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Basic of Gas Metering System

By Anwar Sutan

There are a few types of gas meter. All of these meters at the end have one goal, which is
to get a reliable result of measurement that can be converted to amount of money. In the
old days, measurement is only based on standard volume total. But the amount of energy
will be different for different composition of gas. That’s why nowadays people use
energy measurement as a standard for buying and selling gas.

There are a few types of gas meter, we have mass meters, and we have volume meters.
We classify the type of meter base on what the raw output of the meter is. Then from the
raw data, with the help of some calculation standards, we will have parameters such as
density, compressibility, calorific value, etc. These parameters will help us determine all
other totalisers.

Some basic calculations that are used in gas turbine and ultrasonic metering systems are:
Gross volume flow rate: ⋅ mf ⋅ ctsm ⋅ cpsm ⋅ 3600 volume unit/hour
πd 2
Gross volume flow rate: vog ⋅ ⋅ mf ⋅ ctsm ⋅ cpsm ⋅ 3600 volume unit/hour
Standard volume flow rate: GVF ⋅ standard volume unit/hour
Mass flow rate: GVF ⋅ ρ L Mass unit/hour
Energy flow rate: SVF ⋅ GHV energy unit/hour

f = frequency
kf = k factor (pulse/unit volume)
mf = meter factor
ctsm = correction factor for pipe expansion caused by temperature
cpsm = correction factor for pipe expansion caused by pressure
vog = velocity of gas
d = pipe diameter
ρ L = Line density
ρ S = Standard density
GVF = Gross Volume flow rate
SVF = Standard Volume flow rate
GHV = Gross heating value
Gross Volume Flow Rate
For a volumetric meter, there are two methods of getting gross volume flow rate. The
first one is where the signal from the meter is in the form of frequency. And the second
one is where the signal from the meter is in the form of velocity of gas.

If the signal from the meter is in the form of frequency, then the meter has to have a k
factor. K factor is a value that determines how many pulses represents 1 volume-unit. For
instance the k factor is 1000 pulses/m3. It means that 1 m3 will be represented by 1000

If the signal taken from the meter is vog which taken from serial connection, then to get
the flow rate, the velocity has to be multiplied by the area of the internal diameter of the

No meter is linear. That’s why they need to have wet calibration, which a meter being
calibrated is compared to a more accurate meter on a few flow rate points. A value that
corrects the deviation between the meter being calibrated and the reference meter is
called by meter factor. A meter factor value is applied in the meter being calibrated.

On some meters such as usm, when wet calibration is done, meter factor is applied in the
usm it self. In that case, there is no need to apply the meter factor in the flow computer
for the gross volume flow rate calculation anymore. But it is a choice of a customer to
disable the meter factor in the meter and apply it in flow computer. The only thing to be
noticed is that meter factor must not be applied in both flow computer and meter.

Another thing that will affect flow rate is that pipe expands with increase of temperature
and pressure. Because of the expansion, volume of the gas that goes through will be
different depending on the temperature and pressure. To compensate this, there is
correction factor on the temperature (ctsm) and correction factor on the pressure (cpsm).

Based on these explanations we get the formula of Gross Volume Flow rate:
⋅ mf ⋅ ctsm ⋅ cpsm ⋅ 3600
πd 2
vog ⋅ ⋅ mf ⋅ ctsm ⋅ cpsm ⋅ 3600

The value 3600 is for volume/hour. It will be 86400 for volume/day. It varies depends on
the flow rate unit.

Standard Volume Flow Rate

Standard volume flow rate is a flow rate that is calculated at standard pressure and
standard temperature. These standard pressure and temperature are standards defined by
standard association such as AGA, ISO, etc or standard pressure and temperature agreed
by buyer and seller.
The formula for standard volume from the gas equation is:
P ⋅T ⋅ Z
PS ⋅ TL ⋅ Z L
PL = Line Pressure
PS = Standard Pressure
TL = Line Temperature
TS = Standard Temperature
ZL = Line compressibility
ZS = Standard compressibility

We can also get the standard volume by knowing the standard density and line density:
ρ L = Line density
ρ S = Standard density

At most applications, these parameters such as compressibility and density are calculated.
The calculation is defined in standards. AGA 8 is on of the most used standard to get the
compressibility and density. Density also defined in ISO 6976 standard.

Mass Flow rate

Mass flow rate is defined by how much mass goes through a meter in every certain time
unit. Mass can be determined by knowing fluid density. The formula for mass volume is:

Mass flow rate = GVF ⋅ ρ L or SVF ⋅ ρ S

For mass meter such as orifice, mass flow rate is the raw output from the calculation of
the orifice parameters. And by knowing the line and standard density, standard volume
and gross volume will be determined.

Energy Flow rate

Energy flow rate is defined by how much energy goes through a meter in every certain
time unit. Energy can be determined by knowing Gross heating value which is defined by
how much energy contain in certain standard volume unit. The formula for energy flow
rate is:

Energy flow rate = SVF ⋅ GHV

Calculation for GHV is defined in standards such as ISO 6976 and GPA 2172.