• Natural gas quality limits to change in EU

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The European Commission is to harmonise natural gas quality limits throughout Europe, starting in late 2010 and leading to a new CEN Stanbdard for Gas Quality by 2013. The objective of this harmonisation is to create an EU-wide open market for the sale and delivery of natural gas by removing current national differences in the specifications for gases. Harmonisation will mean that current national limits on Wobbe Number, calorific value and gas composition either may get wider providing challenges for users, or in some cases narrower, involving extra costs for suppliers and gas transporters.


A major project is already underway to examine the implications for residential gas appliances type tested and certificated under the EU’s Gas Appliance Directive. For non-residential applications, a European Commission funded project to analyse the costs and benefits of introducing these harmonised gas quality specifications across Europe was launched at a Gas Quality Harmonisation workshop in March 2010. The IFRF anticipates that industrial equipment such as land-based gas turbines, glass melters and working flames will be particularly susceptible to these changes, but operational implications for any equipment currently working ‘on the limit’ should be considered


Project coordinators are UK based GL Industrial Services Ltd (formerly British Gas Research/Advantica Technologies). GL is now seeking feedback and input from all stakeholders with the full support of Heinz Hilbrecht, Director of Security of Supply and Energy of the European Commission, who states: “It is important that all stakeholders use this opportunity to provide feedback to this project to ensure their opinions and concerns, if any, are collected and reported”


Views are sought from the various key sectors across the gas industry:


*       Industrial users of natural gas as a feedstock

*       Manufacturers of industrial equipment

*       Operators of industrial equipment

*       Shippers and Suppliers


Further information and background to the harmonisation activity is available at




Guidance and questionnaires for submitting comments and concerns appropriate to each key sector are available direct from GL Industrial Services’ EU Project Team at EU.study@GL-group.com . Comments are invited during May 2010.



Guidance on Natural Gas Quality concepts is available in the public domain pages of the IFRF’s On-line Combustion Handbook at http://www.handbook.ifrf.net/handbook/cf.html?id=216 . There is additional detail available to IFRF Members at http://www.handbook.ifrf.net/handbook/cf.html?id=230&agree=yes