Natural gas is transported across the country in a series of pipelines. Each pipeline has multiple compressor stations at different distance intervals. A major concern when dealing with natural gas transmission is condensate in the lines. The compressors can only compress gas and the ingestion of liquid can cause damage resulting in thousands of dollars in damage.
When gas leaves the compressor it is at its highest velocity and in mostly a pure gas state. Over the course of the journey to the next compressor station some of the gas condenses into liquid form. It is crucial this liquid not make it to the next compressor or damage will occur.
Just upstream of each compressor station is a small tank known as a knockout pot. These knockout pots are located beneath the pipeline and are intended to catch the liquid condensate. The condensate by virtue of the fact that it is getting to the next compressor station is at its lowest velocity and drops into the condensate knockout pot.
Once condensate starts to collect in these tanks it must be periodically drained off or it will eventually spill back into the pipeline and damage the compressor. Years ago, it was necessary for a worker to check each knockout pot daily and manually drain as needed. Today, the automated solution is to use a Babbitt LS7000 Level Switch. The LS7000 reliably measures the low conductivity natural gas condensate and typically actuates a solenoid that in turn opens a valve and drains the tank.
By automating this procedure, personnel are able to visit a site less frequently. As a result, a significant cost reduction is realized in these cases. Babbitt International has hundreds of these sensors monitoring condensate pots all across the country.