Accurate flow measurement improves combustion chamber testing



At the DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt) Propulsion Technology headquarters in Cologne, DLR provides test stands for gas turbine combustion chambers. Customers from both the aviation and power generation industries can conduct their tests under realistic pressure and temperature conditions, for combustion chambers with a thermal capacity up to 50MW.


“Our aim is to help turbine manufacturers increase efficiency and reduce noise and emissions from their turbines,” said Fleing. “To do this we need to replicate the operating environment as accurately as possible. This means the combustion chamber tests have to be conducted over a wide flow range of 100:1, at temperatures up to 300°C and pressures up to 200 bar.”


DLR originally installed orifice plates to measure gas flow, but these had limitations in their accuracy and turndown. Orifice flow meters are only accurate when measuring natural gas and the customer tests often require a mixture of gases.


DLR started working with Emerson to find a better solution to its measurement challenge and Emerson recommended its Micro Motion ELITE Coriolis flowmeter. The Micro Motion flowmeters were installed, allowing DLR to provide a new generation of combustion chamber testing. The new solution enables historic information to be accessed and diagnostics and calibration checks to be completed daily before the tests are started. Micro Motion flowmeters are able to accurately measure mixtures of gases, extending the scope of the tests. The Smart Meter Verification (SMV) feature on the Micro Motion flowmeters means that the calibration of the meter can be checked without removing it from the line, reducing energy use and maintenance costs.


Emerson’s Volker Kramer then explained the principles and benefits of SMV. For example, it takes just two minutes for the calibration of the meter to be checked against the original factory setting. During the combustion test, when conditions are stable, the calibration of the meter can be checked again. This reassures the customer of the accuracy of the measurements taken under actual test conditions.


“The Smart Meter Verification tool is initiated by the customer through the transmitter,” Kramer said. “The transmitter vibrates the sensor with different frequencies and the response is used to determine if the calibration of the sensor has changed. If the change exceeds the limits specified, the customer is notified.”


The sensor stiffness measurement can be used detect tube damage caused by erosion, cracking, pitting, etc. and determine whether the process measurement is being influenced.


“The proven accuracy and reliability of our tests has helped DLR win more customers,” continued Fleing. “Based on this success we are investing €47 Million in a new test facility to satisfy the demands of our customers for up to 30 years. This will be commissioned in June 2014 and will extend our test capacity up to 125 Mw thermal output.”





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Nuclear vs. renewables: Divided they fall

Article extracted from,

By Dawn Stover, Contributing Editor, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

People who agree that climate change is a dire problem often disagree about how to solve it. In recent months, once-private disagreements have ballooned into a public spat between pro-nuclear and anti-nuclear climate activists. Depending on whom you ask, nuclear power is either “essential” or “ill-suited” to efforts aimed at staving off climate disaster.

Nuclear power and renewable energy sources (including solar, wind, biofuels, geothermal, and hydropower) make comparable contributions to US energy, and both are dwarfed by fossil fuels: According to the US Energy Information Administration, in 2012 nuclear and renewables each provided between 8 and 9 percent of all energy used in the United States. Petroleum, natural gas, and coal together provided 81 percent.

You would think, then, that the little guys would realize they only stood a chance if they teamed up against Goliath. Instead, advocates for nuclear and renewables are doing just the opposite: They’re competing with each other for government favors and bickering over the question of what should replace fossil fuels, at times framing the debate as an either-or choice. Although both sides acknowledge the magnitude of the climate crisis, they stubbornly refuse to grow up and face the facts: Even with huge expansions of both nuclear and renewables, keeping global warming below a dangerous level will be a tough order.

Continue reading here: Nuclear vs. renewables: Divided they fall



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Power Crisis : How Prepared Are You ?

Earlier this week, I read on the news about the possibiltiy of a power crisis in S.Korea after technical issues with 2 of their power plants.


In the midst of a heatwave , South Korea governement is urging the people to conserve energy through different means like reduce electic consumption from 10am to 6pm.


I contacted some of my colleagues from Seoul office and they are doing their part by switching off the air-conditioning system and diming the lights during office hours. The thought of what will happen if Singapore is face with a power crisis suddenly hits me. In Singapore, electricity and water are readily available, chances of a massive blackout is very small (unless Malaysia & Indonesia decided one day to cut off natural gas supply to us).  However, there is still a slim chance it might happen one day due to political reason, price of fuel or even war.

Let’s not talk about long terms plans like renewable energy or even nuclear, if we are faced with a power crisis tomorrow, what are we going to do? Any homes in Singapore that has a backup power or generator? What will happen to our food and water supply? Will we experience fear and start to panic or even angry? What about if this power crisis happen in the midst of the recent haze with PSI more than 400 and we cannot turn on the air conditioning or air purifier? 

If you are not thinking about all these, maybe is time to start now.





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Winds of Change in China

Winds of Change in China

I had a chance to attend CEEC 2013 (Clean Energy Expo China) recently in Beijing and managed to speak to one of the representive from China Guodian. He explained the importance of having more renewable energy sources such as wind and solar in China to reduce carbon emissions. When asked about what is the weightage between wind and solar investment, he mentioned that wind power will be the priority as of now due to efficiency, flexibility in terms of installation and the ability to generate more power.

More information regarding China investment in Wind Energy can also be found via this link,

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New Technology Expected to Make Coal Cleaner

Extracted from :

The above link features a new way to process coal which is call ‘Smart Sprial Technology’. With more than 1000 new coal power plants planned worldwide (,
 there will be a need for companies to look for better ways to burn coal. With better technology in treating coal, this will be benefical to the world’s coal industry.

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Thai Power Sector Turns to Coal

Article extracted from :

‘Thailand’s power sector will require an additional 1.44 million mt/year of sub-bituminous coal once four new coal-fired units come on stream over 2016-2017, an industry source said Monday.

Two of the four 135 MW units at independent producer National Power Supply Co.’s coal-fired power project will come on line in 2016 and two in 2017, the source said. Each unit will require 360,000 mt/year of coal with a calorific value of 5,000 kcal/kg gross as received, or GAR, the source added.

This follows independent power producer Gheco-One Co. commissioning a 660 MW coal-fired plant that runs on imported bituminous and sub-bituminous coal in July 2012.

Further forward, state utility Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, or EGAT, is building four 800 MW units to be commissioned in 2019, 2022, 2025 and 2028, respectively, which will each require 2.25 million mt/year of coal.

Thailand’s power sector consumed 24.53 million mt of coal in 2012, and its industrial sector another 12.24 million mt. The country imported 18.4 million mt of coal in the year, or 49.5% of the total.

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Asia-Pacific the Largest Flowmeter Market in 2013

Article from Control Engineering Asia :

‘The Asia-Pacific region this year will become the world’s largest market for flowmeters with sales revenue of US$1.7 billion, according to IMS Research. From 2011 to 2017, Asia-Pacific is also forecast to be the fastest-expanding region for flowmeter sales with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.5 percent. This high growth can be attributed to greenfield investment, together with an increasing need for greater flow-measurement accuracy.

“China and India in 2013 will continue their decade-long effort to invest in infrastructure to address the needs of their growing population and rising energy requirements,” said Kiran Patel, process instrumentation and control analyst at IHS.

“Capital expenditures in the oil and gas, chemical and power, and refining and petrochemical industries in these countries will drive demand for process instrumentation and measuring devices, including flowmeters.

“With a growing focus on environmental conservation, the monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions is increasingly important as businesses are keen to portray themselves as being green.

“Another progressively important application is custody transfer. In the oil and gas industry, for instance, rising energy costs have driven the need for greater flow-measurement accuracy given that small percentage errors can result in significant costs,” outlined Patel.

While China historically has had an abundance of human resources for low-skilled jobs, labor costs are rising and young people overall are choosing to pursue higher education, likely leading to the reduction in supply of cheap, low-skilled labor in the country. Such constraints in the labor force have affected process facilities in particular, resulting in a lack of technical, hands-on expertise at plant sites because low-skilled staff for the most part has been employed.

To help fill the gap, businesses are utilizing so-called smart flowmeters, which not only are easier to use and maintain but also provide online diagnostics if required. Still, these smart flowmeters come at a price premium – something that businesses are not always able or willing to pay. Instead, companies resort to using mechanical flowmeters—among the easiest to duplicate, with an increasing number of Asian manufacturers making the machines at low cost, often compromising quality.

And while local end-user industries with limited regional reach are most likely to invest in such products, typical process facilities tend to be managed by global players whose corporate image is paramount. Here reputations are at stake and large corporations cannot be seen to be using low-quality products that could affect production and efficiency or pose a safety risk to operators.

In such applications or scenarios, it is to the long-term advantage of manufacturers to use highly accurate flowmeter types, such as Coriolis, thermal mass and ultrasonic. IHS believes that these markets will experience growth rates of 16.0 percent, 14.8 percent and 12.3 percent, respectively, from 2011 through 2017.

Emerging Asian economies present an attractive destination for established flowmeter suppliers to set up manufacturing and sales bases. Here they will come across companies with varying attitudes to pricing, with some happily settling for low-cost products from local suppliers, ultimately sacrificing quality.

Because flowmeter products are generally viewed as commodity items by these types of end-users, it is unlikely that major flowmeter and instrumentation suppliers will gain an advantage by selling to this market, which would entail a loss of profit margin for their more sophisticated product offerings.

But as China and India begin to realize the benefits of investing in more efficient flowmeters, these more advanced products are sure to drive growth of the flowmeter market in the region, believes IMS.’

 This article from Control Engineering indicates that Asia Pacific will be the world’s largest market for flowmeters especially in China & India. Besides oil and gas, refining and petrochemical, where customers are generally more open to the idea of using ‘Smart Flowmeters’ for most critical applications,  I am not surprised that Power is also mentioned as one of the key industry. Most of the power plants which I visited are still very much comfortable with using traditional flow technologies like orifices, throat-tap nozzles, positive displacement & turbines.

There are mainly 2 industry needs in Power Generation that drives customers to consider a better technology in flow measurements. One of them is in the area of Environmental Regulation Compliance. With tighter controls on NOx & SOx emissions, power plants are investing more money to better design their flue gas conditioning systems like FGD (Flue Gas Desulphrization) and SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction). In order to have a better control of lime slurry, urea or ammonia gas flow, you will require a more precise measurements in which a coriolis flow meter can provide.

Secondly, with rising oil and natural gas price, power plants will need to have a better accountability of the resources while keeping the plant running at optimum efficiency without any sudden disruption. While switching to a better flow technology like coriolis meters doesn’t mean that you will save more oil or natural gas, however, with a more precise and accurate flow, it can provide you a better accountability of your resources like fuel oil, natural gas and water in the areas of combustion control as well as achieving a higher performance testing.


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