Ecomondo Crowds Charmed by Finnish Firms Technology

Biogas Producers Finding Success with Vaisala’s In-Line Humidity Measurement

At this year’s Ecomondo exhibition, taking place this week in Rimini, Finnish firm Vaisala took the opportunity to outline how some of its customers are benefiting from In-line humidity measurement for their biogas operations.

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At this year’s Ecomondo exhibition, taking place this week in Rimini, Finnish firm Vaisala took the opportunity to outline how some of its customers are benefiting from In-line humidity measurement for their biogas operations.

For biogas producers, keeping the process stable while making sure that combined heat and power (CHP) engines and active carbon filters work smoothly is just one of the challenges they have to face. According to Vaisala, In-line humidity measurement can help answer these challenges – and make biogas production more profitable.

There are three main benefits of measuring humidity in your biogas production process:

  • Measuring humidity and getting reliable data that you can trust gives you a more complete picture of biogas quality. In order to calculate methane volume, for example, you need to know the humidity levels.
  • Reduced CHP engine maintenance and downtime by getting accurate humidity readings directly from the gas line through continuous in-line monitoring and by adjusting the water removal accordingly
  • Reduces need to change the active carbon filters.

One of the first companies to investigate the potential of combined humidity, methane, and carbon dioxide measurement was the gas engine specialist CooperÖstlund. Kyle Kirby, Technical Director at CooperÖstlund, explains:

“Process optimisation is a key feature of the service that we deliver, so we were keen to evaluate the potential offered by this new technology. To do this we deployed a multigas probe at one of our customer sites in the UK.”

The probe was installed to check whether moisture was being removed from the biogas produced by the plant. This not only validated that the gas chillers were operating successfully but also ensured that the business maintained a consistently high quality of biogas, which is used in on-site CHP and gas-to-grid processes.

Another company familiar with the benefits of optical in-line humidity measurement is Sarlin, a Finnish engineering company.

In a recent webinar, Sarlin’s Product Group Manager Lauri Valovirta recommended keeping operating costs down by running the CHP engine with full-load 24/7. This is possible when you continuously monitor the levels of humidity and hydrogen sulfide in the biogas and prevent them from reaching and damaging the engine.

Challenging what’s possible
With an in-house cleanroom for microchip manufacturing, Vaisala said that it wants to ensure measurement accuracy, stability, and response time, along with many other benefits, to help it customers reach their goals.

Applying humidity measurement to biogas process lines required a new approach. Luckily, Vaisala’s optical CARBOCAP® technology was already available, although it was previously applied only to carbon dioxide measurement.

Finding the right wavelength for water and methane measurement and ensuring safe in-line installation into a hazardous environment enabled the company to develop the world’s first multigas measurement instrument MGP261 for in-line methane, carbon dioxide, and humidity measurements.

“The better you can monitor your entire process and react to changes in the gas composition and humidity, the more efficient the biogas plant becomes,” explained Vaisala Product Manager Antti Heikkilä.

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