15 Nov 2021

Member profile: Focus Valves – A mission to tackle emissions

With the arrival of COP26, the global conversation around climate has never been more pronounced — and Australia is no exception.

The federal government has officially committed to a national net zero target by 2050, and technology is set to play a key role in helping industries achieve this goal.

ISO 9001 certified original equipment manufacturer Focus Valves is responsible for an engineered solution that is already helping its gas sector clients decarbonise projects.

Based in Western Australia, its valves are designed for deployment at coal seam gas (CSG) well head skids and in gathering networks, incorporating a reinjection-ready design that can reduce or even eliminate emissions at CSG projects.

Focus Valves Managing and Technical Director Rin Rutherford, with decades of industry experience, says the company was borne from a client’s desire to utilise a bespoke gas release valve on its well head skids.

Working to strict criteria required Rin and his team to produce several prototypes for field testing in an intense research and development process within a tight time frame. Rin explains that the company’s lean operating model and significant experience fast-tracking specialised designs proved highly beneficial in meeting these demands, with the initial prototypes designed and delivered in a period lasting around eight months.

“The client basically gave us a list of requirements, which were specific and with a high expectation of quality,” Rin explains.

“We exclusively use stainless steel, we vulcanise our own rubber, and we make sure every step of the way that every valve is individually hand-built and hydro tested — they are made as well as they can be.”

Focus Valves’ unique, design combines a vulcanised seal system that prevents mist and water leaks with a plumbable vent stream that eliminates Scope 1 emissions by plumbing it directly back into the gas line, or alternatively, a storage facility.

The robust, reliable design of the valves and innovative two-stage seal design prevents produced water and solids physically contacting the seals, ensuring valves can operate efficiently in the harshest Australian conditions without the need for constant maintenance.

It is a design emblematic of Focus Valves’ design ambitions as it looks to meet the needs of an evolving energy sector, and the design of the valves has been met with widespread approval as the company continues to expand.

“The design is now used by many CSG companies in Australia, not only for well degassing, but for high-point vents in water gathering networks as well,” Rin explains.

“Using our products represents a massive step forward when it comes to a CSG company wanting to decarbonise its business.”

Rin says that the valves’ capacity to eliminate direct Scope 1 emissions in water gathering systems not only sets the valves out in a crowded market but gears them towards a future increasingly focused on emissions reduction.

“Reducing or eliminating emissions is incredibly important if we are to meet the recommendations in the recent IPCC report and embrace the outcomes in other climate change forums such as COP26.

“We see our valve range as a way to readily eliminate fugitive emissions and contribute to the sustainability of the LNG industry.”

The success of Focus Valves’ design has resulted in several high-profile clients in the CSG sector, and Rin says the company looks forward to its next design challenge.

“Focus Valves’ personnel are always seeking opportunities where we can play a role in the Future Fuels and Clean Energy sectors; We have an efficient R&D facility here in WA and we’re supported by highly skilled staff that are always up for new things.”

To find out more about Focus Valves, visit focusvalves.com.au.