While the SITRANS FCS200 CNG flow sensor and SIFLOW FC070 Ex CT transmitter has received approval to be used in any CNG application where ownership or money is being exchanged for compressed natural gas, the approval is only given to manufacturers who let their meter undergo a rigorous test. The first step is to establish a baseline for the evaluation. This is done by conducting an initial performance test that can last several days, depending on the size meter that is tested. Next, the meter needs to be in operation for no less than 60 days, or 2000 times the maximum throughput, and lastly, the meter has to undergo yet another test to see if meter performance is within the tolerance of what was measured in the baseline test.
Why bother with the testing?
The basic reasoning for a test of this magnitude is that the typical application for the FCS200 CNG meter is inside a compressed natural gas (CNG) dispenser where the Coriolis flow meter accurately measures the mass of the dispensed CNG. Here, it converts the measured quantity to a custody transfer approved digital output signal connected to a counter in the dispenser. Based on that measurement, the customer has to pay a certain price. Just as if you were at the gas station filling gasoline on your car. And nobody wants to overpay for what they get.
This basically, makes the mass flow meter the most vital component of any CNG dispenser. To further expand the value of the Coriolis meter, the dispenser manufacturer can choose to connect all dispensers in a fueling station to a small process logic controller (PLC) and a touch screen. This enables monitoring and control of all dispensers in one closed loop, which makes sense from a controls standpoint. Only one screen is used to monitor an entire refueling station. At the end of the day, however, whether you choose to connect any number of dispensers to a central control system or to work with standalone units, it comes down to what the fueling station operator wants to do.
So where can I refuel my CNG-fueled vehicle?
CNG refueling stations are quickly gaining popularity in the US, primarily driven by the increased availability of natural gas combined with fleet owners’ switch to CNG as a more economical alternative to regular fuel. Although these stations are scattered all over the country, certain areas have more well-developed dispenser networks driven by population density and accessibility to CNG.
As the map illustrates, this includes the I-95 corridor along the East Coast, parts of the West Coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles, the Southern parts of the mid-West and around the Great Lakes.
There are no signs that this development will slow down any time soon so having an accurate and reliable measurement device is critical.
What are you using to measure your valuable product?