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Multiphase Wave Lab

The Multiwave lab is a unique wave tank in which we can vary the pressure, temperature and gas composition to simulate wave impacts on scale. This facilitiy is used for the development of Liquid Natural Gas and liquid hydrogen.

The Multiphase Wave Lab is a unique test facility for investigations on the transport of cryogenic cargoes by sea, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquid hydrogen (LH2). The facility enables us to predict wave impacts of LNG and LH2.

Natural gas and hydrogen

The aim is to reduce gas emissions with regard to the environment and health. A switch to natural gas as fuel for the transport sector and to hydrogen further in the future will reduce CO2 emissions and significantly improve air quality. Cooling to extremely low temperatures liquefies these gases so they can be taken on board in large quantities. Use of these cryogenic fuels on board ships requires special fuel and loading tanks. The tanks have to be thermally well insulated and must be resistant to the sloshing of liquid in the tanks. This sloshing action can be dangerous because of the resulting waves impact on the tank sides. To develop cryogenic tanks, we need to accurately predict the thermodynamic behaviour of the liquid and the tank as well as the wave impacts of the cryogenic liquids.

Breaking waves

The extremely low temperature and the physical phenomena during a wave impact of LNG or LH2 make deterministic predictions of wave impacts very complex. The Multiphase Wave Lab (MWL) has been especially developed to investigate these physical phenomena and to develop new design tools for cryogenic tanks. Thus, the MWL comprises a type of cylindrical tank 2.5 m in diameter and 15 m in length, in which we can vary the pressure, temperature and gas composition. In this tank, we place a 10 m long wave flume in which we can generate large breaking waves. We measure the power of the waves on the tank walls with pressure sensors and high-speed cameras and we analyse in detail. We are carrying out this investigation in the research programme SLING (Sloshing of Liquefied Natural Gas). In this programme, we work together with various Dutch universities and national and international companies. SLING is also financed by NWO-TTW.

Cryogenic tanks

We are also investigating the thermal behaviour of cryogenic tanks in the Multiphase Wave Lab. This research is done in the LNGPITCH4 project, which is supporting Dutch companies to develop a new cryogenic tank for the maritime sector. For this, we have placed in the MWL a prototype of the new cryogenic tank and exposed it to varying environmental conditions, such as pressure and temperature. LNGPITCH4 is also financed by the European Fund for Regional Development.

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