Thermal Mass Flow Meters for Wastewater & Biogas Applications

Biogas digesters, anaerobic wastewater treatment, landfill gas recovery, and agricultural digesters are applications that all require a flow meter to measure gas mixes. Aerobic applications, such as that commonly used in some wastewater treatment facilities, require a particular flow of air or oxygen into the wastewater to aid the aerobic process. Biogas applications are on the rise, especially in rural areas where the cost of accessing or transporting fuel can be high or time-consuming. Dairy or swine producers and landfills will use digesters to trap waste materials
in an anaerobic environment. The organic material is broken down with biogas as the resulting by-product.

Some common gases and applications:

Wastewater Applications

Fox Flow Meters for Aeration & Digesters.
Aeration & Digesters in Wastewater Treatment
The wastewater treatment industry is expected to boom in the coming years. Not only are existing facilities in desperate need of improvements or developments, rural
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areas will be developed as well. The USDA is investing $183 million in 60 water and wastewater infrastructure projects through Rural Development's Water and Environmental Program (WEP), which provides technical assistance and financing to develop drinking water and waste disposal systems for small and rural communities. The American Society of Civil Engineering estimates that $3.6 trillion by 2020 must be spent to take care of the backlog of overdue maintenance and the modernization of America’s water infrastructure.

Two of the most common methods of treating wastewater are aerobic and anaerobic treatment. These are often used as part of a multi-stage process that may also include filtration, separation, or chemical treatment.

Aerobic treatment uses the injection or diffusion of a carefully defined ratio of air or oxygen to water to create the ideal environment for microorganisms and other bacteria to thrive. The microorganisms then consume and break down the pollutants in the water. It is very important that the operators of the facility to have accurate readings of the flow of air or oxygen to the different pools or tanks in order to monitor the dissolution of the gases into the water. Inefficiencies and blockages can be located by monitoring the flow of gases in each pipe.

Anaerobic treatment uses the absence of air to allow bacteria that thrive in low-oxygen environments to feed on the waste and break it down. Biogas, or methane, is the main by-product of this process. Anaerobic digesters are used to contain the waste during this process. An outlet allows the slow release of the methane by-product to pass out of the digester to a collection unit. This methane can then be used as a fuel to power equipment at the facility or sold as a power source to consumers.

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Fox Flow Meters for Fermentation Systems.
Fermentation Systems
The principle by-product of biogas fermentation is a methane/hydrogen/carbon dioxide gas mix. The biological and chemical stages of biogas fermentation take
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place in air tight digesters. Biogas production of farmyard manure has been shown to produce an average of 0.9m³ per animal per unit per day. This gas can later be used in a combustion system or fed to a fuel cell system to generate electricity.

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Fox Flow Meters for Agricultural Waste Digesters.
Agricultural Waste (Dairy, Swine) Digesters
Dairy, beef, and swine farms are huge emitters of methane from manure produced by the animals. The agricultural industry is beginning to harness
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the biogas produced by collecting the manure from the animals and placing it into livestock manure anaerobic digesters. The amount of biogas recovered from these digesters is substantial and use of the digesters if a cost-effective investment that helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The biogas serves a dual purpose by allowing the livestock producer to use the captured methane to power equipment, generators, and other facility operations while helping the farm to maintain higher standards of hygiene.

Opportunely, livestock producers in the agricultural industry are beginning to invest in biogas recovery in order to take advantage of the many grants and financial assistance programs being offered by state and federal agencies. For instance, California’s CDFA Dairy Digester Research and Development Program (DDRDP) provides financial assistance for the installation of dairy digesters in California. This program aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions resulting from dairy farms. The EPA’s AgSTAR Biogas Recovery program is another example of a strategy used by a government organization to reduce emissions and assist the agricultural sector in achieving results.

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Fox Flow Meters for Co-Gen Power Systems.
Co-Gen Power Systems
Cogeneration, or combined heat and power (CHP), is the production of two forms of energy from one fuel source. There has been a rising interest in co-generation for
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the wastewater industry in order to have a supply of standby power for utility outages, to promote green or bio-energy from renewable sources, and the significant grants and incentives being offered by state and federal governments for green investments.

Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTP) have shown interest in building cogen facilities in the last couple of years with the most cogen facilities operating in California and Oregon.

Anaerobic digestion is the key factor in CHP potential at WWTPs because the process generates biogas containing approximately 60 percent methane. The biogas can be used as fuel for a number of purposes:
  • To fire boilers and hot water heaters needed to maintain optimal digester temperatures and provide space heating.
  • To generate electricity to operate pumps and blowers used throughout the treatment process.
  • To generate electricity using equipment such as microturbines for onsite use and/or to sell back to the grid.
Anaerobic digestion produces biogas on a continuous basis, allowing for constant electricity production. Internal process heat used for the digesting process represents the most common use of wastewater treatment methane, but great potential exists for facilities to use the generated biogas for CHP applications.

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Fox Flow Meters for Landfill Gas Recovery.
Landfill Gas Recovery
Landfill Gas (LFG) is created when organic waste in a municipal solid waste landfill decomposes. The gas composition of the produced biogas is typically
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>> 50/50 methane to carbon dioxide. LFG can be captured in large digesters, converted, and used as an energy source. The EPA estimates that 400 landfills could produce enough electricity to power nearly 473,000 homes.

The benefits to capturing LFG are numerous. Gases produced by the landfill would be trapped and isolated from the atmosphere, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. More importantly, use of LFG to power landfill facility needs and equipment reduces the need of the landfill facility to procure fossil fuels for equipment or utilize power from local utilities. The biogas allows the facility to operate almost completely self-contained and offsets the need for non-renewable resources such as coal and oil. Furthermore, by containing LFG from the atmosphere, it diminishes the threat of explosions and unpleasant odors for surrounding communities thus increasing the well-being of local citizens.

To comply with the EPA Clean Air Act, landfill owners can either burn off excess gas by flaring it, or install an LFG energy system. Beneficial use of LFG is the only option that offers communities and landfill owners the opportunity to reduce the costs associated with regulatory compliance by turning this landfill byproduct into a marketable resource. In fact, local utilities and power providers often opt to purchase the electricity generated from the recovered LFG. By purchasing the electricity derived from LFG, the utility or power provider is able to add a renewable energy component to their energy portfolio.

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Flowmeters

FT1 Flow Meter for Biogas Applications.
Biogas Flow Meters
Biogas often has a changing gas composition. The Model FT1 allows the user to choose the gas concentration levels to be measured in the field, at the push of a button. View Product Info >>
FT2A Flow Meter for Oxygen and Air Applications.
Oxygen and Air Flow Meters
The aeration diffusion ratio is the most important recipe for success in aerobic wastewater treatment. Choose an accurate gas measurement device from Fox. View Product Info >>
FT3 Flow Meter for Methane and Flare Applications.
Methane and Flare Flow Meters
After biogas has been conditioned methane and the carbon dioxide or other by-product gases are separated, measure the flow of these gases with a Fox flow meter. View Product Info >>
FT1 Flow Meter for Natural Gas Applications.
Natural Gas Flow Meters
Natural gas is a common fuel gas sub-metered to buildings at large wastewater treatment facilities or in the agricultural sector. Choose a rugged, accurate flow meter. View Product Info >>

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