Thermal mass flow meters make up a small percentage of the overall gas flowmeter market yet are used in dozens of applications in many different industries.
Thermal mass flow meters encompass a small share of the flow technology market. They are a relatively young yet fast-growing technology, given that they found their niche in the early 1990s. The global commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has driven the development of thermal mass flow meters. In the 1990s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) required U.S. companies to detect and reduce their emissions to address the acid rain concern. During this period, continuous emission monitoring (CEM) emerged to monitor pollution, and thermal mass flow meters were introduced to measure the flow of emissions at multiple points within large emissions stacks.
To date, there has been a global push to reduce emissions to address global warming or climate change, including the current administration’s goal of reducing GHG emissions by 80% by 2050.
7 Common Thermal Mass Flow Meter Applications
Among the applications cited here, most involve using the meters to address an environmental issue, such as emissions reporting, efficiency, or energy management.
Aeration Air – The activated sludge process at wastewater treatment plants treats sewage and wastewaters. In this process, microorganisms require air flow to break down organic waste. Optimum air achieves waste breakdown without excessive and costly air flow.
Biogas Production – Biogas comes from landfills as landfill gas and anaerobic digesters as digester gas. Other processes also create biogas. Biogas is high in methane and often the focus of biogas-to-energy projects. Throughout the production, accurate gas flow measurement is needed, whether for monitoring, biogas destruction, or cogeneration. Additionally, the precise gas flow is necessary for GHG emissions reporting to environmental agencies and carbon credit programs.
Combustion Air – Combustion efficiency and energy management are achieved when optimizing air-to-fuel ratios through precise and repeatable gas flow measurement. Direct measurement of combustion air flow and fuel flow offers the measures needed to reach peak efficiency.
Compressed Air – Industrial air compressors use more electricity than most industrial equipment and comprise a third of the facility’s energy use. A thermal mass meter helps determine the optimal number of compressor units needed. Additionally, thermal mass meters help delineate the leakage level in a system and help compute the lost energy.
Flare Gas – The measurement and monitoring of flare gas are necessary to reassure that the flare system is functioning properly. Some factors complicate measuring flare gas, including varying gas compositions.
Natural Gas to Combustion Sources – Combustion sources such as furnaces and boilers have different efficiencies. By measuring the natural gas flow rate to a combustion source, you may determine which process is more efficient. The thermal mass flow meter is ideal for measuring natural gas flow rates to individual combustion sources.
Natural Gas Submetering – In facilities with different cost centers, submetering natural gas is frequently performed for cost allocations. Studies have shown an increased motivation to improve efficiency and reduce natural gas usage when the departments are responsible for their utility costs.