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ENFLOW: Energy flow metering of natural and biogas for residential applications

Gas plays an important role in the move towards a more sustainable energy mix. However, the liberalization of gas markets, diversification of supply, renewable biogas injections and changes to regulations have resulted in a problem with considerable fluctuations of the gas quality in the grid. On-site gas quality monitoring has therefore become an urgent matter in the gas industry, driven by factors of customer protection, efficient energy conversion by gas appliances, lowering of greenhouse gases emissions, and economical effectiveness.
The solution offered and being under development is aimed to solve this problem by providing a novel approach for cost efficient energy flow metering with the means of standard ultrasonic gas flow meters, enabling real-time smart metering at considerably lower cost compared to current solutions.

Funded by:

Vinnova and Industry partners

Time period:

Sep 2019 – April 2021

Project partners:

GasQuaL AB

Inoson GmbH

Paderborn University


Diversification of gas supply via liberalization of the gas trade, discovery of new fossil sources, and the increasing use of renewable gases (biogas, syngas and hydrogen) are favoring pronounced and more frequent fluctuations in gas quality. The knowledge of gas quality is crucial for custody transfer, and safe, efficient and low-emission operation of gas-driven processes. The gas energy flow in fiscal metering is calculated as product of calorific value (qualitative indicator) multiplied by consumed gas volume. Only the volume metering is implemented at the consumption site for most gas consumers, while the quality metering is done usually by the supplier. The reason for such situation is the there is a lack of methods for determining the energy content of the delivered gas in real-time and at low cost at end user site or along the grid. This leads to the set of the problems faced by gas market players and gas consumers. The most common technology for gas quality analyses is gas chromatography that provides limited real-time data and has very high initial and operational costs. There is therefore a need for real-time cost-efficient instrumentation for quality metering by the end customers.

One of the challenges within EU is ensuring smooth transition to sustainable energy sources in short and long term perspective. Natural gas is seen as one of the most promising transition tools, due to its lowest environmental impact, carbon footprint, highest efficiency in transportation and conversion and “friendliness” with renewable energy sources (if compared to other fossil fuels). Natural gas share in global energy balance is steadily growing (2-3% annually) and is forecasted to surpass shares of oil and coal by 2030 (considering newly discovered sources and technological developments). Development and wide spread of cost-efficient analyzing and measurement equipment (including energy flow meters) for natural gas and substitute natural gas allows to facilitate optimization and operation cost reduction for gas distribution systems and efficient gas utilization.

The basic idea of the proposed technology under development lies in following: the real-time determination of qualitative characteristic of natural gas and biogas that is based on measurement of properties of the gas sample by standard and market available sensors at arbitrary conditions. The properties required are the speed of sound and the sound propagation parameter (measured as ultrasonic signal dampening for specific measurement setup: frequency and separation of transducers). These properties could be easily measured with typical ultrasonic gas flow meter (residential and industrial) that operates on time-of-flight (TOF) measurement technique (vast majority of gas flow meters). Thus this potentially could enable a complete solution for real-time and inline energy flow metering by the means of standard ultrasonic gas flow meters.

Aim and objectives

The main goal is to develop and introduce into the market an innovative technology for real-time measurement of energy flow of natural and bio-gas at lower cost by the means of standard ultrasonic gas flow meter. This will have a positive impact on the European gas sector since it will meet the need of cost efficient technology for energy flow and gas quality control for:

• Residential consumers by providing customer protection and independent energy billing;

• Utilities, grid operators and industrial consumers by providing real-time and cost efficient technological measurement, enabling them to compete more strongly on the global markets


The solution is aimed on solving the problem of energy flow metering by providing the GasQALgorithm and GasQCELL (measurement module): the novel approach for gas quality measurement suitable for both residential and industrial application. This will provide new value proposition for standard ultrasonic gas flow meters in form of the possibility of real-time energy content measurement in short term and complete residential energy billing solution in long term perspective enabling real-time smart metering at considerably lower cost if compared to current solutions.


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