By Nick Voss, McCrometer, Inc.
With the continuous increase in demand for energy worldwide, the popularity of clean-burning natural gas has grown rapidly over the past decades. Its relatively abundant supply, along with new high efficiency production technologies and its lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emission footprint compared to other energy resources, have all made it a cost-effective, environmental-friendly choice for consumer electric power generation systems and other energy applications.
Over long distances, the safest and most economic method of transporting natural gas is in a liquid state. Plants dedicated to turning raw natural gas into Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and later back into gas for distribution are either on-stream, under construction or planned all over the globe. The production, processing, storage, transportation and distribution of Natural Gas all require accurate, repeatable flow measurement.
The high-pressure, volatile nature of this valuable, but hazardous fluid makes it a challenge to measure in both its gaseous and liquefied state. While there are multiple gas and liquid flow measurement technologies, many of them rely on moving part designs (a potential safety hazard) or fail to measure accurately over a wide turndown range under upset conditions or require long straight runs of pipe upstream and downstream from the location of the meter that are difficult to achieve under the always crowded production and refining environment.