing companies who are a leading global force in the Energy and Industrials market.

“The last few years have been extremely challenging globally with demands facing not just us but also our customers and suppliers” says Rhys Jones, Divisional President. “The LB Bentley team have risen to this challenge, with their dedication to deliver high quality products and a clear focus on customer service they have driven significant growth and success.  I am proud to be part of this progressive British engineering and manufacturing company that delivers truly world-class products.”

Contact LB Bentley

Our engineers apply experience and innovation to the design and development of small bore subsea valves and actuators which position us as a global leader in our field.

Contact Us

The revolutionary Severn OCT® technology introduces hybrid sealing technology to the Triple Offset Valve (TOV), with interchangeable seals and dual anti-blowout design, ensuring our TOV meet the most stringent of specifications.

When comparing Triple Offset valves (TOV) to Double Offset valves, on paper the valves can appear to be very similar. However, there is a distinct advantage to using the more technical offering that comes with a TOV. The conical shape of the disc and seal offers repeatable sealing and extended service life. Severn’s patented OCT® technology enhances the traditional TOV, and these enhancements will be explored further in the article.

The Oblique Cone Technology (OCT®) moves away from the traditional elliptical shape and provides circular sealing geometry, allowing proven Double Offset sealing knowledge being incorporated into the TOV. We can utilise trims that are traditionally found on double offset valves, such as an anti-cavitation trim, making the TOV the ultimate valve for both isolation and control application specifications.

8500 TOV OCT®

The TOV is self-compensating for wear, meaning consistent sealing performance is achieved time after time. The camming action of the third offset reduces seal wear by minimising seal contact. The disc and seal only contact each other in the last 1-2° of operation, not only minimising wear but also reducing friction. Comparing this to a Double Offset valve, which contacts for 10° of operation.

Severn’s investment in Research & Development has been key to introducing hybrid sealing technology to the TOV. By utilising our hybrid polymer metallic seal, we can apply the self-compensating benefits of the TOV to a polymer seal. Partnering a Polymer with the metallic element of the seal, means that should the soft seal become damaged in operation, the metal seal will take over and provide a reliable seal.

The hybrid seal has undergone a strict regime of testing, including cycle and fire testing, proving that even in extreme conditions, the valve can still provide a seal with zero leakage. Should damage occur to the Double Offset it is unlikely to achieve an acceptable level of sealing meaning the seal would need replacing resulting in unplanned and costly downtime.

The standard design of the TOV incorporates the requirements of the most stringent specifications. Dual anti blowout design comes as standard, ensuring the shaft cannot be ejected from the valve. The polymer seal is fully compliant with EN ISO 80079-36 (ATEX) requirements.

Anti Blowout Packing Set

As time goes on, things change. That is why we have ensured the interchangeability of the seal, should the sealing requirement not become as critical, and process conditions become more arduous. The HS seal can be changed to a laminated seal, or if conditions dictate, a solid seal. This can be done without the need for main valve components being replaced. The complete in-field serviceable valve can be upgraded on site without the need for specialist tools or knowledge.

Laminated Seal
Solid Seal
HS / SW Seal

If you require further technical information on the 8500 and 8500 OCT Triple Offset valve series, please refer to the product page via the button below:

Operators are under increasing focus on reducing fugitive emissions for both onshore and offshore assets, to reduce harmful emission to achieve their core imperatives of safe operations and minimum downtime.

Fugitive emissions is a hot topic that will only become more critical in the environmentally conscious world we now live in. Fugitive emissions are a leak of gas or vapour, normally due to poor maintenance or packing sets being utilised without a true understanding of the application, leading to potential product performance issues and a variety of costly, detrimental failures.

How are Severn meeting the challenges of emission control?

Severn have been investing a significant amount of R&D to address fugitive emissions in Control valves and their application requirements. By utilising a range of materials from filled graphite through to custom PTFE based compounds, Severn have, coupled with novel packing designs, been able to achieve tighter leakage rates than had previously achieved with standard packing sets.  We have reduced control valve emission leaks to a minimum across our whole product range, without impacting on product performance and reliability.

The performance of valves with fugitive emission sealing systems are a critical consideration for the operator. Traditionally compression packings were simply tightened to ensure the seals were effective. This can increase friction reducing valve performance and controllability and leading to potential total valve failure.

Thanks to extensive testing carried out as part of Severn’s ongoing product research and development, we now have packing sets that achieve classes ISO 15848-1 A, B & C with valve processes from -196°C to +425°C and at pressures up to 10000PSI on both linear and rotary control valves.

An important consideration to take is that the operation cycles for an isolation valve to ISO 15848-1 can be as little as 201 cycles, while a control valve will have to achieve at least 20000, making the reliability of the sealing system a significant consideration and often necessitates a specifically designed sealing system. It is important that the correct specification is identified, Severn’s applications experts are on hand to help with this, drawing upon our unrivalled bank of valve and application data that forms part of Severn’s Repair Intelligence.

Working together with the client and implementing over 60 years of engineering excellence and valve knowledge we have at Severn, we ensure that true application needs are identified so that correct components are utilised in the product, avoiding the packing sets which may not be suitable for the application which could lead to significant valve performance issues.

Implementing these procedures and working with the client will help to achieve lower emissions from the valves population, which is a core imperative for our clients, with the global commitment to reduce harmful emission output on the back of COP26.

Severn also offer the ability to utilise its significant experience in sealing systems to retrofit customers existing valves from all OEM’s with innovative high integrity packing systems.

Meeting the challenge of fugitive emissions is just one of many methods that we help you, as our client, to meet your core imperatives of safe operations and minimum downtime.

If you have are having valve performance issues that are affecting your production capabilities, contact us today via the button below.

Deal expands specialist group serving the global severe-service valve market.

Gloucester, UK, 06 November 2021: Severn Group, the global family of specialist high-end valve engineering and manufacturing companies, which includes Severn and LB Bentley, has acquired US-headquartered ValvTechnologies, a leader in the design and manufacture of metal-seated, zero-leakage isolation valve solutions for demanding applications.


The deal, which follows the strategic partnership announced in June of this year, represents a step toward Severn Group’s vision to become the leading global severe service valve specialist in the energy and industrials sectors. ValvTechnologies will retain its operational independence, but will benefit from a broader pool of expertise and resources as part of the wider Group, alongside Severn and LB Bentley.


ValvTechnologies, Severn and LB Bentley represent an exceptional strategic fit. For example, where Severn excels in upstream oil and gas, and LB Bentley provides subsea specialisms, ValvTechnologies majors in mining and power. For Severn Group, this acquisition furthers a diversification strategy that will see the family of businesses increase its international presence, widen the industries served, expand its product offering and benefit from a combined approach to delivering on site service support capabilities across all markets.


As part of this transition, Mr. Kevin Hunt, has taken the decision to step down as President of ValvTechnologies. He will be handing over his day-to-day responsibilities to the existing leadership team, with Chad Bowers, previously Director of Manufacturing at ValvTechnologies, taking the role of President.


Perttu Louhiluoto, CEO of Severn Group, comments: “I would firstly like to thank Mr. Hunt for his 30+ years of dedication to ValvTechnologies, having led the development of industry leading products and playing an instrumental role in growing the business into the successful enterprise it is today. I have great confidence in the existing ValvTechnologies executive management team, and I am delighted to welcome Chad Bowers as he takes on the role of President.


“Our goal is to build an offering that better serves global demand for critical-application valves and aftermarket services in the energy and industrial sectors. We are incredibly confident that this deal will accelerate the growth of ValvTechnologies and the existing Severn Group companies, while significantly elevating our offering to current and prospective customers. With extended capabilities including enhanced global reach, product diversity and specialist solutions, we will provide customers with unrivalled support for the operational and assurance needs of their plants.”


Chad Bowers, President at ValvTechnologies, adds: “By joining Severn Group, we mark an incredibly exciting step in ValvTechnologies’ evolution. Our collective heritage in delivering engineering solutions for demanding applications will bring a strengthened offering to the market at a critical time for customers. Traditional core imperatives of safe operations and minimum downtime are increasingly coupled with a commitment to sustainability, and meeting these demands requires expert knowledge of asset life-cycle and process conditions. In joining Severn Group, this is exactly what we deliver – intimate knowledge of day-to-day operations, combined with relentless commitment to innovating severe service valve solutions for the future.”


This deal has been funded by Bluewater, the specialist international private equity firm. Bluewater originally invested in Severn Group in 2019.

About ValvTechnlogies

Part of Severn Group, ValvTechnologies was founded in 1987 and is headquartered in Houston, Texas. It is the leading manufacturer of zero-leakage, high-performance isolation valve solutions providing an unsurpassed level of severe service isolation services and reliability to customers in upstream and downstream energy, chemical processing, mining and minerals, pulp and paper and other specialised industries.

Severn Announce New CEO Perttu Louhiluoto

Perttu joins Severn with over 30 years of international executive and leadership experience.

His expertise in implementing international growth strategies will be critical for Severn as we continue to develop our position as a global force in the valve and energy markets.

Together with Perttu’s leadership and Severn’s engineering excellence, we will achieve our global growth ambitions and expand our reach, product offering, and customer proposition.

‘Severn is a premier engineering business with severe service valve solutions that are pre-eminent in the global energy market. The ambition and drive I have witnessed in my short time here while meeting the various teams and people at our global sites leave me with every confidence that with the combined vision and support by Blue Water Energy, this journey will be one of immense growth and success’.

Severn manufactures and supports high quality valves for the energy industries. Its control, choke and small bore subsea valves are pre-eminent in the global market, underpinning the reliability and high performance of business-critical client infrastructure.

Severn’s global reach, technical prowess, and collaborative approach – all founded upon a heritage of British engineering excellence – help to assure production continuity for clients and reduce the prospect of costly downtime. 

Its understanding of the life-cycle of assets positions Severn to offer end-to-end engineering solutions, enabling clients to meet their core imperatives: safe operations and minimum downtime.

 

Severn on-site fire testing capabilities

At Severn, we don’t have to outsource fire testing for products to an external company which is both expensive and a timely process, even if the valve passes the test(s) first time.

We have our own on-site fire testing units across the Severn group, covering the latest ISO 10497, API 607, and API 6FA test specifications.

Having on-site fire testing capabilities across the group reduces cost for the customer when the requirement for firesafe certification in necessary. With a high success rate on our patented Triple Offset OCT range, it enables us to closely assess how the valves perform under extreme conditions and engineer them accordingly, which in turn gives us a high pass rate with some of our tests passing with minimal to zero leakage.

By understanding exactly how our products react in extreme circumstances and utilising Severn’s repair intelligence we can provide the most appropriate solution to our clients whilst maintaining the highest quality standards.

Having on-site fire testing facilities also means product/order turnaround is significantly quicker than other companies, who must outsource their product testing to test house in order to qualify the product. If a valve fails on test at our onsite fire testing facility, we can immediately identify and rectify the issue(s) and test the valve again. This reduces not only the time of testing and turnaround but also the overall cost to the client.

Severn verify the fire testing by having all tests witnessed by a 3rd party inspector.

Severn manufactures and supports high quality valves for the energy industries. Its control, choke and small bore subsea valves are pre-eminent in the global market, underpinning the reliability and high performance of business-critical client infrastructure.

Severn’s global reach, technical prowess, and collaborative approach – all founded upon a heritage of British engineering excellence – help to assure production continuity for clients and reduce the prospect of costly downtime.

Its understanding of the life-cycle of assets positions Severn to offer end-to-end engineering solutions, enabling clients to meet their core imperatives: safe operations and minimum downtime.

If you want to find out more about Severn’s products and its testing capabilities, get in contact by completing our ‘Contact Us’ form.

Compressor anti-surge control valves for FPSO North Sea Client delivered three days ahead of schedule

Compressor anti-surge control valves for FPSO North Sea Client delivered three days ahead of schedule

Compressor Anti-surge Control Valves delivered three days ahead of schedule

Industry : Oil & Gas FPSO

Location: UK Central North Sea

Project: Two anti-surge control valves to be delivered within a tight time frame for UK Central North Sea Client

The Challenge:

A North Sea operator needed a solution for a technically challenging anti-surge application, required on a very short delivery schedule of 16 weeks, the initial requirement was for one valve to be delivered and the second valve to be delivered 10 days later.

Finding a solution:

The Severn team made initial engagement with the client to full understand the application and performance requirements that the customer needed.

A swift coordinated approach internally by Severn’s application and engineering team was needed and the teams worked closely together as it was imperative that the issue was identified quickly so a solution could be provided, manufactured and delivered within the 16-week delivery schedule.

The product:

After identifying the clients requirements, the engineering team designed and manufactured two off 4” Cass 1500 RTJ Fig 5413 LTCS Body, SS/FC Trim, 14 Turn CCD, PC1N Pneumatic actuator with a Neles Positioner.

The positioner was revised mid order as per clients added operational requirements, the team was seamless in reacting to this change with no impact on the design or delivery schedule.

The outcome:

The contracts department managed the scope of the job and the challenges it brought professionally and with complete transparency; the client was kept fully informed throughout the production and delivery process.

The collaboration between the different departments and the constant engagement and the feedback with the client ultimately led to both valves being delivered three days in advance of the 16-week schedule, this was appreciated by the client.

The valve performed significantly well within the anti-surge required by the client for this application, especially on small step changes. This was a major issue with the clients previous valve, and an issue our team overcame with flying colours.

Severn requested to provide engineering support offshore on the asset, firstly with the installation and then subsequent valve commissioning activity.

I want to take this opportunity to personally thank the entire Severn team for their continued focus and support during this project and more importantly, for getting both valves ready for shipping ahead of an already tight schedule.

Getting two high spec anti surge valves designed, assembled , and fully tested in less than 16 weeks is definitely an achievement” – Client representative

Mars Valve UK, a Severn company, have recently secured a 10-year agreement with Mars Taiwan to become the sole UK distributor.

Despite the agreement taking longer than initially thought to achieve, the work from Rhys Jones, Chief Commercial Officer Severn Group and Sarah Jamison, Senior Legal Counsel Severn Group, has helped greatly to get this agreement over the line and put in place a much more robustly secure agreement that will help Mars Valve UK with its continued business growth.

This new agreement also displays the high level of trust built up over the last 12 months between Mars Valve UK and Mars Taiwan, after what was a difficult time for the business. The level of hard work put in day in, day out from the Mars Valve UK team is second to none and the results for such a small team are outstanding. The whole team is looking forward to continuing this growth over the next 12 months and beyond‘ – Wayne Lyons, Business Manager, Mars Valve UK

If you want to find out more about Mars Valve UK, and its UK distribution with the securing of the 10-year agreement with Mars Taiwan then get in touch below.

Mars Valve UK Ltd is the UK master distributor for Mars Valve Taiwan.

Established in 1997, Mars Valve Taiwan, design and manufacture a large range of stainless steel ball valves for a range of industrial applications.

Mars Valve UK Ltd was formed in 2000 and has grown from strength to strength, we have a excellent technical knowledge of over 28 years in the UK valve industries, we have gained a global reputation for the quality of its valves and the aftersales service provided.

Mars Valve’s channel to market is through a series on regional master distributors – who represent the product, and ensure local stock and technical support provides the service orientation.

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