A new approach to CO2

Recent testing at Brazil’s IPT test facility has confirmed an unprecedented ability to read flare gas at speed, with exceptionally high levels of CO2 present – an important step forward for the flare gas measurement industry.

FlarePhase technology is our most recent launch to the global flare gas measurement market.

FlarePhase transducers from Fluenta were designed primarily to offer a much broader operating temperature range compared with competitive offerings, but its resistance to huge temperature fluctuations is only part of the story.

We, like many other measurement companies, are seeing a large increase in the requests for measurement which can cope with 60%-100% CO2 included in the process. This has been something of a paradox for the measurement industry until now. CO2, one of the most important gasses to measure, is also one of the most difficult.

Although in many regions, ‘Ultrasonic’ measurement of flare gas is mandated due to an inherent ability to accurately measure – regardless of gas composition, this ability is limited in cases of high CO2, as this gas is like a “brick wall” to ultrasonic signals. In anything over 30%, it absorbs the frequencies so much that any reasonably sized flare line is going to struggle to get signal.

Some manufacturers try to improve the situation by amplifying the sensor signal to extract the maximum possible, but this alone has limited benefit as the ultrasonic absorption characteristics of CO2 are logarithmic, not linear.

FlarePhase though, a new generation of ultrasonic transducer, and the first of its kind, does something rather different. FlarePhase continuously measures the resonant frequencies of the transducers and adapts the drive signals in real time to ensure that the transducers are always driven optimally. As originally stated, this was developed to cope with wide temperature fluctuations, but a corollary effect of this is a transformational performance in the presence of CO2.

Usually, even slight shifts in the resonant frequency can see transducers being driven, or signals being received, at a much lower efficiency – even a 1kHz shift, equivalent to a temperature fluctuation of c. 40oC (extremely common in flare lines), can lead to a reduction in efficiency of around 40%

FlarePhase technology eliminates this variable and hence produces much more accurate, reliable and repeatable measurement, but even more so, it elevates the received signal (together with our proprietary signal processing algorithms) high enough above the noise floor to maintain accuracy, even with the signal attenuation that high concentrations of CO2 introduces.

The testing

We’re still underway with testing at IPT. Their facility was specially constructed for us to conduct this research and is still being developed, but the preliminary results are extremely promising.

So far, we have achieved accurate measurement at flow speeds of 75ms-1, in a concentration of 99.1% CO2, across a 10.5 inch pipe. The ongoing developments will allow us to expand the range of pipe sizes, CO2 concentration and flow rates in our testing, but the current results are strong enough for us to conclude that our FlarePhase sensors should be the number 1 choice for operators looking for precision where extremely high levels of CO2 may be present.

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