New gas smart metering technology


Tom Fryers,
Commercial Director,
Cambridge, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — August 8, 2007 – Following a successful series of tests, Cambridge development company Sentec is entering the final stage of licensing discussions to commercialize its solid state gas metering technology, Lattice.

Lattice uses the ‘time of flight’ principle to measure the volume of gas being used, marking the gas as it enters the portion of the pipe running through the meter, and measuring the time taken by the gas between two points. The gas is marked using a simple technique new to the metering sector, but commonly used in other systems, including household devices. Latest tests show compliance with the demanding standards set by the Measuring Instruments Directive, particularly a very high level of accuracy on natural gas. This is coupled with low power requirements and excellent resistance to debris or fluid in the pipe.

Sentec says the technology can be used to build gas meters at much lower cost than existing solid state meters. An affordable solid state gas meter will provide a platform for a variety of value adding features such as AMR, AMM, tamper alerts, automatic safety cut-offs, load profiling, TOU metering and displays to influence customer behaviour.

“The increasing attention given to smart metering solutions in the UK has catalysed the interest in solid state gas metering, including a developing standard,” says Tom Fryers, Sentec’s commercial director.

“We have strong interest from a number of parties and now need to hammer out the last details of our commercial arrangements.”

Heads of terms for licences are expected to be agreed by the beginning of next year.

Many European markets, including UK, the Netherlands and Italy, are examining the potential of smart metering for gas, driven by a number of factors, among them EU directives on reducing carbon emissions and the need to provide consumers with more real time information on their energy consumption, rising wholesale gas prices, requirements for higher accuracy and longer meter life, and AMR.