Biogas is regarded as an environmentally friendly energy source of the future. If organic material is fermented to biogas, flammable methane is obtained as a main product (methyl hydrogen). This is used to generate energy in district heating power stations. However, before this can happen, desulphuration with, for example, oxygen is necessary. This carries a possible risk: if this gas accidentally flows in the wrong direction, explosive mixtures may form. Non-return valves fitted in the pipeline help prevent accidents from occurring, allowing the gas through in one direction only.
The gas technology manufacturer Witt has designed three of its proven non-return valves specifically for use in biogas plants. The systems prevent hazardous gas mixtures from forming and so rank among the most critical accident-preventive means in the energy industry.
The non-return valves concerned are the 600-ES, 338-ES and 339-ES models. Unlike the systems usually available in the marketplace, these non return valves respond to the slightest opening pressures, offer the highest leak-tightness and guarantee extremely long service lives thanks to integrated dirt filters. Because of their small dimensions – the 600-ES model, for example, measures only 52 x 65 mm – and because they can be fitted in any position, they can be used in any biogas plant. They are fitted directly into the pipework. The models differ only in their size, having connections of between 1/2 and 2 inches, depending on flow rate. They all feature an intricate valve system with remarkably low opening pressures and offer very high pressure stability. Spring-loaded elastomer seals reduce leaks to an absolute minimum. The standard stainless wire mesh dirt filter at the gas inlet not only ensures a long, trouble-free operating life but can also be maintained by the plant operator.
Experts advise to use proven non-return valves with a stainless steel housing rather than brass. These are more resistant in sulphurous and corrosive environments. After all, the accident preventer should not itself become an accident hazard.
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