Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What outdated technology does GasPT and VE Technology replace?

A: Examples of older technologies that Orbital’s products and systems replace are gas-chromatography, issue-prone sample probes and thermowells. Clients are now seeing and appreciating measurement in a different way. For example, GasPT gives the operator everything needed to calculate CV, BTU, Wobbe, RD and methane number. However, GasPT gives these results in an alternative, more efficient and more effective manner to the typical chromatograph.

Q: What is GasPTi and how does it work alongside the other Orbital technologies?

A: Orbital’s integrated GasPTi solution combines GasPT and VE Technology – providing gas sampling and analysis through continuous measurement, requiring no carrier or calibration gases or maintenance.

VE Technology uses specialized sampling probes that eliminate vortex shedding and minimize flow disturbance to take smaller, more consistent samples that reach the analyser faster. This process removes hazardous and deleterious contamination, which allows for a cleaner sample that improves response, enhances accuracy, decreases costs and reduces waste.

GasPT technology measures and analyses the VE gathered samples, measuring thermal conductivity, speed of sound, CO2, pressure and temperature in the natural gas, giving a composition that is used to calculate the calorific value and other physical properties needed to control your system, to industry standards. Only the GasPTi utilizing VE Technology can exploit the full potential of the GasPT capabilities.

Q: Specifically, how do Orbital’s technologies improve upon these outdated technologies?

A: Unlike traditional technologies, GasPT is capable of providing near real time and continuous analysis, enhancing sampling frequency and removing uncertainty. It provides the lowest operational cost of any equivalent instrument; there are no ongoing maintenance or OPEX costs, and it can be installed in hours rather than days. No utility or carrier gas is required and no ongoing calibration is required. Additionally, virtually no maintenance, configuration or set-up is required; this is a ‘plug-and-play’ system, and no highly skilled personnel need to be employed for day-to-day operation of the GasPT. By day one of operation, users are already experiencing the benefits of this new technology, and the savings in time and money continue ever after.

With VE Technology, an entirely new sampling concept has been developed to resolve the chronic issues commonly experienced with such equipment, comprising a number of unique sampling innovations. Patented helical strakes on the sampling probe eliminate vortex shedding and the need for wake calculations, and a patented, aerodynamic probe tip ensures particulate is actively rejected to minimize filtration and avoid contamination of samples. The sample is always taken from the central third of the pipeline in practically any application. Reduced internal volume, with all surfaces electropolished (and coated when required) are featured for optimum response. Gas is preheated in the VE Conditioning Unit to avoid retrograde condensation due to the Joule Thomson effect. All components and other flow disturbing elements are removed from the sample pathway. Easy validation and backflush are built into the sampling probe and system. By taking a smaller, cleaner sample, VE Technology improves response, enhances accuracy, increases safety, decreases cost and reduces wastage.

GasPT and VE Technology impact the industry through offering faster, more efficient and cleaner measurement without ongoing maintenance or OPEX costs. Both technologies are built on sound scientific and engineering principles, and are proven in the field.

Q: What are Orbital’s BioMethane solutions?

A: Orbital’s BioMethane systems provide gas monitoring and treatment plants designed specifically for production facilities generating BioMethane for injection into existing gas networks.

Orbital has a long history in the control of BioMethane, (or renewable natural gas) to grid, and designed, built and commissioned the very first UK BioMethane-To-Grid system. Orbital successfully designed a durable and cost-effective solution to take methane from the anaerobic digestion of waste, condition and monitor it and inject the resulting transmission quality gas into a pipeline. This was shortly followed by a number of high profile projects ramping up the scale and potential of this future-proof energy source.

Today, Orbital’s BioMethane systems range from basic monitoring through complete “flange-to-flange” solutions.

Q: What major financial benefits result from the use of Orbital’s technologies?

A: Cost savings are observed in both CAPEX and ongoing OPEX. The accuracy of measurement through sample and analysis is improved, installation times are reduced and project footprint is drastically reduced. There is no need for investment into ongoing associated personnel costs, as all of Orbital’s technologies are designed to be inherently low or zero maintenance.

By utilizing Orbital’s IRIS system, the largest natural gas pipeline operator within the UK has saved over £50,000 in OPEX in a single year due to unique nature of the IRIS software allowing “on-line” modifications.  This allowed the operator to modify their process operations without the need for expensive and time consuming non-routine operation procedures being written and safety resources being required on site.

In metering applications, where the required instrumentation acts as a ‘cash register’ for gas owners and where traditional chromatography leaves huge gaps in data, Orbital’s GasPTi can earn or save significant amounts.

Q: Is a large investment involved in moving over to using this equipment?

A: Generally, our equipment will fit seamlessly into existing site process equipment with little or no need for large-scale investment.  Furthermore, our innovative and proven technologies will provide a quick return on any investment.

Q: Who is investing in Orbital’s technology?

A: Some of the world’s largest natural gas industry leaders, including pipeline operators, LNG exporters and importers, turbine manufacturers and users, and even large industrial users of gas are all seeing the benefits of employing Orbital’s technologies to improve speed, accuracy and reliability of gas quality measurements and save time and money in their operations.

Q: What hesitations have you encountered to using your technologies? 

A: Any hesitations we have encountered from clients are due to an initial misunderstanding of Orbital’s modern technology. For GasPT, inferential analysis has not traditionally been the preferred measurement method despite international standards now accepting their merit. Operators, to date, have typically preferred chromatography, as it has been the only method available for more than 60 years. But times are changing and technology has evolved. GasPT has demonstrated impressive results to date, and is witnessing considerable industry buy-in throughout Europe.

Orbital’s VE Technology probes do not require wake frequency calculations. However, many applications do in fact require these calculations. In fact, VE probes eliminate vortices; therefore these calculations are no longer necessary, which is a time and money saving leap forward for process and design engineers all over the world.

Q: Is Orbital’s sole business the design and manufacture of these technologies?

A: No. Orbital delivers innovative gas solutions for focused accuracy and this means ensuring immediate access to critical information when our clients need it. Orbital delivers either standardized or custom-built supervisory control and automation equipment for various applications in the fields of gas measurement, analysis, telemetry, emission monitoring, SCADA and DCS.

Orbital’s team of engineers and service employees have the experience and the knowledge to provide a customized solution, whatever a client’s needs including conducting research and development, conceptual design, FEED and construction management. We can introduce a supervisory system to compliment one of our own solutions, or a system not supplied by Orbital.

Q: What are the biggest impacts Orbital’s GasPT® and VE Technology® have made in gas measurement?

A: Orbital’s GasPT or “Gas Properties Transmitter,” is an online analyser that combines innovative use of proven technology with industry proven analytical experience and represents an industry breakthrough in gas measurement. It has eliminated the anachronisms found in traditional gas properties analysers.

VE Technology is a sampling system that simply does the job better than ever before. It is a unique system designed to deliver a fast, accurate and truly representative sample to any analyser. VE Technology is the only system able to safely and effectively sample trace elements to sub ppm levels including mercury, moisture, H2S, ammonia, siloxanes etc.

Orbital’s technologies change the landscape of natural gas metering and process control by allowing operators to know the accurate calorific value and other characteristics of their gas, instantly.