Coriolis flowmeters are the highest accuracy meters on the market. And while they are most widely used in the chemical industry, Coriolis usage is growing most rapidly in the oil & gas industry. Coriolis flowmeters have a very limited use for steam applications.

One main area of growth for Coriolis flowmeters is in the custody transfer of petroleum liquids, where they are replacing positive-displacement meters. Approvals by industry organizations, including the American Gas Association (AGA, www.aga.org) and the American Petroleum Institute (API, www.api.org), have played a major role in the acceptance of Coriolis meters for custody-transfer applications.

The battle between straight-tube and bent-tube flowmeters is an important part of the total picture in the Coriolis space. KROHNE (www.krohne.com) introduced the first commercially successful straight-tube Coriolis flowmeter in 1994. Straight-tube meters address the problem of pressure drop because the fluid does not have to travel around a bend. This makes them better able to handle high-velocity fluids. Straight-tube meters can also be drained more easily, which is important for sanitary applications. And straight-tube meters have a more compact design than bent-tube meters, which can be quite large and unwieldy, particularly in the larger sizes.

There is increasing use of Coriolis flowmeters in large line sizes – above six inches. At least four companies are now manufacturing these large size meters. Even though the large majority of Coriolis flowmeters still go into applications with line sizes of two inches or less, the large line size meters represent a growth area for this market. Companies that currently offer large line size flowmeters include GE Sensing (www.gesensing.com) — which acquired Rheonik in January 2008 — Endress+Hauser (www.us.endress.com), Micro Motion (www.micromotion.com) and KROHNE.

Coriolis flowmeters offer accuracy and reliability, which figure to be key characteristics going forward as increased fuel costs make accurate measurement of fuel flow applications more important, especially for custody transfer.

Analysis provided by Flow Research (www.flowresearch.com). For more information on the Coriolis flowmeter market, visit Flow Research’s Web portal www.FlowCoriolis.com.