Aluminum is the material for making LNG storage tanks

In June of this year, Jiangsu Yancheng Binhai Port Industrial Park is in full swing to build 6 270,000 m3 LNG (liquefied natural gas) storage tanks. This is the world’s largest one-time construction of LNG storage tanks, marking China’s super large-volume LNG storage tanks. The tank design and construction technology has achieved a breakthrough, reaching the global level. The project is an expansion on the basis of four 220,000 m3 storage tanks in the first phase of the LNG project. After completion, Binhai Port Industrial Park will have 10 giant tanks with a volume of 490,000 m3. Yancheng City is located in the coastal plain, and is separated from Shanghai by Nantong City. The stored LNG can be transported to Nantong and Shanghai nearby, becoming a clean energy storage in the Yangtze River Delta.

Liquefied natural gas is a substance that liquefies at -162°C. The storage container and the pipeline that transport it are made of extremely low temperature resistant materials. Up to now, the only low temperature materials with practical application value are aluminum and aluminum alloys, nickel steel and stainless steel. (SUS 304), they have no low-temperature brittleness, especially all aluminum alloys have no low-temperature brittleness, and all properties increase simultaneously with the decrease of temperature, but most steels have low-temperature brittleness, although their strength properties vary with As the temperature decreases, it increases, but the plasticity (ductility) decreases greatly, and it becomes hard and brittle, which has no practical value.

There are 3 types of LNG storage tanks: underground, above ground and shipboard. Regardless of the type, it is composed of a layer of aluminum shell and a thick layer of cold insulation. The cold insulation layer is thermally insulated to prevent outside heat from being introduced into the tank and heating the LNG in the tank. The first and second phases of Yancheng Binhai Port Industrial Park’s super large-volume storage tanks are all above-ground, mostly made of 5083 alloy. The aluminum consumption of each tank exceeds 1100t, and the plate is used more, accounting for 82%. The tank body, The tank bottom and tank top are all plate welded, with a thickness of 6~70mm. The tank top frame is assembled by welding with extruded profiles. The mass is about 50t, accounting for 9.2%. Some pipes, castings, die castings and forgings are also used, accounting for approximately 8.8%. China is a country that needs to import a large amount of LNG and natural gas. It also needs to build some LNG and natural gas storage base stations and transshipment bases in border areas and coastal cities. The demand for aluminum storage tanks will continue to rise. (Wang Zhutang)

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