Research being carried out under the NEL/Coventry University EngD programme is developing an innovative virtual metering approach designed to measure all parts of a flow system in real time and dramatically reduce metering costs.
“I started the initial work on this project in 2017 and essential testing has been completed to ensure that the concept on which the research is based will work,” says Water Facility Technical Lead, Damian Krakowiak, who is undertaking the study.
Damian’s research focuses on the development of a condition-based Virtual Metering System for estimating flow rates without using a physical flow meter. He is aiming to develop multiple dynamic statistical models to predict flow rates by taking advantage of the instrumentation already installed in a system.
“We have started testing a choke valve in our multiphase flow facility,” Damian explains. “Almost all Christmas Tree assemblies used in the oil and gas industry have choke valves to regulate pressure and protect machinery. I will be investigating whether you can use the values of factors such as flow rates and pressure drops at this valve as inputs to a virtual metering system.”
The project aims to improve the overall accuracy of virtual metering systems, which typically offer an uncertainty of 5-10%. It also aims to help with preventive maintenance.
“If this approach works, then companies won’t have to install additional expensive multiphase meters in their systems,” Damian says. “In addition, the approach should make it possible to see system failures as they develop. This will enhance maintenance.”
Damian hopes that NEL will be able to sell the software to run the Virtual Metering System once it is developed and that it will also be able to validate such systems if they become popular.
The four-year Engineering Doctorate (EngD) that Damian is following is supported by in-house experts from Coventry University and NEL.