In most industrial plants, there are applications where the natural gas flow rate is desired. These applications include submetering, combustion control, and energy consumption, and energy efficiency. Additionally, thermal mass flow meters may be used to measure natural gas consumption at different parts of the facility and individual combustion sources.
Measurement and Monitoring
Today, energy utilization and improving efficiency are primary objectives for most industrial facilities. We explore the topic at length in a new Sage Metering white paper. Here I share critical areas where thermal flow meters help the natural gas measurement and monitoring in industrial processes.
Stationary fuel combustion units have different efficiencies, and when measuring the natural gas flow rate at a source, one can determine which operation is more efficient. A thermal mass flow meter is an effective device to measure natural gas flow rates to various combustion sources.
When a plant is interested in energy conservation, a common practice is submetering. Here, it becomes necessary to monitor the natural gas flow rate and consumption at individual zones. Submetering helps in cost allocation to the different operating areas. It also helps the facility’s energy manager identify high consumption areas and unusual consumption points to promote conservation.
One unique method to reduce energy utilization in an industrial environment is to optimize the combustion units’ combustion control. The optimal air-to-fuel ratio can be achieved when monitoring the air and fuel rates to the burners. This results in a significant reduction in natural gas (or propane) costs and improves process efficiency, product quality, and yields.
Building Management Systems
Thermal mass meters are often used in building management systems for climate control. Insertion style flow meters for larger natural gas lines and in-line thermal mass flow meters for smaller gas lines may monitor the combustion source’s inlet flow.
Natural Gas Flow from the Main into Facility
Monitoring the natural gas mass flow rate from the plant provides information about the factory’s fuel demand. The standard billing meter only reports consumption over a particular period (i.e., monthly). A thermal mass flow meter monitors the flow rate and utilization. It also provides real-time feedback on operating conditions, peak demand, inefficiencies, and lost energy.
Thermal Mass Flow Meters
For more detailed information on using thermal mass flow meters to measure or monitor natural gas in industrial processes, download 50001 Energy Management: The Use of Thermal Mass Flow Meters in ISO 50001 Energy Management Systems.