First off, I would like to thank everyone for reading and being a part of the inaugural "Devtech Advantage Newsletter." Within the Florida Natural Gas Industry, we are a tight knit group. This is evident at our annual FNGA events, and has often been observed by first time attendees as a "family" type atmosphere. We at Devtech firmly believe in family, and we like to treat and consider our customers as an extension of our family. With this newsletter, we would like to bring our company to you in a way we have not yet done. We are not your usual "social media" types, and as a matter of fact we are somewhat "anti-facebook" you might say. What we live for is real people, face to face conversations, and now a newsletter to stay in touch with this growing industry. Our goal is to deliver informative, industry-driven, and sometimes humorous content to you on a quarterly basis. We will of course be introducing new products, supplier news, product updates, general natural gas industry articles, etc... but we will also be offering a glimpse into our day to day life which will include, but will not be limited to, in depth biographies of each employee, out of the work place hobby updates, fishing pictures, and funny happenings (plenty of these to choose from with Steve around). We would also like to have input from our industry family, our customers. We enjoy your successes, new hires, and any other information you would like to share with our little piece of the world, and would love to include this in our quarterly newsletters. With this being said, we hope you enjoy the inaugural "Devtech Advantage Newsletter."
John Paul Heston
Devtech Newsletter Editor
Central & South FL Sales Representative
If we have any complaints about our schools, it would not be about the steaks at Charles's house, the amount of snacks in the break room, the educational content of the schools, but possibly the long lines at the bathroom during breaks. With this being said we are thinking about our attendees and have built an extra bathroom for all of our visitors.
(In other news: Cathy can quit complaining about not being able to use the bathroom during schools!)
Elster American Meter is proud to offer their new design rotary meter, the RABO. The RABO offers a feature set that meets virtually all market applications in one simple design. Rotary-All-By-One, simply, all-in-one! Elster Instromet has manufactured a tried and tested rotary meter for years in Germany. What they have now done is take the product features from the RVG and the IRM rotary meter product lines and developed them into a single product.
Features include only four meter sizes ranging from 3500 to 14,000 cfh, high rangeability across the flow range, heavy duty compact design, end view rotatable index, 10 cubic feet output on all meter sizes, permanently lubricated bearings, MAOP 290 PSIG, and meets ANSI B109.3.
Options include multiple index masking, pulse outputs, flange bolts and gasket kits, gasket strainers, one thermowell size meets all, and AMR/Corrector mounting kits.
Please take a moment to click on the link below and take a look at the product literature which will fully explain the design and flexibility of this forward thinking design.
The natural gas industry is faced with many challenges providing a clean product to the customer and most of all protecting its investment. We will be discussing this throughout the article to get a better understanding when and why we need "Filtration". This will be the first article of 4 in which we will discuss filtration/separation in further detail.
What is the definition of Filtration/Separation?
The act of removing a contaminant from a product to either further purify the product or protect a piece of equipment from the contaminant.
So why do we need filtration?
Throughout the United States Municipal utilities, Investor Owned Gas Utilities, and transmission companies are faced with the same problems when it comes to receiving natural gas from the pipeline. We can never be sure that the product is free from contamination. Transmission companies do their best to provide a product free from contamination but sometimes they end up passing it on. This is one of the most critical points of transfer so at this point we need to decide what equipment will best perform to remove the contamination from the pipeline.
What type of contaminants can we expect to see from the transfer point?
Solids and Liquids are what we seem to encounter the most and remember, the contaminant ALWAYS dictates the type of filer/separator used. Listed below are contaminates you could encounter.
Solids - pipe scale, sand and welding slag are the most common
Liquids - compressor lube oils and hydrocarbon condensates
Now that we have some of the basics, what else will we need to size a filter/separator for our process?
Pressure - When sizing a filter/ separator we must know what pressure it will be used in to make sure the vessel will not be over-pressurized.
Temperature - temperature will determine the type of element as well as the contaminant type.
Capacity/Flow Rate - it is very important to size the filter/separator correctly. If the flow rates are too high, the velocity could damage the element or allow the particulate or liquid pass through it.
Once we have gathered this information we can determine the type and size of the filter/separator that will be needed. Remember, it is important to consult with the representative/manufacturer prior to ordering. In most cases the manufacturer or their representative will want to discuss the application further to ensure you are getting the right filter/separator for the application.
In the information above we discussed using filtration at the custody transfer point or from the pipeline. Once we receive the product from this point is it necessary to filter the gas further? The answer to that question is YES! Most distribution companies have many types of pipe throughout their distribution system. The age of the pipe, metal or plastic shavings from tapping, welding slag, grease from valve maintenance, sand from installing pipe, well you get the point! There will ALWAYS be contamination in any pipeline and that's why it is so important to use a filter to protect your investment. Too many times I see regulators and meters blocked up or damaged because a filter was not considered until a failure was experienced.
In most instances, cost is a determining factor for a filter purchase. What should be the consideration is the cost of ownership for the life of the equipment and not the up-front cost of the equipment. When we look at these types of purchases this needs to be the driving factor. The cost or replacing damaged equipment (ours as well as our customers) is minimal to the loss in revenues we could experience if the customer was getting inaccurate measurement due to contaminates that slow the meter accuracy down or stop it entirely.
With the purchase of a filter/separator you will have to monitor this equipment to determine the life span of the element, and when to perform maintenance. To help you determine when maintenance must be performed, a differential gauge installed with the filter will help you with this task. If you do not have a differential gauge installed on the vessel you could use a tester to check the differential during each visit to the station. If you are using a tester, you must keep good records so you can note the pressures to determine when your element needs to be changed. In most cases the element will need to be changed between 12-15 psid, but this range changes based on pressures, vessel size, etc. The manufacturer will provide an acceptable differential pressure for your particular vessel. If you are using a permanently installed differential gauge an indicator will let you know when the differential is high and the element will need changing. Remember, when using a handheld differential gauge the pressures across the element might be within the desired range during the test but the element might have been compromised. This can be detected by the pressure drop across the filter. Records from your last visit may indicate a higher pressure across the filter and this visit indicates the pressure is lower. Remember a slug of debris can clog the element and cause a blowout causing the differential pressure to be lower between visits. This is an indicator to change out the element! Also differential pressure should not be the limiting factor for element change out. ALL elements no matter the manufacturer have a life span. Just because the element differential has not reached the change out pressure does not mean that elements do not need to be changed. The manufacturer will have a maintenance schedule to help you determine when a change out is required.
Once you have determined your requirements for filter/separator maintenance you will have to properly dispose of them. Because the elements are usually saturated with Mercaptan they will put off a very noticeable odor. Because of this you will need to take precautions to properly handle and dispose of the elements. Elements that are used to remove "iron oxide" must be handled with caution. Since iron oxide is "Pyrophoric" it can ignite when exposed to the atmosphere during removal. If you notice the element starting to smoke, please handle with caution as this is a good indicator that iron oxide may be present.
Finally, filtration is paramount in today's natural gas market. In FL we use to be lucky and get all clean/dry gas. With the introduction of shale plays, line pigging, etc., we now are seeing contaminants in our gas that have not been there in the past. Proper filtration and filter maintenance will make everybody's life easier as this industry keeps growing.