Ashland Performance Materials’ Derakane epoxy vinyl ester resin is a key ingredient in the composite liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage cylinders being produced by Rugasco in Russia.
Rugasco, a joint venture between Autocomponent Russia and Hexagon Composites of Norway, recently opened a new plant in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, to tap into the Russian market for LPG cylinders. With a Phase 1 investment of 200 million rubels (€4.74 million), the new Rugasco facility will produce 200,000 low-pressure cylinders per year.
The automated production line has been transferred from Hexagon’s subsidiary Composite Scandinavia AB in Sweden, which was closed down in 2012.
Growing Russian market for LPG cylinders
Russia is one of the world’s largest producers of natural gas and has implemented a policy to better utilise its natural gas resources domestically.
“The Russian market will see a huge increase in demand in LPG cylinders and, thus, our Derakane resin technology, as the Russian government is pushing forward a safety initiative to ban metal gas containers and replace them with the safer, composite version,” reports Diana Lozinskaya, sales manager, Russia, for Ashland Performance Materials.
LPG cylinders are pressure tanks in which liquefied petroleum gas can be stored under 30 bar.
“LPG cylinders made from composites have one crucial advantage – they don’t explode,” says Arie van Buren, technical manager, Ashland Peformance Materials. “In case of a fire, they release the gas in a more controlled way, as the resin that the container is made of is gradually burned off.”
This makes composite LPG cylinders a safer alternative to metal containers, which can explode when the gas container is subjected to extreme heat or fire. Derakane resins also provide superior durability to the product, providing crack resistance toughness to the composite and strength to withstand the pressurised environment associated with LPG cylinders.
Another advantage of the composite cylinders is that they are transparent, which means you can easily check their filling level.