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Meeting the challenge of portable moisture measurements

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

If you’re a user of moisture analysers, you’ve probably experienced challenges in performing a quick, accurate measurement using a portable instrument. Portable moisture analysers are typically used to verify the moisture reading of a fixed-installation instrument or to conduct spot-sampling measurements at remote sites which lack a permanently installed device.

In AMETEK Process Instruments’ experience performing portable measurements, there are several common obstacles a user may encounter:
  • Performing the measurement in a timely manner.
  • Ensuring an accurate reading, particularly when comparing against a fixed-installation analyser.
  • Delivering a representative process sample to the analyser.
  • Conducting a safe, reliable analysis while recording measurements.

While several moisture measurement technologies are available, tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy (TDLAS), using laser light to detect the moisture content in natural gas, has increasingly been the technology-of-choice for users looking for both accuracy and rapid speed-of-response to changing moisture conditions.

TDLAS-based analysers scan at very precise wavelengths, eliminating or reducing measurement interferences from any glycol or methanol that may be present in the sample – both of which are increasingly being used throughout natural gas operations and transportation networks. AMETEK Process Instruments recently introduced the 5100P, which brings TDLAS technology to a portable package, addressing these challenges.

A user needs an analyser that will respond quickly to changes in the moisture content. The portable instrument may be sitting in the instrument technician’s office overnight and be ‘wet’ relative to the moisture content in the process when first used. The 5100P delivers the rapid speed-of-response to both wet-up and dry-down conditions that users have come to expect from TDLAS-based analysers. The analyser features an integrated sample conditioning system and electronics in a single package. A user connects the sample gas to the analyser, and the sample panel includes pressure regulation, filtration, and flow control to deliver a representative sample to the measurement cell.

Designed with the user in mind, the 5100P is certified for Class I, Division 2 and ATEX/IECEx Zone 2 hazardous areas, so a user can bring the analyser to the gas vs bringing the gas to a general-purpose location. The 5100P, weighing less than 30 lb and able to operate for over 8 hours on a single charge, can be easily handled by a single person. For longer distance transportation, the 5100P can be stored in its transport case. The internal data logger allows a user to store moisture measurements for download via USB when back in the office.

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