Back to Top
Skip to main content
Advanced Multi-Dimensional Capacitance Sensors Based Multiphase Mass Flow Meter to Measure and Monitor Offshore Enhanced Oil Recovery Systems
Project Number
Last Reviewed Dated

The goal of this project is to extend the use of Multi-Dimensional Electrical Capacitance Volume Tomography (MD-ECVT) sensors for subsea oil and gas multiphase flow measurement to reduce subsea facility complexity, advance real-time remote monitoring of well fluids, and enable greater tieback to the surface production facility. This multiphase flow meter (MPFM) will also be tested in a relevant subsea environmental chamber to prove the mechanical integrity of the equipment in such an environment. Additionally, a data-sheet will be developed for the MPFM that is representative of field operating conditions and that offers a competitive advantage over existing MPFMs on the market for subsea applications.


Tech4Imaging — Columbus, OH 43220
The Ohio State University — Columbus, OH 43220
Accuflow — Bakersfield, CA 93313


Current state of the art multiphase flow meter (MPFM) measurement for subsea has many drawbacks including high complexity, large size, low accuracy and consistency across many flow regimes and operating conditions, safety risks with radiation, and high cost (sometimes in excess of $1M for a single unit).

In contrast, the current state of the art for ECVT technology depicts an accelerated acceptance by the multi-phase flow community. Tech4Imaging (T4I), the sole proprietor of multi-dimensional ECVT technology, has advanced the technology in recent years to address practical applications that provide a viable means for gaining a unique understanding of various multi-phase flow scenarios. ECVT favorable features include its safety, fast imaging and measurement speeds, scalability to industrial size and conditions of pressure and temperature, flexibility for imaging complex geometries, low acquisition costs (projected $200–250k instead of $750–1,000k) and low operational cost. Additionally, ECVT sensors can be adapted to work in a wide array of industrial settings. Another application involved measuring mass flow rate and fluid dynamics of brine in a geothermal well with temperatures up to 250°C and pressures up to 300 psi. Furthermore, high-pressure flows are no longer an obstacle as ECVT sensors have been tested on a flow loop with over 5,000 psi pressure. These applications have been implemented by Tech4Imaging for customers in various multi-phase flow applications.


The single deployable commercial product produced will be an integrable part in reducing cost, increasing efficiency, and improving safety in Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) systems in subsea oil fields. Successful completion of this project would provide a cost-effective solution to EOR developers for deploying multiphase flow meters (MPFM) in remote subsea oil fields. MPFMs are critical sensors for determining when to transition to EOR, knowing what method of EOR to employ, monitoring efficiency of an existing EOR method, detecting water breakthrough, monitoring well aging, monitoring separator efficiency, and custody transfer.

Accomplishments (most recent listed first)
  • Flow Loop
    • The flow loop has finished in the design stage.
    • Fabrication and acquisition of components is to start soon.
  • Sensor
    • First sensor design has been fabricated.
    • Tested up to 2,200 psi so far.
  • Electronic data acquisition system
    • New components for stabilized data.
    • Temperature sensors and thermal compensation for temperature-related drift have been implemented.
    • Design for C1D1 certified housing has begun.
    • Firmware has been updated to accommodate hardware changes.
  • Algorithm
    • Air-water capacitance behavior has been studied in depth. A theory about linearizing capacitance readings in air-water systems has been developed and is in the process of being proven via lab experiments. Results have shown promise at detecting objects falling through water and showing hold up distribution in bubble columns.
  • Software
    • An embedded system has been developed to interface with the DAS.
    • Communication includes Modbus and current loop.
    • Temperature compensation is performed in the embedded system.
  • Subsea Chamber
    • The subsea chamber has been designed.
    • Currently exploring methods of fabrication.
Current Status
  1. Electronic data acquisition system preparing for initial electrical certification
  2. Lab tests being conducted to verify theoretical predictions
  3. Entering build phase for flow loop
  4. Entering build phase for subsea chamber
  5. Second iteration of sensor is being designed for subsea performance
  6. Investigation of solid content and salinity on flow is ongoing. 
Project Start
Project End
DOE Contribution

$ 2,997,736.00

Performer Contribution

$ 2,423,913.00

Contact Information

NETL – William Fincham ( or 304-285-4268)
Tech4Imaging LLC- PI: Qussai Marashdeh ( or 614-214-2655)