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TRACERCO Diagnostics™ - Flow Study

Accurate Knowledge of Flow Essential for Energy Audit

Carrying out energy audits in a plant always highlights problems, and it is on these occasions that accurate knowledge of flowrates is essential. In this particular ammonia plant, it was necessary to determine the flow in some unmeasured streams as well as verify some existing flow meters. The majority of flows that required measuring were steam and airflow to various turbines and natural gas flow to various furnaces. Tracerco was called in to use its TRACERCO Diagnostics™ Flow Study technique to assist in this energy audit.

Flow study

Suitable gaseous and liquid radioisotope tracers were used dependant upon the fluid under investigation. Velocities were measured over the range 40-100 feet per second, with accuracies varying from 98 to 99.5% depending upon the combination of line length, pipe diameter and flowrate. These results showed that the natural gas meter was indicating greater than actual flow. When this correction was made, the fuel gas usage was in line with forecast, and it turned out that the plant had been overcharged for their natural gas for a lengthy period of time. A good energy balance on the steam system was also obtained for the first time, since flowmeters were verified and previously unmeasured flowrates were not known.

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