Next Generation Visualisation & Metering Technology for Multi-phase Flows

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Inst of Particle Science & Engineering

Abstract

The principal aim of the research proposal is to develop a next generation multi-phase flow instrument to non-invasively measure the phase flow rates, and rapidly image the flow-field distributions, of complex, unsteady two- or three-phase flows. The proposed research is multi-disciplinary covering aspects of fluid mechanics modelling, sensor material selection and flow metering, process tomography and multi-variable data fusion. The new instrument will be based on the novel concepts of 3D vector Electrical Impedance Tomography (EIT) and the Electromagnetic Velocity Profiler (EVP). These will be used in conjunction with auxiliary differential-pressure measurements for flow density and total flow rate. It is our intention to be able to measure the volumetric flow rate, image time-dependent distributions of the local axial velocity and volume fraction of the dispersed and continuous phases, visualise flow patterns and provide an alternative measurement of volumetric flow rates in two and three phase flows. The project draws upon several recent advances in EIT technology made by the proposers' research teams. Together these potentially enable the development of an advanced flow meter intended to address some limitations of current multiphase flow meters, leading to improvements of the management of productivity in many industrial sectors such as petroleum, petrochemical, food, nuclear and mineral processing. Within the scope of this research, only flows with a conductive continuous liquid phase will be targeted. We will make use of advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) protocols for independent non-invasive validation of both the phase volume fraction and velocity distribution measurements. It is intended that the project will pave the way for the manufacturing of a next generation of advanced multi-phase flow measurement and rapid visualisation technologies.

Planned Impact

The flow consortium of the project consists of three industries and the three academic partners. Schlumberger is both a manufacturer and an end user of multiphase flow meters for oil-gas well testing and production monitoring, and ITS is a manufacturer for electrical impedance tomography systems. This will ensure that a successful outcome of the project will be effectively transferred to instrumentation industries, then further developed and deployed to best serve the UK's oil-gas industry and enhance its competitiveness. NEL seeks to advance the industry knowledge on multiphase flow, as a precursor to developing future business from consultancy, joint industry projects and facility based research. The funding will thus bring six partners with complementary skills in the UK together to carry out this innovative R&D project in advanced multiphase flow metering. The funding will also enable the universities' staff members to carry out conceptal and/or applied research with access to necessary expertise, facilities and equipment at SCR, NEL and ITS, to advance their research on the science of multiphase flow dynamics, flow instrumentation and tomographic imaging, as well as to disseminate the R&D results. The benefits to the academic partners of the project will be immediate, with funding for several talented postdoctoral researchers and PhD students working on the new multidisciplinary concepts of 3D vector Electrical Impedance Tomography (EIT), Electromagnetic Velocity Profiler (EVP) and Advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for the proposed new multiphase metering instrument - work which will also enrich science and extend the boundaries of engineering. The output of the research, a new generation of multiphase flow visualisation and metering technologies, will provide a new research platform and methodology to both academics and industries for solving known and new challenges in the discipline of multiphase flow which may evoke many new findings and novel solutions. A successful project completion will improve university partners' reputations and track records and the breadth of their research portfolios, and hence will enable them to attract further funding and recruit good research students and research fellows in the future. Following the successful outcome of the project, significant economic and sustainability benefits are expected to those outside the consortium. After commercialisation of the potential new multiphase flowmeter, oil-gas operators in the UK North Sea and elsewhere will benefit from the services and flowmeter sales in oil-gas well exploration and production testing, production monitoring, artificial lift optimisation, fiscal allocation, flow assurance and reservoir management. The project will be managed by the project consortium, chaired by Professor M Wang at University of Leeds (UL), and comprising the University of Huddersfield (UH), the University of Cambridge (UC), Schlumberger Cambridge Research (SCR), National Engineering laboratory (NEL) and Industrial Tomography Systems (ITS). The members of the consortium have a history of successful collaborations, which resulted in a successful commercialisation via knowledge transfer, e.g. The Z8000 Fast EIT System commercialised by ITS in 2009 was based on outcomes of a joint EPSRC project conducted by the consortium members. All parties of the consortium have already signed a confidentiality agreement in advance of the submission. Arrangements on IP protection and management will be made at the start of the project. Knowledge transfer and commercialisation will be addressed on a case-by-case basis but is likely to involve the drawing down of venture capital to fund growth of the participating instrumentation companies and establishment of appropriate linkages with industry participants to access specific application areas and export markets, which include oil-gas and nuclear industrial sectors.
 
Description A new and green method for visualisation and measurement for complex multiphase flow (VMMF) in industries has been developed. VMMF is a new multiphase flow instrument designed to non-invasively measure the phase flow rates and rapidly image the flow distributions of two- and three-phase flows. The research prototype is based on the novel concepts of combining vector Electrical Impedance Tomography (EIT) sensor with an electromagnetic flow meter and a gradiomanometer flow-mixture density meter (FDM), in addition to on-line water conductivity, temperature and absolute pressure measurements. EIT-EMF-FDM data fusion embedded in the research prototype includes online calibration of reference conductivity and online compensation of conductivity change due to the change of fluids' temperature or ionic concentration. The performance of VMMF covers all vertical flows with a conductive continuous liquid phase. It is expected that the technology can be widely applied to many industrial for 2-phase flow metering and 3-phase flow management.
Exploitation Route to establish a Joint venue to explore IPs, dissemination via publication and workshop
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Energy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

URL http://www.leeds.ac.uk/olil/
 
Description publications, books and presentation/lecture to other institutions. The licences of patents are currently under signing-off for coccercialisation.
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Energy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology
Impact Types Economic

 
Description ENG58-REG2
Amount £110,000 (GBP)
Funding ID ENG58-REG2 
Organisation European Metrology Research Program (EMRP) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2014 
End 01/2016
 
Description ENG58-REG3
Amount £120,000 (GBP)
Funding ID ENG58-REG3 
Organisation European Metrology Research Program (EMRP) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2014 
End 11/2015
 
Description EPSRC
Amount £164,636 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/I006095/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2010 
End 11/2011
 
Description Flow facility grant
Amount £15,400 (GBP)
Organisation ITS United Kingdom 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2012 
End 09/2013
 
Description IAA
Amount £95,297 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2013 
End 10/2014
 
Description IAA proof of concept: multiphase flow meter
Amount £50,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 13006A/B 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2016 
End 03/2017
 
Description KTP
Amount £140,000 (GBP)
Organisation Knowledge Transfer Partnerships 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2015 
End 02/2017
 
Description LEEDS/EPSRC
Amount £40,000 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Department Knowledge Transfer Secondments (KTS)
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2011 
End 05/2012
 
Description Open Research Grant
Amount £10,000 (GBP)
Organisation State Key Laboratory of Oil and Gas Reservoir Geology and Exploitation 
Sector Academic/University
Country China
Start 11/2012 
End 11/2015
 
Description Space
Amount £60,000 (GBP)
Organisation Airbus Group 
Sector Private
Country France
Start 02/2014 
End 09/2014
 
Title EIT Data Processing System & methods 
Description Fast imaging rate at 1000 dual-images per second 
IP Reference PCT/GB04/003670, GB2422676, US 10/570,054 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2007
Licensed Yes
Impact To handle industrial multiphase flows. The advantages are not only at the flow visualisation with high temporal resolution but provide the velocity distribution/profile for rapid flow
 
Title Electrical Tomography Apparatus and Method and Current Driver 
Description EIT system for highly conductive medium 
IP Reference WO 2010/150009, PCT/GB2010/051035 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2010
Licensed Yes
Impact New capability to process tomography form handling multiphase flow with high conductive liquid, e.g. sea water
 
Title Electrical impedance tomography 
Description new method and device of process tomography for metal-walled vessel 
IP Reference WO 95/24155, PCT/GB95/00520 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2006
Licensed Yes
Impact Conventional electrical tomography is only applicable for non-conductive walled vessel due to the shutting effect on electric current. The invention is make the electrical tomography working on metal walled vessel and practically extend the boundary of technology to wide industrial applications.
 
Title Three-phase flow measurement 
Description A method in combination of electrical tomography, electrical magnetic flow meter and Venturial differential pressure flow meter to measure gas, oil in water three-phase flow 
IP Reference PCT/GB2007/003336 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2007
Licensed No
Impact Oil and gas sector in industrial
 
Title Tomography Apparatus and Method 
Description New concepts and methods 
IP Reference GB1416280.4 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2014
Licensed No
Impact greatly enhance imaging speed
 
Title Tomography Apparatus, Multi-Phase Flow Monitoring System, and corresponding Methods 
Description A "green" technology for multiphase flow measurement and visualisation 
IP Reference GB1416287.9 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2014
Licensed No
Impact A "green" technology for multiphase flow measurement and visualisation
 
Title 4. BM3DET Software for 3D visualisation of 2 phase flows in pipelines with bubble mapping 
Description A novel, user friendly software package that provides a platform for any industry interested in three dimensional visualisation of multiphase flows based on tomographic or CFD simulated flow. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact An new dimensional visualisation 
 
Title GOWET Software for visualisation of 3 phase flows in pipelines 
Description - A novel, user friendly software package that provides a platform for any industry interested in multiphase flows to quickly, accurately and easily interpret data for downstream process optim 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact New dimensional visualisation 
 
Title V5r tomography 
Description to provide the interface to operate the relevant tomography system developed at Leeds 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2010 
Impact User's interface and graphic interface 
 
Title Z8000 tomography 
Description To operate the fast system developed at Leeds and provide user's interface to acquired date, reconstructed and process tomographic images 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2008 
Impact To operate the fast system developed at Leeds and provide user's interface to acquired date, reconstructed and process tomographic images