Thermal-Mass Modules for Smart Gas Meters
Sensirion gas meter modules are based on the thermal-mass measurement principle, which is to date the best technology to measure flow and is used in high volumes in a wide range of demanding key-applications in automotive, medical, and industrial end markets. Sensirion’s success is based on the proven CMOSens® technology, which combines the sensor and analysis electronics in a single semiconductor chip: this technology provides excellent sensing performance and robustness at ultra-low power consumption and attractive costs. Sensirion’s gas meter modules are perfectly suited for both residential and industrial applications (covering G1.6 to G25 flow ranges).
- Proven by over 6 millions of meters in the field and billions of metering hours.
- Output: volume flow referred to standard temperature and pressure (standard m3/h): no need for an external volume conversion device
- Certified for natural gas type H, L, E and H2 blends, compatible with biomethane
MID accuracy class 1.5
- Evaluation certification: EN 14236 and OIML R 137
- Long-term reliability and stability proven by independent laboratory tests after up to over 10 years of field Installation
- H2 index (%) measurement
- Ultra-low power consumption and contamination resistant
- Very compact size with no moving parts and noiseless Operation
- Zero offset, no drift
- Self-diagnostic, anti-tampering and grid analytics capabilities
- Foundation for future implementation of energy content monitoring of natural gas
Thermal-mass Measurement Principle
At the heart of every Sensirion gas meter module is a MEMS-based calorimetric micro sensor, which measures the flow of natural gas using the thermal measurement principle. The sensor element is located on a membrane and consists of a micro-heater and upstream and downstream temperature sensors. The gas flow over the membrane causes a heat transfer to the temperature sensor positioned downstream, and as a result of the temperature difference creates a precisely measurable signal. The sensor element is integrated with the signal conditioning electronics, including memory for calibration data, on a single CMOSens® chip.
Author: Konrad Domanski, Product Manager Gas Flow Systems, Sensirion
Thermal-mass technology is a proven means for measuring the flow of gasses and liquids. The recent technological advances and miniaturization have enabled the use of the technology for high-volume, cost-sensitive applications such as natural gas metering. Two studies published in 2021 now also confirm the long-term reliability of this technology for applications in harsh environments. The studies investigated thermal-mass gas meters following operation in the field for up to over 10 years. They concluded that all meters were operating well within the accuracy limits prescribed during service and that the majority of meters still fulfilled the requirements for brand-new gas meters. Coupled with the release of a dedicated European standard in 2021 (EN 17526), thermal gas technology is therefore a cost-effective, proven and reliable solution for gas metering that is already powering millions of gas meters worldwide. Additionally, it offers extensive self- and network-diagnostic capabilities and is ready for a wide range of natural gas compositions including hydrogen blends and pure hydrogen.
Thermal-mass gas metering: Proven for years, certified for the future
In this webinar, our expert Konrad Domanski, Product Manager for gas flow systems, talks about the use of thermal-mass technology for gas metering. The highlighted topics include the upcoming European standard for thermal-mass gas metering, presentation of long-time (>10 year) field reliability studies of thermal-mass gas meters and the future of gas metering.
The presentation is followed by a round table discussion and Q&A session with four experts involved in different aspects of gas meters: Francesco Rampazzo (SIT), Jim Shields (Secure Meters), Henri Shouten (NMi) and Mark Hornung (Sensirion).
What you can learn from this webinar?
- Learn about the use of thermal-mass technology in gas metering
- Hear about the upcoming EN 17526 standard for thermal-mass gas meters
- Get a direct contact for personal discussions
Ready for Hydrogen with Sensirion
Climate neutrality, sustainability and the reduction of CO2 emissions are now global trends. The decarbonization of the energy sector plays an important role, as this sector contributes significantly to CO2 emissions. A promising strategy here is the use of renewable gases such as biogas or sustainably produced hydrogen gas, or that of admixtures of renewable gases with natural gas. Thanks to its versatility, hydrogen is a particularly promising candidate for supporting decarbonization efforts, with great potential for the future.
Using hydrogen for energy storage and distribution requires some adaption of the existing gas infrastructure and close monitoring for safety and performance reasons. The required flexibility in the gas composition poses a major challenge to the industry if the infrastructure is to run optimally and efficiently. Sensirion’s sensor technology can handle this broad requirement and is thus an ideal solution for your future products.
Choose Sensirion as your technology provider to ensure you are ready for an H2 future. Thanks to our broad sensor portfolio and technology know-how, we are your ideal partner for handling the complex developments in technology and regulations. Learn more about Sensirion's sensor solutions for hydrogen measuring.
And read our technical article. There we examine the metrological behavior of the thermal-mass measurement principle for gas meters operating with natural gas mixtures containing significant amounts of hydrogen. We present measurement data, discuss measurement accuracy and operational safety, and explain why the compact size of thermal-mass gas meters can be maintained regardless of the hydrogen admixtures, which is a key advantage compared to other meter technologies.
Thermal-Mass Gas Metering Technology - Key Features
Certified for H, L, E Gases and H2 blends
Sensirion thermal-mass technology measures the volume flow of natural gas and achieves MID accuracy class 1.5. It is certified according OIML R 137 and EN 14236 for natural gas, types H, L and E, as well as natural gas blends with up to 23% H2 (e.g. limit gas G222).
Ready for Hydrogen and Biomethane
Sensirion’s measurement technology is ideally suited to measuring hydrogen-containing gases at any concentration (including 100% H2) and biomethane with high CO2 content. Our products are ready for the diversification of gas quality in the network.
Sensirion thermal-mass technology is in use in millions of gas meters worldwide and has a track record of billions of hours of reliable gas metering in the field.
Long-term reliability and stability
Meters relying on thermal-mass technology are very reliable and stable over time. Verification measurements conducted by independent laboratories show that gas meters with Sensirion technology continue to measure well within the required specifications even after over ten years of operation.
Dust and contamination resistance is ensured by a sophisticated and patented design of Sensirion gas meter modules and is certified according to EN 14236.
Static Technology and Compact Size
The thermal-mass sensing principle is a static metering technology with noiseless operation and no wear of mechanical parts (no moving parts). Furthermore, the thermal-mass flow modules allow compact and thus cost-efficient gas meter products for easy installation in the field.
Sensirion thermal-mass flow modules bring the best-in-class technology to a cost-effective solution. Thanks to Sensirion’s proven CMOSens® Technology, our products rely on economies of scale and are better suited to high volume applications than any other MID-approved metering technology, including ultrasonic solutions.
Ultra-low Power Consumption
Sensirion thermal-mass technology is characterized by very low power consumption in gas metering applications, thus allowing the use of compact and affordable batteries in gas meters. Smart meters with thermal-mass modules are autonomous for >15 years with a C-sized battery.
Grid Analytics & Anti-Tampering
Sensirion thermal-mass technology enables gas meters with innovative smart features, such as gas meter self-diagnostics and network monitoring. It also enables detection of tampering (i.e. air inside gas meter) and provides complementary temperature and pressure outputs.
Complete Design-In Solution
Sensirion is the first and only company in the industry to offer a Complete Design-In Solution from a single source, which helps customers to integrate the certified standard products SGM63xx into gas meter products in a fast and easy way.
The company's support package ranges from evaluation certification of the sensor modules to a partner network for gas meter components. Furthermore, Sensirion offers its customers detailed documentation on how to mechanically integrate the sensor module into a gas meter product and provides an electronic reference design for easy implementation and verification of the sensor-relevant firmware.
Make use of the Sensirion evaluation certificate to gain MID approval faster and more easily for gas meter products that use Sensirion gas meter modules as the core metrological unit.
Electronic Reference Design
Use the Sensirion electronic board, including sample code, as a reference during implementation of the sensor-relevant firmware code for a microthermal gas meter.
Integrate Sensirion gas meter modules into gas meter products quickly and efficiently, thanks to the comprehensive documentation.
Perform a basic technology evaluation of Sensirion’s thermal-mass gas modules using the convenient evaluation kit, including readout software.
Benchtop Measurement Set-Up
Perform flow characterization of Sensirion gas meter modules with Sensirion’s compact R&D benchtop set-up for flow measurement.
Benefit from Sensirion’s network in the gas meter component industry.
Sensirion's Gas Meter Modules win Smart Energy Innovation Award
Sensirion has won the Smart Metering Innovation Award at the 8th European Smart Energy and Utility Summit 2017. The jury recognized Sensirion for revolutionizing and moving forward the industry of gas metering with its innovative gas meter modules, based on the thermal-mass technology. Read the complete press release.
Evaluation Certification according to EN 14236 and OIML R 137
Sensirion's gas meter modules have achieved an evaluation certfication in accordance with the harmonized standard EN 14236 and the normative document OIML R 137 for natural gas, types H, L, E, as well as natural gas blends with up to 23%. The evaluation certificate was issued by NMi, one of the leading notified bodies in Europe for type approval examination and certification of measuring instruments. This evaluation certificate makes it easier and faster for gas meter manufacturers to obtain MID approval for gas meters that use Sensirion thermal-mass gas meter modules as core metrological unit.