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Alfa Laval opens new Test and Training Center

JANUARY 17, 2014 — The site of Denmark's former Aalborg Shipyard is now home to a new Alfa Laval Test & Training Center. The massive ship simulation facility has a 250 sq.m testing area, built around a 2 MW marine engine and comprising commercial and prototype equipment from all of Alfa Laval's marine product groups.

Connected to the test system are a dedicated control room and a training complex, as well as the nearby Limfjord, which supplies it with seawater via an 800 m pipeline.

Visitors got their first look at the operational facility at an inauguration ceremony this week, when the start button was pressed by Peter Leifland, President of Alfa Laval Marine & Diesel.

The facility's interconnected full size process lines are organized much as they would be on an actual vessel at sea, though connected to a unified control system. They include a fuel line, an integrated water line, a steam line and an exhaust line, along with the heat exchangers and other auxiliaries needed to support them.

As visitors were guided through,  Alfa Laval experts stationed at key equipment provided insights into applications from fuel cleaning and conditioning to waste heat recovery and exhaust gas cleaning.

"After only a half-hour tour of the Alfa Laval Test & Training Center, you come away with an impression of just how deep the knowledge is," says Lars Skytte Jørgensen, Vice President of Alfa Laval Product Center Boilers. "The center really is similar to a machine room, and you get a sense of all the connections — not only between the equipment and process lines, but between all the areas of expertise across Alfa Laval."

Exhaust gas cleaning technology was the initial reason for building the facility, and a large PureSOX installation now takes pride of place at the system's heart.

Apart from further development of PureSOX, which has recently seen repeat orders from both DFDS and Spliethoff, the center will be working with NOX reduction in association with Haldor Topsøe. This project will focus on selective catalytic reduction (SCR), which is a technical alternative to exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), a process already supported by Alfa Laval's PureNOX.

"As emission caps approach, such as the SOX limits appearing in 2015, Alfa Laval is committed to helping customers meet them," says Jens Peter Hansen, Alfa Laval R&D Manager, Exhaust Gas Cleaning. "Scrubber technology has already proven effective and commercially viable, and we will continue to refine exhaust gas cleaning through our work here at the center."

The Alfa Laval Test & Training Center will also be working on other ways to combine greener methods of operation with financial benefit. Energy efficiency will be heavily explored at the facility, as a means of both saving money on operating costs and further reducing CO2 and other emissions. Among the facility's key components is the FCM One, which builds on the strengths of Alfa Laval's original Fuel Conditioning Module. With the FCM One's unique integration of heating and cooling functions, a more efficient changeover between HFO and distillates can be managed.

Another key component is the center's exhaust gas boiler, which will be involved in one of the first research projects.

"Energy efficiency is one of the greatest challenges facing the industry today, but also one of the greatest opportunities for competitive gains," says Niclas Dahl, Alfa Laval Market Unit Manager, Energy. "Here at the center we can explore the interaction between components — within and even across process lines — in a controlled and consistent manner. This will speed up the development of more energy-efficient equipment and new energy-saving techniques."

For the city of Aalborg, the start of operations at the center has meant an immediate energy bonus. The power generated by its 2 MW engine is fed into the local grid, while the facility's excess heat is made available for district heating.

In addition to its research role, the center will allow Alfa Laval to step up its training activities, adding Aalborg to existing training sites in Stockholm, Manila and Shanghai.

As well as providing in-depth training for Alfa Laval sales and service employees, the center will provide a range of external training options.

Ship owners and operators will be able to send engineers and technical supervisors to the center for hands-on training in new technologies and Alfa Laval products, as well as service training aimed at minimizing maintenance-related operating costs.

For shipbuilders, there will also be training in the sizing and configuration of equipment for maximum economy, as well as the impact of design choices on service possibilities and the equipment's daily use.

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