So, you are starting a new project and have been asked to specify a hydrocarbon dew point analyzer. What operational parameters should you consider?
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GC-Based Analysis Limitations in Field Applications
Utilizing GC-based analysis and software packages theoretically presents an option in controlled laboratory environments for hydrocarbon dew point determination. However, the practicality of this approach in field applications is limited. For deeper insights, refer to the technical note titled "The Fallacy of Calculating Hydrocarbon Dew Point" available on the Technical Resources page.
Comprehensive Specifications: Essential Parameters for a Hydrocarbon Dew Point Analyzer
For an accurate specification you need to specify 10 different parameters as follows. Some are self explanatory, some need more explanation. We will go through each item in the next section.
Method of detection
Maximum cooling range without the use of external or addition coolers
Maximum operating temperature
Maximum operating pressure
Data logging capabilities
Hazardous Area Certification
These factors should be considered when choosing a hydrocarbon dew point analyzer.
10 Key Parameters for Specifying a Hydrocarbon Dew Point Analyzer
Each facet plays a crucial role in ensuring the accuracy, reliability, and suitability of the analyzer for precise gas analysis. Let's dive into the essential parameters that define the capabilities and performance of these instruments.
1. Method of Detection:
Understanding how the instrument detects condensation is vital. This is the key specification. Patented CEIRS™ (chilled-mirror Evanescent IR Spectroscopy) represents a major leap in accuracy, combining chilled-mirror concepts with IR spectroscopy for unparalleled reliability. Older light-scattering methods may not meet the precision required for gas analysis. This is the only method that can distinguish between a hydrocarbon, moisture dew point, and/or other potential interferences.
2. Mirror Material:
The choice of mirror material significantly impacts maintenance. While metals have been traditionally used, choosing an inert optical material mitigates reactions with gas components, reducing the need for frequent cleaning or replacement, common with metallic mirrors. Make sure the specification calls for a mirror material that is inert to acids.
3. Maximum Cooling Range:
This parameter determines the analyzer's temperature difference from ambient conditions without relying on supplemental cooling mechanisms. A wider native cooling range ensures consistent and reliable performance. Optimally, you should at least specify a 60 C (108 F) delta. Or higher. This would mean that the mirror can be cooled to below 60 C (108 F) from the ambient.
4. Maximum Operating Temperature:
Knowing the upper ambient limit helps assess the analyzer's viability in extreme environmental conditions, ensuring optimal functionality. In some installations, the ambient temperature may hit 50 C (122 F) or higher. In some other installations, due to the high dew point, a heated-enclosure may be used. It is best to at least specify a max 60 C (140 F) temperature.
5. Maximum Operating Pressure:
This parameter indicates the analyzer's ability to withstand gas pressure. It's critical for safety and operational stability, especially in scenarios where unexpected pressure variations might occur. Given the various pressures that may be encountered in gas operations, at least 100 bar or 1500 psi should be specified.
6. Communication Protocols:
Understanding and specifying required communication interfaces, such as analog/digital outputs, Ethernet connectivity, and alarm connections, ensures seamless integration with existing systems.
Common communication protocols are analog outputs, digital outputs, RS-232, RS-485, or TCP/IP. MODBUS compatibility should be considered and specified as needed,
It is also best to plan for the future. You may initially only use an analog output, but as all industries move to digital connectivity, you may want to specify them.
7. Communication Software:
Deciding whether custom user interface software is necessary, considering cybersecurity, and opting for browser-based interfaces simplify system integration without additional software installations.
8. Data Logging Capabilities:
Specifying data logging requirements in terms of duration, accessibility, and storage capacity ensures proper data management aligned with project needs.
9. Power Requirements:
Understanding power needs in terms of type (AC/DC), voltage range, and average/peak power consumption streamlines integration and ensures consistent operation.
10. Hazardous Area Certification:
Compliance with local regulations for hazardous area certifications is imperative. It ensures the analyzer is safe and suitable for installation in designated hazardous zones.
Conclusion: Empowered Decision-Making
Understanding these factors empowers professionals in selecting the most suitable instrumentation for accurate gas analysis. For an in-depth discussion, check the article titled "How to specify a Hydrocarbon Dew Point Analyzer" on the Technical Resources page.
Thus, equip yourself with the knowledge to make informed decisions when selecting a hydrocarbon dew point analyzer. Your understanding of these essential parameters will pave the way for accurate, reliable, and tailored gas analysis solutions for your project needs.