Turbine flowmeters are widely used for both liquid and gas applications. Installed base is a relevant factor in the turbine market because users tend to replace flowmeters with the same technology. As such, the large installed base of turbine flowmeters worldwide will continue to be a source of orders for new meters in the future.

Turbine meters are specified by approval bodies for use in custody-transfer for utility measurement in residential, commercial and industrial applications. These organizations include the American Water Works Association (AWWA, www.awwa.org), the American Gas Association (AGA, www.aga.org) and the International Standards Organization (ISO, www.iso.org) in Europe.

The approval of a standard by the American Gas Association for using turbine flowmeters for custody transfer of natural gas has been a significant factor in the use of turbine meters for gas applications. However, turbine meters face competition from ultrasonic meters, and a report on the use of Coriolis flowmeters has also been approved by AGA (Report #11). Differential-pressure flowmeters are also widely used for natural gas flow measurement. So while turbine meters have enjoyed an advantage in the past based on their approvals, this advantage is diminishing as newer technology flowmeters are approved for custody transfer of natural gas.

Despite the competition, however, there are several reasons why turbine meters will continue to maintain their wide usage for gas flow applications. One is that turbine meters have a significant cost advantage over ultrasonic meters, especially in the larger pipe sizes. Their price may also compare favorably to DP flowmeters, especially in cases where one turbine meter can replace several DP meters. Finally, users who are already familiar with turbine technology and who don’t want to spend the extra money required to invest in a new technology are likely to stay with turbine meters.

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