Home » Sierra Blog » Natural Gas Measurement
Official Blog of Sierra--Let's Talk Flow!

Sierra’s Biggest Stories of 2017


Dec 15, 2017
Julie Graff
Written By:
Julie Graff

Another year has come and gone, and it certainly was a big one for Sierra! Let’s look back at the news and top content that we shared with you in 2017. New at Sierra in 2017 Last year was a big year of innovation for Sierra. Here are the developments we were particularly proud of: The Big-3™ […]

Read the Story

Now Measure All Flow Energy In Your Facility — One Solution — Three Metering Technologies


Jul 01, 2017
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

Facilities managers at large facilities often have the challenging task of managing all the flow energy in their facility with the mandate from upper management to save money on energy costs. To accomplish this goal, it’s critical to get accurate flow measurement data of the flow energy in your facility such as: natural gas, compressed air, steam, chilled […]

Read the Story

Overcoming Natural Gas Sampling Challenges in Oil & Gas Applications


Mar 03, 2017
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

It is a fact that in order to comply with various government rules and regulations, oil and gas companies have to continually take natural gas samples to prove the gas composition and amount of gas flowing in their oil fields. The challenge comes in trying to actually take an adequate gas sample representative of the […]

Read the Story

Sierra’s Biggest Stories from 2016


Jan 09, 2017
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

2017 is here and this year will bring many new exciting developments at Sierra, but before launching completely into the new year, let’s take a look back at our top stories of 2016. New at Sierra in 2016 We’re always looking for new ways to communicate and interact with our customers and industry. Find out about three […]

Read the Story

Flare Gas Measurement Innovation: Retain Flow Metering Accuracy Even if Gas Composition Changes


Dec 12, 2016
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

It’s a fact oil wells almost always produce natural gas along with the petroleum. Nine times out of ten, the excess gas (typically hydrocarbons) is flared off or simply vented as-is during upset conditions in the process. The environmental impacts of “flaring” this excess gas into our atmosphere has resulted in government regulations like 40 CFR […]

Read the Story

Tuning Your Boiler for EPA Boiler MACT Compliance


May 12, 2016
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

The EPA’s Boiler MACT (Maximum Achievable Control Technology) regulations are heating up. Boiler MACT is an EPA rule to limit hazardous air pollutants (HAP) from commercial and industrial boilers and process heaters. Originally published in 2011 as a mandate driven by the Clean Air Act,  the rules are Area Source Boiler MACT 40 CFR 63, subpart JJJJJJ for smaller […]

Read the Story

How to Reduce Methane Emissions with Thermal Mass Flow Meters


Feb 11, 2016
Glen, Account & Market Manager
Written By:
Glen, Account & Market Manager

The flare gas discussion is heating up again. According to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. oil production is at an all-time high, and so are the harmful methane emissions from leaks, flaring and venting. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has proposed to update 30-year-old regulations in order to reduce the excess release of natural […]

Read the Story

The New Vortex iSeries has Arrived!


Oct 28, 2015
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

InnovaMass. Reinvented. I am proud to announce on behalf of our entire development team, our completely re-designed, next generation InnovaMass 240i and 241i vortex volumetric flow and multivariable mass flow meter product line. Learn more… The all new iSeries InnovaMass 240i inline and 241i insertion vortex flow meters are manufactured at our brand new assembly and calibration facility in […]

Read the Story

Thermal Mass Flow Meters Offer Oil & Gas Companies Lowest Cost of Ownership


Aug 28, 2015
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager
Written By:
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that oil prices have hit a rock bottom $40 a barrel, the lowest since 2009. How does this affect the oil companies? Well, the consumer gets the benefit of the low pump price which does loosen discretionary spending, but the oil & gas companies are hurting-spending less money on capital investment […]

Read the Story

Everything You Need to Know About Sub-Metering Natural Gas


Jun 29, 2015
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

We’ve written quite a bit about the benefits of using thermal flow meters to sub-meter natural gas in large facilities. So much so, that we’ve decided to create one post that can be your go-to resource for finding information on the topic. Here you’ll find links to easily digestible content like infographics and SlideShare presentations, […]

Read the Story

For the First Time, Field-Adjust For Gas Composition Changes, Retain Accuracy, Save Time and Money


Jun 05, 2015
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

For the first time, customers can adjust their gas composition in the field on thermal flow meters to solve EPA reporting challenges. When gas composition changes, typical thermal meters must be sent back to the factory to be re-calibrated in order to maintain required accuracy levels.  All of this is a costly, time consuming endevour. Imagine the time […]

Read the Story

If gas composition changes, field-adjust to maintain flow meter accuracy?


Apr 13, 2015
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

Changes in gas composition cut into productivity in the field, exactly when you need accuracy in flow meter measurement the most. But what if you could retain that precision, even when those changes occur? Now you can do just that with qMix Software.  If your gas composition changes over time, you can now quickly field-adjust the QuadraTherm […]

Read the Story

Methods & Pitfalls of In-Situ Calibration Validation of Thermal Flowmeters


Oct 07, 2014
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

Driven by the need to meet quality standards like ISO 9001, reliability engineers for mid-to-large-sized facilities and campuses know the time consuming reality of assuring their flow meters are properly maintained and “in cal”. A unique and highly marketed benefit of Thermal Mass Flow Meter technology is “in-situ” or “in place” flow meter calibration.  This certainly sounds like […]

Read the Story

The Truth About In-Situ Calibration Validation of Thermal Flowmeters


Sep 10, 2014
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

In-situ calibration validation is one of the great benefits of thermal mass flow technology. This video reviews in-situ calibration validation and details how thermal sensor stability is the only way a calibration validation is actually valid! Get the truth about in-situ calibration so you can make informed decisions. Watch the video now! For a more detailed […]

Read the Story

The Secret to Slashing Your Facility’s Natural Gas Bills


Aug 26, 2014
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

Psst. We’ve got a secret. One that could save you money. How much, you ask? Thousands. That’s right. You could be saving thousands on your facility’s natural gas bill. Traditional diaphragm flow meters used for natural gas measurement can’t account for changes in gas composition, resulting in a utility bill that can be less than […]

Read the Story

Part 3: Accurately Measuring Flare Gas — Managing Gas Mix Changes, Retaining Accuracy, Reducing Cost of Ownership


Mar 17, 2014
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

In my last post, I compared the pros and cons of the various flow meters available for measurement of flare gas. Ultimately, all but one has limitations that will impede your ability to accurately measure excess burn off from the hydraulic fracturing process. In this week’s post, I’ll share a new generation thermal mass flow […]

Read the Story

Part 1: Accurately Measuring Flare Gas — Challenges, Solutions, and Opportunities


Feb 25, 2014
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

If your company is involved with hydraulic fracturing to increase oil and gas production, you’re familiar with the fact that state and national regulations are becoming increasingly stringent. In particular, flare gas now requires the installation of mass flow measurement instruments to measure waste and excess gases burned off as a result of the hydraulic […]

Read the Story

Chemical Engineering Magazine Article By Sierra’s Founder


Feb 10, 2014
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager
Written By:
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager

Sierra’s Founder, Dr. John G. Olin, looks at the Principles of Operation, Installation, Calibration and Best Applications for Thermal Mass Flow Meters… Read the full article in Chemical Engineering Magazine.

Read the Story

Part 2: Challenges with Submetering Natural Gas


Nov 11, 2013
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

I previously shared a post on how mid-to-large size facilities can save money by taking the initiative to submeter natural gas usage. The traditional diaphragm meters used by utility companies rely on fixed compensation variables that can lead to inaccuracies and overcharging. While this can affect residential customers, it comes as no surprise that it […]

Read the Story

Innovation Winner-Precision Gas-Ratio Control Applications


Nov 04, 2013
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager
Written By:
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager

Thanks Flow Control Magazine for recognizing Sierra’s QuadraTherm 640i/780i four-sensor thermal mass meter as this year’s Innovation Award winner. We are honored. The recently published case study in Flow Control magazine this month, explores how the QuadraTherm 780i provides a fiberglass manufacturing company with precise gas-ratio control to increase production capacity and gas consumption efficiency. […]

Read the Story

Part 1: Challenges with Submetering Natural Gas


Oct 28, 2013
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

In an article for Gases & Instrumentation magazine, I explored energy management as it relates to the natural gas industry. Natural gas exists in abundance in this country, with production expected to increase 44 percent by 2040. With such unprecedented growth in production of this natural resource, utility companies must focus on providing the most accurate gas […]

Read the Story

Part 2: Emerging Trends of Thermal Flow Meters


Oct 21, 2013
Jesse Yoder
Written By:
Jesse Yoder

Last week in the first part of my guest post, I shared some of the reasons why the Coriolis flow meter has cornered such a large part of the flowmeter measurement market. Accuracy is the main reason why this type of flowmeter has been so commonly used in industrial applications up to this point. But […]

Read the Story

Part 1: Emerging Trends of Thermal Flowmeters


Oct 09, 2013
Jesse Yoder
Written By:
Jesse Yoder

In this guest post, I’ll be comparing the Coriolis and Thermal flowmeter markets, an interesting undertaking when you consider some of the facts. Both technologies were introduced about the same time, in the mid-1970s. But the worldwide Coriolis meter market has grown to exceed $1 billion, while the Thermal flowmeter market is valued at less […]

Read the Story

Totalize Multiple Gases Independently: Watch Video!


Sep 26, 2013
Brian Estep, Software Engineer
Written By:
Brian Estep, Software Engineer

The need to measure, totalize, and monetize gas flow is not going away. In fact, the requirement to accurately totalize and monetize gas is becoming even more critical with our boom in natural gas and other industrial processes. Almost all mass flow meter companies have the ability to totalize one gas being measured. This is pretty standard […]

Read the Story

Break from the Shackles-Mid-to-Large Size Facilities Verify Utility Company Billing


Sep 20, 2013
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

As we have all been hearing in the news, natural gas is becoming a very valuable and abundant natural resource. Almost all of this increase is due to the projected growth in shale gas production which will grow to 16.7 trillion cubic feet in 2040. Now comes the big question: how are utility companies going […]

Read the Story

Part 3: Biogas Flow Meter Measurement-The Solution


Sep 16, 2013
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

In recent weeks, I’ve shared some exciting advancements in the biogas industry in regards to renewable energy management. From harnessing biogas energy from landfills to the digester gas produced at wastewater treatment plants, one thing is paramount: Adjusting for changing gas composition is critical to obtaining accurate flow meter measurement for optimal biogas energy collection.  […]

Read the Story

Part 2: Biogas Mass Flow Measurement–The Challenge


Sep 05, 2013
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

In my previous posts, I shared the focus on the growing need for renewable energy sources in the United States, with biogas becoming a hot commodity. Common sources include harnessing biogas from landfills, as well as digester gas produced at wastewater treatment plants.  One of the major flow measurement challenges in biogas applications is the fact […]

Read the Story

For Improved Accuracy in Industrial Applications: Clean & Test Your Mass Air Flow Sensor


Jul 10, 2013
Freynold Usi, Software Engineer
Written By:
Freynold Usi, Software Engineer

In today’s dirty heavy industrial applications, engineers and operators are often faced with an inherent challenge which affects mass flow accuracy: How do I know if the sensor of my mass flow meter is clean? and How do I clean the sensor without shutting down the system? Because accurate mass flow readings are often critical for running an efficient […]

Read the Story

Article Highlights Advancements in Flow Meter Accuracy


Mar 26, 2013
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager
Written By:
Maryadine Washington, Mar-Com Manager

Thanks Flow Control magazine for the great coverage and helping to spread the word to our customers about new technology to improve flow measurement accuracy, which always improves plant efficiency and saves customers money in the long run. John G. Olin, PhD, founder of Sierra Instruments and inventor of a number of flow industry firsts, […]

Read the Story

Part 3: Cold Weather and Mass Air Flow Meter Gas Temperature (Gas Properties)


Mar 07, 2013
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

In Parts One and Two of this series, we looked at the effects of ambient temperature on mass air flow meters such as Sierra’s FastFlo™ 620S and our new QuadraTherm™ Model 640i. As discussed, cold weather has few physical effects on the meter, but can degrade accuracy due to stem conduction, unless accounted for, as does […]

Read the Story

Flare Gas Metering Solutions


Feb 04, 2013
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

Waste gases must be flared in numerous industries ranging from oil refineries, well drilling operations (like shale gas fracking) to waste water treatment plants and landfills. Due to government regulations, flares are subject to stringent regulations requiring accurate measurement. Requirements to monitor the flow rate and consumption of flare gas involves measurement at points within a […]

Read the Story

Cash Flow! Reduce Operations & Maintenance Costs for Improved Profits.


Dec 20, 2012
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager

It all starts with measurement, then you can manage costs efficiently.  Only use as much natural gas, water and steam as your process needs and improve inefficient sub-processes.  Fluid flow is expensive; precision measurement improves the bottom line profit of your business.  Here are a few examples of flowmeters commonly used in industry to reduce operations […]

Read the Story

QuadraTherm Flowmeter Puts New Spin on Fiberglass [Case Study]


Dec 04, 2012
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

What a waste! That’s what I thought when I learned how much material is rejected and how much gas is consumed during the fiberglass insulation manufacturing process. The biggest losses occur during the melting, spinning and subsequent cooling of silica, a key ingredient in fiberglass. For those who work in this industry, it’s a never-ending […]

Read the Story

New QuadraTherm Flow Meter: iTherm Expanding Gas Library


Nov 27, 2012
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

The iTherm gas library stores proprietary gas packets, which are  analogous to the DNA of a specific gas. It stores all the parameters needed to instantly calculate the thermodynamic and transport properties of every gas or gas mixture versus temperature and pressure. Currently, the library has mapped 18 gases and mixtures, and it continues to grow […]

Read the Story

New QuadaTherm Flow Sensor: with iTherm, It Learns!


Nov 20, 2012
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

With iTherm, It Learns… QuadraTherm’s four-sensor technology provides the critical inputs for iTherm’s living, learning algorithm set and gas library to accurately manage changes in gas and pipe selection, gas temperature, gas pressure, and outside temperature. Our revolutionary thermal mass flow meter with iTherm solves the First Law of Thermodynamics (for Thermal Dispersion Technology) in a fraction […]

Read the Story

New QuadraTherm Thermal Flow Sensor Makes It Possible!


Nov 13, 2012
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

Patented QuadraTherm’s Four-Sensor Design A major thermal sensor breakthrough for Sierra occurred with QuadraTherm, as two new temperature sensors (T2 and T4—see figure below) were added to the existing two-sensor design (T3 temperature & T1 DrySense velocity) used in previous flowmeter models. The two additional sensors perform real-time correction for the heat lost to the outside environment due […]

Read the Story

New QuadraTherm 640i / 780i: Accuracy Never Before Possible!


Nov 08, 2012
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

Innovative QuadraTherm Four-Sensor Design Traditional thermal sensors have two sensors—one temperature sensor and one velocity sensor, each in a separate probe sheath. QuadraTherm (the term “Quad” meaning “four”) introduces four sensors—three precision platinum temperature sensors and one patented DrySense mass velocity sensor. Performance improvements never before possible are gained as the QuadraTherm Technology isolates forced […]

Read the Story

New QuadraTherm 640i / 780i: Introducing The World’s Most Accurate Thermal Mass Flow Meters


Nov 06, 2012
Matthew Olin, President & CEO
Written By:
Matthew Olin, President & CEO

From Sierra’s beginning over forty years ago, we have been driven by the vision of supplying industrial customers with the world’s most accurate thermal mass flow meter. And, we knew it was a “sensor” game. The development of an industrialized metal-sheathed sensor in the early 80s was Sierra’s first big step, but we didn’t stop there.   Many successful innovations […]

Read the Story

How Biogas Generators Work with Air Flow Meters


Aug 28, 2012
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

For several years, Sierra has been working with the Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Facility near Monterey, Calif., to improve the rate of biogas cogeneration. Santa Cruz produces energy – enough to power 3,000 homes – by blending digester gas (a by-product of its sewage decontamination) with natural gas. This type of biomass helps create electricity using […]

Read the Story

Flowmeter Reliability and Service Win with Wastewater Biogas Plant


Aug 23, 2012
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director
Written By:
Scott Rouse, Product Line Director

The old maxim – waste not, want not – has taken on a whole new meaning in places like the Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Facility, located near Monterey Bay in Northern California. At the plant, digester gas, a by-product of sewage decontamination, is captured and mixed with natural gas to form a type of biomass, one […]

Read the Story

Natural Gas Measurement: 3 Reasons Thermal Mass Flow Meters Are Ideal


Feb 08, 2012
John, Chief Engineer
Written By:
John, Chief Engineer

When it comes to metering natural gas, you’ve got several flow meter options.  However, thermal mass flow meters offer three distinct advantages over more traditional flow meters: No moving parts. As you can probably guess, moving parts can cause problems over time due to wear, lubrication and coating sensitivity. For example, turbine meters offer excellent […]

Read the Story

Measure Natural Gas Energy Accurately with Thermal Flowmeters


Dec 07, 2011
John, Chief Engineer
Written By:
John, Chief Engineer

It is well known that thermal mass flow meters are effected by gas composition.  Because thermal mass flow meters are effected by gas composition, many customers are concerned about how composition changes effect overall system accuracy. Through many years of experience with gas mixtures, we have seen that in many cases, a thermal mass flow […]

Read the Story

Understand Your Flow Profile for Real-World Flow Meter Accuracy


Aug 31, 2011
John, Chief Engineer
Written By:
John, Chief Engineer

As explained in my last post on flow conditioning, distorted flow profile is a common problem in “real world” flowmeter applications. In some cases, customers can live with a distorted flow profile because they are using flow meters for a relative measurement of flow, rather than an absolute measurement of flow. In cases where the customer is looking […]

Read the Story

Understanding Flow Profile in the Real World


May 05, 2011
John, Chief Engineer
Written By:
John, Chief Engineer

From my experience in the field, I have seen widespread misunderstanding of the physical phenomenon of “flow profile.”  Since our industrial flow meters actually measure flow at one point, an understanding of flow profile is critical.  The average user imagines that the flow in a pipe is uniform.  This is a flawed thought, and never […]

Read the Story

Report Bug
Submit a Bug Report

Name

Email

Reproducibility (Did you try to reproduce the bug?)

Classification

Summarize the problem but be specific enough that it can be recreated.

Note: Page, browser, and OS are automatically saved