The following is part of a "Case Studies In Innovation" series of blog posts we will be running on the FlowStream Blog in the coming weeks to highlight winners of the 2013 Flow Control Innovation Awards program.

Innovation Awards Fox Thermal InstrumentsQuantum Industrial LLC, an oil & gas consultancy in Texas, has used the FOX Model FT3 Thermal Mass Flow Meter in oil and gas emissions testing applications on shore and offshore.

In using the FT3 meter, Quantum has found it to provide several key advantages when measuring gas emissions:

1.   Calibration can be validated before emission measurement begins;

2.   The calibration validation certificate can be printed and submitted in the report to the client;

3.   The remote probe and 100-foot connector cable allow measurement from a safe upwind position when hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is present in crude oil stock tank emissions;

4.   The USB cable allows convenient data logging and meter setup via a laptop computer; and

5.   The controller housing is rugged and weather proof.

Quantum has used FOX flowmeters for over seven years in the oil and gas industry. FOX’s first model, the FOX 10A, was used to obtain the emission measurements in the seminal report on gas emissions from oil stock tanks (“VOC Emissions from Oil and Condensate Storage Tanks”; Handler, Nunn et al., April 2009).

The FOX FT3 is a quantum leap forward, as the ability to confirm proper instrument calibration in the field is a major improvement available through the FOX CAL-V and Zero CAL-CHECK diagnostic functions. Calibration validation is simple and requires four-to-five minutes for the meter to cycle through the tests. A Calibration Validation Certificate can be produced from FT3 View software.

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The infrared sensor buttons under the glass face of the controller are an improvement over the pushbuttons in earlier FOX models. The setup initial conditions for measurement can be entered at either the controller or through a laptop PC into which the FT3 View software has been loaded. The laptop PC can be connected by the USB port in the controller. Setup entry normally consists of the diameter of the pipe holding the FT3 probe, the sampling rate from once-per-second, and units of gas flow that are normally SCFM. However, almost any units of measurement can be displayed.

Data logging of measured flow, total cumulative flow, temperature, and elapsed time can be recorded and displayed on the attached laptop PC or by a data logger attached to the USB cable. Data can be quickly converted to graphs that clearly indicate the critical characteristics of the flow that has been measured.

The FOX FT3 is calibrated in the factory to the gas specified by the buyer. Quantum measures primarily methane, ethane and other hydrocarbon gases, carbon dioxide, and air with the FT3 calibrated on 100 percent methane. Laboratory gas analysis provides the mole percentages of each component gas. FOX provides the Heat Transfer Coefficient for each component gas. When the measured gas is 96 percent methane or more, no correction factor is required. When the methane mole percent is lower, the accurate correction factor is computed from the Heat Transfer Coefficients and the laboratory gas analysis.

– Jim Nunn, CEO, Quantum Industrial LLC,