The EU liberalisation makes it necessary to resolve the technical challenges associated with operating with varying gas quality. A European study was carried out to establish how existing gas appliances in the European market will react to varying gas compositions.
DGC headed the European consortium created to carry out the necessary studies that make up the GASQUAL project. The project covers all types of small gas appliance. The participants in the consortium were: Germanischer Lloyd, BRG, British Gas, BAXI (UK), ARGB (Belgium), DVGW-CERT, DVGW-EBI, Vaillant (Germany), CETIAT, GdF Suez, AFG (France), KEMA (the Netherlands), INIG (Poland), REPSOL (Spain) and RIELLO (Italy).
In the first phase of the project, the market was analysed to identify the appliances to be tested. In the subsequent phase, DGC and four other laboratories tested the selected appliances. A total of around 100 different appliances were tested with different gases to see the immediate effects of varying gas quality. DGC also conducted long-term tests on selected appliances. In the laboratory, we simulated extreme situations in which burners, heat exchangers or other components might be damaged. These long-term tests demonstrated the appliances' ability to operate at high load over a long period of time.
The conclusions of the total test programme show that adjustment (or not) of appliances at the time of installation (to optimise them for the gas supplied) is one of the most important parameters for appliances to be able to operate with varying gas quality. This has also been confirmed by the most recent experience in Denmark. In addition to adjustment, boiler/burner technology is an important parameter.
For each appliance segment and for each country, the test results were linked to the number of appliances on the market and conclusions were drawn on the influence of variations in gas quality on the safety, operation, efficiency and emissions of the nearly 200 million appliances installed in the EU.
Based on the GASQUAL results, it will be possible to make a decision to harmonise the gas quality for the entire EU or for certain EU regions. Before a new standard can be implemented in practice, however, more work needs to be done. DGC has therefore taken the initiative to continue the project in 2013 and further on.