In a continuing series on natural gas flow meter types, here we discuss the ultrasonic meter. This meter is used to measure natural gas volume and excels in custody transfer. While this flow meter is used to measure both liquid and gases, this post highlights information on natural gas.

Natural Gas Flow Measurement

Natural Gas Flow Meter Types | Ultrasonic Meter
In the transit-time ultrasonic flow meter, the transducers are upstream and downstream of each other, and each acts as a transmitter and receiver.

Our blog typically discusses applications for thermal mass flowmeters because that is our business. While our thermal mass flow meters serve various applications, there are additional devices that excel in other gas flow measurement areas.

Transit-Time Ultrasonic Flow Meter

An ultrasonic flow meter is a device commonly used to calculate the volumetric flow of fluid.  There are two leading types, the transit-time and Doppler style meter. In the transit-time ultrasonic flow meter, the transducers are upstream and downstream of each other, and each acts as a transmitter and receiver. Of course, one transducer emits the ultrasound signal with the flow, while the other emits it against the flow. The meter measures the difference in transit time between the two transducers, and the velocity difference is used to calculate flow.

Over the years, there have been technological advances that have helped improve the limitations of the meters. For example, electronic processing improvements have permitted the meter to measure some fluids that aren’t clean. Additionally, the introduction of a multi-path transit-time meter allows the meter to measure flow at more than one location, which increases the accuracy of the meter and permits measurement in demanding flows (swirls, irregularities, and cross-flow).


The ultrasonic flow meter is extremely accurate, usually within 1%, and is approved for use in custody transfer (fiscal metering). The meter has good repeatability, high turndown, and rangeability, and can measure at both high and low pressures. The device tolerates high and low temperatures, and the clamp-on style can be fastened on the outside of the pipe without penetrating it. It is self-diagnosing, and once calibrated, the meter requires less frequent calibrations. Since the meter has no moving parts, it has lower maintenance because it does not have to be lubricated, or parts do not have to be replaced. Additionally, the meter has long-term reliability.

Ultrasonic meters can also measure flows in large pipe sizes, unlike other popular choices (like Coriolis meters). As a result, ultrasonic meters are used more in pipes 6” and larger.

Additionally, the ultrasonic meter works better than magnetic meters for oil and gas since gases and hydrocarbons are nonconductive.


On the onset, ultrasonic meters are costly. Additionally, the ultrasonic flow meter is disturbed by noise and can be impacted by dirt and fluids. The pipe walls can interfere with signals for the clamp-on ultrasonic meters, and buildup on the pipe walls can affect the accuracy.  Additionally, if one needs to determine mass flow with an ultrasonic meter, pressure and temperature measurement is required because ultrasonic meters calculate volumetric flow.

Ultrasonic Meter Manufacturers

Some ultrasonic flow meter manufacturers are Daniel (Emerson), Endress+Hauser, FMC Technologies, GE Measurement & Control Solutions, Greyline, Honeywell (RMG), Instrumart, Krohne, and Sierra.

Who are we?

We are Sage Metering. We manufacture thermal mass flow meters, which measure and monitor gas mass flow. If you are interested in a different meter style, may I suggest that you learn more about the advantages of thermal mass flow measurement? Otherwise, here are other links to articles sharing the benefits and limitations of each technology:

Photo: Wikipedia public domain

2 thoughts on “Natural Gas Flow Meter Types | Ultrasonic Meter Reviewed

  1. Avatar
    Kalpesh Shah says:


    We are in requirement of an ULTRASONIC CNG flow meter for 12” size.

    Ultrasonic Flow Meter shall be of 4-path, minimum 300# Pressure Rating and Flow 16,000 scmh or more.

    Vendor must be Authorized Manufacturer of Custody Transfer Ultrasonic Flow Meters and shall have appropriate Accreditation of the Authorised Body for the manufacture of this Product.

    We request you to provide us your detailed quote for the same at the earliest so as to take it forward.


    Kalpesh Shah
    Agri Chemicals Ltd
    Unit No 1004/5, Atrium 2, Behind Hotel Courtyard Marriott,
    Andheri Kurla Road, Andheri (E), Mumbai 400 093
    Tel ; 6113 2431, Mobile :- 8879790789

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