Sage Metering
Sage Metering’s In-Situ Flowmeter Calibration Check is a 2012 Flow Control Innovation Award winner. (Photo courtesy of Sage Metering)

Editor’s Note: In the October 2012 issue of Flow Control, 11 case studies/application stories featured the winners of our 2012 Innovation Awards program. In the following weeks, each winner will be featured on the FlowStream blog. The following post focuses on Sage Metering’s In-Situ Flowmeter Calibration Check from the perspective of David Belcher, P.E., Camco International Group, Inc.

Camco is in the business of carbon credit and renewable energy project development. Carbon credits can be generated for either voluntary purchase by corporations and organizations that have sustainability or goodwill initiatives or for purchase in compliance markets where qualified emitters such as utilities have greenhouse gas reduction mandates they must meet. There are differences in the various standards or protocols used to develop voluntary and compliance-grade carbon credits; however the premise of developing any carbon credit is the same—greenhouse gas emissions of the ‘Project’ must be less than the greenhouse gases emitted to the atmosphere in the baseline condition before the Project was built.

In North America, Camco is primarily focused on developing anaerobic digester projects that produce biogas from livestock manure and/or other organic materials. Biogas produced from digester projects is typically fed to engine generator sets to produce renewable electricity, used in a boiler, or is refined and compressed for use as “green” natural gas. Livestock anaerobic digester projects that have a baseline condition of anaerobic lagoons for manure management are also candidates for carbon credit generation and can earn additional revenue from the sale of their carbon credits.

The key to generating carbon credits from livestock digester projects is good monitoring and data management. Biogas flow to each destruction device (e.g. engine gen-sets, boilers, and flares) must be continuously metered along with indication that the biogas destruction device is working properly (e.g. kWh meter readings from gen-sets and flare temperatures). Quarterly calibration inspection of the project’s biogas flowmeters is an additional requirement for several of the leading carbon credit protocols including the Livestock Protocol for California’s Cap-and-Trade Program. Review of flowmeter calibration documentation is an essential part of the project carbon credit verification (audit) process. 

The ability to calibrate our Sage thermal mass biogas flowmeters in-situ and on-site with no additional instrumentation provides both savings and ease to our carbon credit management program. Using manufacturer guidance, our technicians and subcontractors quickly check the calibration of our biogas flowmeters in a repeatable and reliable manner that is accepted by the leading U.S. carbon credit protocols. Some of our project sites have thermal mass flowmeters that require electronic diagnosis calibration that can be performed on-site, however we find the in-situ test of the Sage thermal mass meter at zero flow of biogas or air to be the easiest calibration check method to conduct.

Reliable biogas measurement is important both as an indicator of project performance (understanding system biogas production) and to carbon credit quantification. In-situ calibration is a fast and reliable method to check the calibration of biogas flowmeters that is consistent with the most widely accepted livestock carbon credit generation protocols.

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CASE STUDIES IN INNOVATION: Ultrasonic Flowmeter Withstands Practical Test at Bioethanol Plant

CASE STUDIES IN INNOVATION: Measuring the Flowrate of Reactive Ammonia Gas 

Best of the Brew: 11 Applications of Outstanding Fluid Handling Technology

The Winners Are…Flow Control Recognizes Fluid Handling Innovators

2012 Innovation Awards Nominees