When does the need for a new industry standard become evident? It might be at the time new technologies emerge in areas where there is incomplete knowledge and understanding. It could be when persistent problems reveal deficiencies in current system designs and field operating practices. Or, it might arise when a lack of comprehensive and universal standards is causing work inefficiencies – so much so that companies are needing to “reinvent the wheel” with each new customer application.
In the case of liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering hose transfer assemblies, a combination of all three factors appeared to be at work. To be sure, LNG fuels are making great strides as an environmentally cleaner way to propel ships around the world when compared to traditional options such as diesel fuel. Since LNG, as a marine fuel, remains in the relatively early stages of market adoption, better standards are needed to help facilitate safe and efficient operations. The necessity is even more pressing when considering the special challenges associated with handling LNG safely; the most significant challenge being the extremely low temperatures (-260°F) and high volatility of LNG.
By Sean Andersen, LNG Specialist, Dixon
A Proven Process Put To Work
In existence since 1898, the ASTM is one of the oldest organizations of its type anywhere in the world. Over the ensuing decades it has fine-tuned a process for developing new industry standards. It’s a process that involves “choreographing” an extensive, far-flung network of industry specialists. The ASTM staff is responsible for administrative support and communication logistics, so that as many specialists as possible can be involved and share their knowledge and insights.
Ripley noted that even with the availability of the latest communication tools, the steps required to develop a new ASTM standard are numerous. “The process can easily take from one year to three years – or even more – depending on factors such as technical complexity, the level of producer and user engagement with the development process, along with external drivers like changes in regulations.”
For the F25 Committee’s work on developing a standard for LNG bunkering hose transfer assemblies, the process was comprehensive. According to Ripley, over a period of 36 months the initiative unfolded as illustrated in Figure 1.
While the steps outlined in Figure 1 may seem onerous and maybe even overly bureaucratic, ASTM’s experience has shown that a methodical approach, while incorporating the input of all interested parties, is the surest way for a new standard to meet the needs of all the participants in the industry; including manufacturers, end-users, government agencies and regulators. In the case of the new ASTM standard being developed for LNG bunkering hose transfer assemblies, the full spectrum of specialists involved in the development process numbered approximately 15-20 people.
Rudi den Dulk, an engineer with composite hose manufacturer Guettling USA, saw success in how the ASTM’s process brought the right level of involvement from people representing all constituencies.
“When you consider all who were involved in the process, every aspect and angle was truly covered. It made for comprehensive and consequential discussions, and it led us to a strong end-product: a standard that is useful as well as practical,” Dulk maintains.
How Will the New Standard Impact the Industry?
The new ASTM F3312 / F3312M – 18 standard provides guidance on the minimum requirements for the design, manufacture, installation and operation of hose transfer assemblies for cryogenic service as it pertains to the bunkering of LNG-fueled vessels. A primary area of focus within the new standard is to ensure the containment of the pressurized fluid and safe operations.
Since there are significant safety risks associated with the flammability and cryogenic temperatures of LNG, piping and hose assemblies built for LNG service must be designed to rigorous standards in order to mitigate any safety risks to operators in the field.
The new ASTM standard does not attempt to address all safety concerns. It remains the responsibility of all parties using the standard to establish proper safety, health and environmental practices, along with determining the applicability of any regulatory limitations.
Foster notes that the new ASTM standard is recognized not only in American LNG loading terminals, but has international reach and influence as well.
“The ASTM standard mirrors the international standard, with some added enhancements. I expect that it will quickly be officially recognized by most, if not all, of significant national and international companies involved in the LNG bunkering field,” Foster predicts.
The new ASTM F3312 / F3312 – 18 Standard Practice for Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) Bunkering Hose Transfer Assembly can be downloaded via the following link: https://astm.org/Standards/F3312.htm.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sean Andersen is a product manager and LNG Specialist at Dixon. In addition to working closely with customers to evaluate, design and deliver custom LNG transport and bunkering systems, he is active in numerous industry organizations and societies. He is currently a member of the Chemical Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC) Sub-Committee on LNG and the American Society of Testing and Measurement (ASTM) committee that is developing specifications and requirements for LNG fueling.