Gas meter

Gas meter

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A gas meter is used to measure
Measurement
Measurement is the process or the result of determining the ratio of a physical quantity, such as a length, time, temperature etc., to a unit of measurement, such as the metre, second or degree Celsius...

 the volume of fuel gas
Fuel gas
Fuel gas can refer to any of several gases burned to produce thermal energy.Natural gas is the most common fuel gas, but others include:* Coal gas or Town gas* Syngas* Mond gas* Propane* Butane* Regasified liquified petroleum gas* Wood gas...

es such as natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

 and propane
Propane
Propane is a three-carbon alkane with the molecular formula , normally a gas, but compressible to a transportable liquid. A by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining, it is commonly used as a fuel for engines, oxy-gas torches, barbecues, portable stoves, and residential central...

. Gas meters are used at residential, commercial, and industrial buildings that consume fuel gas supplied by a gas utility
Public utility
A public utility is an organization that maintains the infrastructure for a public service . Public utilities are subject to forms of public control and regulation ranging from local community-based groups to state-wide government monopolies...

. Gases are more difficult to measure than liquids, as measured volumes are highly affected by temperature and pressure. Gas meters measure a defined volume, regardless of the pressurized quantity or quality of the gas flowing through the meter. Temperature, pressure and heating value compensation must be made to measure actual amount and value of gas moving through a meter.

Several different designs of gas meters are in common use, depending on the volumetric flow rate of gas to be measured, the range of flows anticipated, the type of gas being measured and other factors.

Diaphragm/bellows meters


These are the most common type of gas meter, seen in almost all residential and small commercial installations. Within the meter there are two or more chambers formed by movable diaphragm
Diaphragm (mechanics)
In mechanics, a diaphragm is a sheet of a semi-flexible material anchored at its periphery and most often round in shape. It serves either as a barrier between two chambers, moving slightly up into one chamber or down into the other depending on differences in pressure, or as a device that...

s. With the gas flow directed by internal valve
Valve
A valve is a device that regulates, directs or controls the flow of a fluid by opening, closing, or partially obstructing various passageways. Valves are technically pipe fittings, but are usually discussed as a separate category...

s, the chambers alternately fill and expel gas, producing a near continuous flow through the meter. As the diaphragms expand and contract, levers connected to cranks
Crank (mechanism)
A crank is an arm attached at right angles to a rotating shaft by which reciprocating motion is imparted to or received from the shaft. It is used to change circular into reciprocating motion, or reciprocating into circular motion. The arm may be a bent portion of the shaft, or a separate arm...

 convert the linear motion of the diaphragms into rotary motion of a crank shaft which serves as the primary flow element
Primary flow element
A primary flow element is the element of a flow meter that serves to indicate the quantity or velocity of flow.For example, in the case of an orifice flow meter, the differential pressure across the orifice plate is the primary flow element...

. This shaft can drive an odometer-like counter
Counter
In digital logic and computing, a counter is a device which stores the number of times a particular event or process has occurred, often in relationship to a clock signal.- Electronic counters :...

 mechanism or it can produce electrical pulses for a flow computer
Flow computer
A flow computer is an electronic computational device which implements the required algorithms to turn the raw data received from flow meters to which it is connected into volumes at base conditions....

.

Diaphragm gas meters are positive displacement
Positive displacement meter
A positive displacement meter is a type of flow meter that requires the fluid being measured to mechanically displace components in the meter in order for any fluid flow to occur. Positive displacement flowmeters make volumetric flow measurements taking finite increments or volumes of the fluid...

 meters.

Rotary meters


Rotary meters are highly machined precision instruments capable of handling higher volumes and pressures than diaphragm meters. Within the meter, two figure "8" shaped lobes, the rotors (also known as impellers or pistons), spin in precise alignment. With each turn, they move a specific quantity of gas through the meter. The operating principle is similar to that of a Roots blower
Roots type supercharger
The Roots type supercharger or Roots blower is a positive displacement lobe pump which operates by pumping fluids with a pair of meshing lobes not unlike a set of stretched gears. Fluid is trapped in pockets surrounding the lobes and carried from the intake side to the exhaust...

. The rotational movement of the crank shaft serves as a primary flow element
Primary flow element
A primary flow element is the element of a flow meter that serves to indicate the quantity or velocity of flow.For example, in the case of an orifice flow meter, the differential pressure across the orifice plate is the primary flow element...

 and may produce electrical pulses for a flow computer
Flow computer
A flow computer is an electronic computational device which implements the required algorithms to turn the raw data received from flow meters to which it is connected into volumes at base conditions....

 or may drive an odometer-like counter
Counter
In digital logic and computing, a counter is a device which stores the number of times a particular event or process has occurred, often in relationship to a clock signal.- Electronic counters :...

.

Turbine meters


Turbine gas meters infer gas volume by determining the speed of the gas moving through the meter. Because the volume of gas is inferred by the flow, it is important that flow conditions are good. A small internal turbine measures the speed of the gas, which is transmitted mechanically to a mechanical or electronic counter. These meters do not impede the flow of gas, but are limited at measuring lower flow rates.

Orifice meters


An orifice gas meter consists of a straight length of pipe inside which a precisely known orifice creates a pressure drop, thereby affecting the flow. Orifice meters are a type of differential meter, all of which infer the rate of gas flow by measuring the pressure difference across a deliberately designed and installed flow disturbance. The gas static pressure, density, viscosity, and temperature must be measured or known in addition to the differential pressure for the meter to accurately measure the fluid. Orifice meters often do not handle a large range of flow rates
Turndown ratio
Turndown ratio is a flow measurement term that indicates the range a specific flow meter, or meter type, is able to measure with acceptable accuracy. It is also known as rangeability. It is important when choosing a flow meter technology for a specific application...

. They are however accepted and understood in industrial applications since they are easy to field-service and have no moving parts.

Ultrasonic flow meters


Ultrasonic flow meter
Ultrasonic flow meter
An ultrasonic flow meter is a type of flow meter that measures the velocity of a liquid or gas by using the principle of ultrasound. Using ultrasonic transducers, the flow meter can measure the average velocity along the path of an emitted beam of ultrasound, by averaging the difference in...

s are more complex than meters that are purely mechanical, as they require significant signal processing and computation capabilities. Ultrasonic meters measure the speed of gas movement by measuring the speed at which sound travels in the gaseous medium within the pipe. American Gas Association
American Gas Association
The American Gas Association , founded in 1918, is an American trade organization representing natural gas supply companies and others with an interest in the manufacturing of gas appliances as well as the production of gas...

 Report No. 9 covers the proper usage and installation of these meters, and it specifies a standardised speed-of-sound calculation which predicts the speed of sound in a gas with a known pressure, temperature and gas composition
Gas composition
Gas composition: any gas can be characterised by listing the pure substances it contains, and stating for each substance its proportion of the gas mixture's molecule count.To give a familiar example, air has a composition of:...

.

The most elaborate types of ultrasonic flow meters average speed of sound over multiple paths in the pipe. The length of each path is precisely measured in the factory. Each path consists of an ultrasonic transducer at one end and a sensor at the other. The meter creates a 'ping' with the transducer and measures the time elapsed before the sensor receives the sonic pulse. Some of these paths point upstream so that the sum of the times of flight of the sonic pulses can be divided by the sum of the flight lengths to provide an average speed of sound in the upstream direction. This speed differs from the speed of sound in the gas by the velocity at which the gas is moving in the pipe. The other paths may be identical or similar, except that the sound pulses travel downstream. The meter then compares the difference between the upstream and downstream speeds to calculate the velocity of gas flow.

Ultrasonic meters are high-cost and work best with no liquids present at all in the measured gas, so they are primarily used in high-flow, high-pressure applications such as utility pipeline meter stations, where the gas is always dry and lean, and where small proportional inaccuracies are intolerable due to the large amount of money at stake. The turndown ratio
Turndown ratio
Turndown ratio is a flow measurement term that indicates the range a specific flow meter, or meter type, is able to measure with acceptable accuracy. It is also known as rangeability. It is important when choosing a flow meter technology for a specific application...

 of an ultrasonic meter is probably the largest of any natural gas meter type, and the accuracy and rangeability
Turndown ratio
Turndown ratio is a flow measurement term that indicates the range a specific flow meter, or meter type, is able to measure with acceptable accuracy. It is also known as rangeability. It is important when choosing a flow meter technology for a specific application...

 of a high-quality ultrasonic meter is actually greater than that of the turbine meters against which they are proven.

Inexpensive varieties of ultrasonic meters are available as clamp-on flow meters, which can be used to measure flow in any diameter of pipe without intrusive modification. Such devices are based on two types of technology: (1) time of flight or transit time; and (2) cross correlation. Both technologies involve transducers that are simply clamped on to the pipe and programmed with the pipe size and schedule and can be used to calculate flow. Such meters can be used to measure almost any dry gas including natural gas, nitrogen, compressed air and also steam. Clamp-on meters are available for measuring liquid flow as well.

Coriolis meters


A coriolis meter is usually one or more pipes with longitudinally or axially displaced section(s) that are excited to vibrate at resonant frequency. Coriolis meters are used with liquids and gases. When the fluid within the displaced section is at rest, both the upstream and downstream portion of the displaced section will vibrate in phase with each other. The frequency of this vibration is determined by the overall density of the pipe (including its contents). This allows the meter to measure the flowing density of the gas in real time. Once the fluid begins to flow, however, the coriolis effect
Coriolis effect
In physics, the Coriolis effect is a deflection of moving objects when they are viewed in a rotating reference frame. In a reference frame with clockwise rotation, the deflection is to the left of the motion of the object; in one with counter-clockwise rotation, the deflection is to the right...

 comes into play. This effect implies a relationship between the phase difference in the vibration of the upstream and downstream sections and the mass flow rate of the fluid contained by the pipe.

Again, owing to the amount of inference, analog control and calculation intrinsic to a coriolis meter, the meter is not complete with just its physical components. There are actuation, sensing, electronic and computational elements that must be present for the meter to function.

Coriolis meters can handle a wide range of flow rates and have the unique ability to output mass flow - this gives the highest accuracy of flow measurement currently available for mass flowr measurement.Since they measure flowing density, coriolis meters can also infer gas flow rate at flowing conditions.

American Gas Association Report No. 11 provides guidelines for obtaining good results when measuring natural gas with a coriolis meter.

Heating value


The volume of gas flow provide by a gas meter is just that, a reading of volume. Gas volume does not take into account the quality of the gas, the amount of heat available when burned. Utility customers are billed according to the heat available in the gas. The quality of the gas is measured and adjust for in each billing cycle. This is known by several names as the calorific value
Heat of combustion
The heat of combustion is the energy released as heat when a compound undergoes complete combustion with oxygen under standard conditions. The chemical reaction is typically a hydrocarbon reacting with oxygen to form carbon dioxide, water and heat...

, heating value, or therm
Therm
The therm is a non-SI unit of heat energy equal to 100,000 British thermal units . It is approximately the energy equivalent of burning 100 cubic feet of natural gas....

 value.

The calorific value of natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

 can be obtained using a process gas chromatograph
Chromatography
Chromatography is the collective term for a set of laboratory techniques for the separation of mixtures....

, which measures the amount of each constituent of the gas, namely:
  • methane
    Methane
    Methane is a chemical compound with the chemical formula . It is the simplest alkane, the principal component of natural gas, and probably the most abundant organic compound on earth. The relative abundance of methane makes it an attractive fuel...

  • ethane
    Ethane
    Ethane is a chemical compound with chemical formula C2H6. It is the only two-carbon alkane that is an aliphatic hydrocarbon. At standard temperature and pressure, ethane is a colorless, odorless gas....

  • carbon dioxide
    Carbon dioxide
    Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

  • water
    Water
    Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...



Additionally, to convert from volume to thermal energy, the pressure
Pressure
Pressure is the force per unit area applied in a direction perpendicular to the surface of an object. Gauge pressure is the pressure relative to the local atmospheric or ambient pressure.- Definition :...

 and temperature
Temperature
Temperature is a physical property of matter that quantitatively expresses the common notions of hot and cold. Objects of low temperature are cold, while various degrees of higher temperatures are referred to as warm or hot...

 of the gas must be taken into consideration. Pressure is generally not a problem; the meter is simply installed immediately downstream of a pressure
Pressure
Pressure is the force per unit area applied in a direction perpendicular to the surface of an object. Gauge pressure is the pressure relative to the local atmospheric or ambient pressure.- Definition :...

 regulator
Pressure regulator
A pressure regulator is a valve that automatically cuts off the flow of a liquid or gas at a certain pressure. Regulators are used to allow high-pressure fluid supply lines or tanks to be reduced to safe and/or usable pressures for various applications....

 and is calibrated to read accurately at that pressure. Pressure compensation then occurs in the utility's billing system. Varying temperature cannot be handled as easily, but some meters are designed with built-in temperature compensation to keep them reasonably accurate over their designed temperature range. Others are corrected for temperature electronically.


Indicating devices


Any type of gas meter can be obtained with a wide variety of indicators. The most common are indicators that use multiple clock hands (pointer style) or digital readouts similar to an odometer
Odometer
An odometer or odograph is an instrument that indicates distance traveled by a vehicle, such as a bicycle or automobile. The device may be electronic, mechanical, or a combination of the two. The word derives from the Greek words hodós and métron...

, but remote readouts of various types are also becoming popular — see automatic meter reading
Automatic meter reading
Automatic meter reading, or AMR, is the technology of automatically collecting consumption, diagnostic, and status data from water meter or energy metering devices and transferring that data to a central database for billing, troubleshooting, and analyzing.This technology mainly saves utility...

 and smart meter
Smart meter
A smart meter is usually an electrical meter that records consumption of electric energy in intervals of an hour or less and communicates that information at least daily back to the utility for monitoring and billing purposes. Smart meters enable two-way communication between the meter and the...

.

Remote readouts


Remote reading is becoming popular for gas meters. It is often done through an electronic pulse output mounted on the meter. There are different styles available but most common is a contact closure switch.

Flow measurement calculations


Turbine, rotary and diaphragm meters can be compensated using a calculation specified in American Gas Association Report No. 7. This standardised calculation compensates the quantity of volume as measured to quantity of volume at a set of base conditions
Base conditions
Base conditions consist of a specified absolute pressure and temperature. To ensure accuracy, it is important to refer to base conditions when measuring the volume of a sample of liquid or gas. This applies to both static measurement and flow measurement....

. The AGA 7 calculation itself is a simple ratio and is, in essence, a density correction approach to translating the volume or rate of gas at flowing conditions to a volume or rate at base conditions
Base conditions
Base conditions consist of a specified absolute pressure and temperature. To ensure accuracy, it is important to refer to base conditions when measuring the volume of a sample of liquid or gas. This applies to both static measurement and flow measurement....

.

Orifice meters are a very commonly used type of meter, and because of their widespread use, the characteristics of gas flow through an orifice meter have been closely studied. American Gas Association Report No. 3 deals with a broad range of issues relating to orifice metering of natural gas, and it specifies an algorithm for calculating natural gas flow rates based on the differential pressure, static pressure and temperature of a gas with a known composition.

These calculations depend in part on the ideal gas law
Ideal gas law
The ideal gas law is the equation of state of a hypothetical ideal gas. It is a good approximation to the behavior of many gases under many conditions, although it has several limitations. It was first stated by Émile Clapeyron in 1834 as a combination of Boyle's law and Charles's law...

 and also require a gas compressibility calculation in order to account for the fact that real gases are not ideal. A very commonly used gas compressibility calculation is American Gas Association Report No. 8, detail characterization.

See also

  • Gas meter prover
    Gas meter prover
    A gas meter prover is a device which verifies the accuracy of a gas meter. Provers are typically used in gas meter repair facilities, municipal gas meter shops, and public works shops. Provers work by comparing a known volume of air across a meter with the gas meter's index or register. A series...

  • Automatic Meter Reading
    Automatic meter reading
    Automatic meter reading, or AMR, is the technology of automatically collecting consumption, diagnostic, and status data from water meter or energy metering devices and transferring that data to a central database for billing, troubleshooting, and analyzing.This technology mainly saves utility...

  • Utility submeter
    Utility submeter
    Utility Submetering is the implementation of a system that allows a landlord, property management firm, condominium association, homeowners association, or other multi-tenant property to bill tenants for individual measured utility usage...

  • Water meter
    Water meter
    A water meter is a device used to measure the volume of water usage. This article provides an overview of technical aspects of water meters. The worldwide prevalence of metering as well as its economic benefits and costs are covered in the separate article on water metering.In many developed...

  • Electricity meter
    Electricity meter
    An electricity meter or energy meter is a device that measures the amount of electric energy consumed by a residence, business, or an electrically powered device....

  • Flow measurement
    Flow measurement
    Flow measurement is the quantification of bulk fluid movement. Flow can be measured in a variety of ways.Positive-displacement flow meters acumulate a fixed volume of fluid and then count the number of times the volume is filled to measure flow...

  • Meter-Bus
    Meter-Bus
    M-Bus is a European standard for the remote reading of gas or electricity meters. M-Bus is also usable for other types of consumption meters. The M-Bus interface is made for communication on two wire, making it very cost effective...

  • Universal Metering Interface
    Universal Metering Interface
    UMI is a set of 3 free open specifications for smart metering and smart home products. The UMI specifications define; a module interface based on SPI, an optical communications interface based on EN62056-21 and a security interface based on ECC-256 and AES-128...

     (UMI)
  • Thermal mass flow meter
    Thermal mass flow meter
    -Introduction:There are two types of thermal flow meters in industry. Industrial thermal mass flow meters, also known as thermal dispersion or immersible mass flow meters comprise a family of instruments for the measurement of the total mass flow rate of a fluid, primarily gases, flowing through...

  • Julius Pintsch
    Julius Pintsch
    Carl Friedrich Julius Pintsch was a German tinsmith, manufacturer and inventor who is primarily known for the invention of the eponymously named Pintsch gas....

  • turnaround document
    Turnaround document
    A turnaround document is a document that has been output from a computer, some extra information added to it, and then returned to become an input document. For example, meter cards are produced for collecting readings from gas meters, photocopiers, water meters etc...

     (way of collecting data from)
  • Effects of flow condtioning on gas meters
    Flow conditioning
    Flow conditioning ensures that the “real world” environment closely resembles the “laboratory” environment for proper performance of inferential flowmeters like orifice, turbine, coriolis, ultrasonic etc.- Types of Flow :...