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Velocity Meters Part III – Vortex Flow Meters for Gas

by | on | in Measurement and Control of Natural Gas | 1 Comment

Continuing our series on gas flow meters, earlier we discussed turbine meters and ultrasonic meters as velocity-type flow meters that measure natural gas. One last meter in this classification worthy of mentioning is vortex flow meters.

Need assistance with a gas flow meter?

Vortex Flow Meters

Vortex meters are a latecomer to API approval for custody transfer of natural gas; standards were drafted in 2007 with updates in 2010. This late-in-the-game approval has made it difficult for vortex meters to catch up to the ultrasonic, differential pressure, and turbine meters. Consequently, vortex meters have been unsuccessful in penetrating the market for custody transfer of natural gas. The meters are used primarily in industrial markets with very little custody transfer of natural gas usage.


The vortex flowmeter is versatile, and the only other meter that is as adaptable is the DP flowmeter. The vortex meter can reliably measure gas flow, liquid, and steam, except the vortex meter measures fluids with higher accuracy and less pressure drop than DP flow meters. Vortex meters tolerate the high temperatures associated with steam flow measurement also. The meters have no moving parts, and there are multivariable vortex meters that include the ability to provide mass flow measurement. As mentioned earlier, the meter is approved for use in custody-transfer applications.


While the meter is approved for fiscal billing of natural gas, its late entry into the market has made market penetration and product acceptance slow. There can also be some pressure drop due to its bluff body. The biggest hurdle presented with vortex meters is that noise caused by pipe vibrations, or other disturbances will degrade the meter's accuracy.

Vortex Meter Manufacturers

vortex flow meterHoneywell VersaFlow Flow Meter pictured. Manufacturers of vortex flow meters include:

  • Emerson Rosemount
  • VorTek Instruments
  • ABB
  • Honeywell
  • Badger Meter
  • Endress+Hauser
  • Sierra

Please note that we do not represent a vortex flowmeter line. Perhaps one of the other flow meter technologies will satisfy your application.

Need assistance with a gas flow meter?

This article is the last of velocity meters and is part of a series on gas flow meters. Perhaps these articles will interest you:

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About The Author

Tom is a former engineer for Xcel Energy, where he designed gas meter and regulator applications. He has also worked for mechanical contractors and engineering firms approving gas meters and regulators in various applications. He currently manages the Linc Energy Meter and Regular Department and is working on flare gas measurement.


  • Guest
    amitiss Sunday, 07 July 2019

    When choosing flow meters, one should consider such intangible factors as familiarity of plant personnel, their experience with calibration and maintenance, spare parts availability, and mean time between failure history, etc., at the particular plant site. It is also recommended that the cost of the installation be computed only after taking these steps.

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