First significant gas regulator innovation in decades ready for UK market

Source: press release, 25 February 2020

Field trial for the world’s first diaphragm-free gas distribution pressure regulator
Field trial for the world’s first diaphragm-free gas distribution pressure regulator (photo: Oxford Flow)

Oxford Flow, the pressure control equipment specialist for the oil, gas, water and industrial process industries, has announced its IM valve has been approved by SGN, for use in its UK gas networks.

Following a Network Innovation Allowance project with SGN, the valve is a powerful innovation in a fairly stagnant market. For the first time in UK gas distribution, a gas regulator valve is available to the market with a diaphragm-free design, conferring the following advantages:

  • Only one moving part, considerably less than traditional valves (up to 100), significantly reduces maintenance.
  • No internal diaphragm – removes weakest traditional valve part, minimises leak paths.
  • Up to 80% reduction in size and weight compared to conventional valves.
  • Lightweight design reduces installation time by up to 80% and decreases manpower compared to traditional gas regulator valves.
  • 100% stainless steel body for maximum reliability and resistance to corrosion.
  • Superior accuracy and response time to help handle rapidly changing pressure demand profiles.

Trialled in two SGN network locations in Ayrshire and Oxfordshire, UK, the gas regulator valve met or exceeded all of the field trial success criteria, such as shut off sealing, pressure control accuracy and response time, over multiple summer and winter demand profiles. Now available globally, the diaphragm-free and stainless-steel technology can also help gas distribution networks future proof as the industry explores “greening” the network via the introduction of the hydrogen or other alternatives.

Neil Poxon, CEO at Oxford Flow says, “Gas distribution networks have struggled with a consolidated supplier market meaning pressure control innovations, particularly for gas regulator valves, were few and far between. To be the company pioneering a new innovation in this field – the first in around 40 years – is monumental. This wouldn’t have been possible without the forward-thinking attitude of SGN and the commitment of our brilliant team. This is a culmination of all their hard work and taking this technology to the market is the perfect way to start 2020.”