In industrial manufacturing, ammonia is used to produce fertilizer, is an industrial coolant, and reduces NOx emissions from combustion sources. In all these areas, ammonia gas meters are needed to measure the gas accurately. Ammonia is a colorless gas with a distinct pungent smell. It is an inorganic compound of nitrogen and hydrogen with the formula NH₃.

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How is ammonia used in manufacturing?

Ammonia as Fertilizer

Ammonia is one of the top five chemicals produced in the United States. Over 80% of the ammonia produced is used as fertilizer, providing nitrogen for plant growth. Ammonia can be used directly or combined with various salts to provide fertilizer in a solid bulk form.

Ammonia as Coolant

Another common use of ammonia is as a coolant for industrial refrigeration equipment. This is because ammonia can easily liquefy with compressed air and absorbs large amounts of heat when in the gaseous state.

Ammonia to Reduce NOx (Nitrogen Oxides)

The growing use of ammonia is for emission control of combustion sources. Ammonia reduces NOx in either a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) or non-catalytic system. The nitrogen oxides will react with ammonia to create nitrogen and water. The accurate measurement of ammonia gas flow is critical for the proper performance of the system to meet environmental requirements.

Ammonia Measurement for Fertilizer, Coolant, and NOx Reduction
Calibration bench at Sage Metering

Challenges of Ammonia Gas Measurement

One of the challenges of measuring ammonia gas is safely calibrating the flow meter for ammonia gas. Sage has uniquely addressed the issues of calibrating the Sage meter using a surrogate gas. In instrument calibration, a surrogate gas is when another gas is substituted in the calibration process.

Using thermal mass flow meters to measure ammonia flow does pose some difficulties. A significant hurdle is calibrating the meter. Each meter must be calibrated on a flow bench using the actual gas to obtain the highest accuracy. Yet, a direct calibration using ammonia is not feasible due to safety concerns. Thus Sage Metering calibrates using a substitute gas and makes adjustments based on modeling developed by Sage Engineering utilizing the difference in thermal gas properties.

ammonia gas flow meter

Ammonia Gas Meter

If you’re looking for an ammonia gas meter, check out the Sage Paramount.

You may be interested in 6 Thermal Mass Flow Meter Applications in Pharma and Biotech, which include measuring nitrogen and ammonia gas flow for tank blanketing.

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