Tehsin Fatima - The energy crisis in Pakistan has made it paramount that we should save every cubic foot of gas which brings us to accurate measurements. As winter season is here and gas shortage is about to start and bills are about to raise, MEMS meters can help the consumer.

These smart meters will become increasingly important in the domestic segment in the near future as they offer consumers more billing transparency. Consumers can request monthly billing from the utilities to obtain a prompt account of their consumption.

This is intended as a basis for energy-optimised behaviour, which not only saves money, but also spares resources in a long term. A compact design and noise-free operation combined with accurate measurement of consumption enable smart meters to be used in virtually any installation location. Its customer friendly display shows consumers their energy consumption conveniently and creates a high degree of billing transparency. Static equipment such as personal computers or mobile handheld equipment can also be used for this purpose.

One of the most widely used technology for natural gas is MEMS technology. Microelectronic Mechanical System (MEMS) is a technology that in its most general form can be defined as miniaturised mechanical and electro-mechanical elements that are made using the techniques of micro fabrication. The technology combines mechanical and electrical systems on a single chip. These chips have got dimensions less than the thickness of human hair.

MEMS sensor has various advantages over their conventional counterparts. It is extremely small in size and has very low power consumption. It is inexpensive due to mass production and is less invasive than the conventional sensors.

This is also being used by the biomedical industry to monitor the activity of pacemakers and the automated drug delivery system by a smart pill. MEMS have three main sensors i.e. Calorimetric, Anemometric and Time of flight measurement.

With many other advantages, it is an all electronic gas meter with no moving parts, thus eliminating any possibility of wear and tear. It has a very small form of factor for better logistics and the compact design means reduced production price.

MEMS gas meter has got intrinsic pressure and temperature compensation. It has remote data transmission capability and is easy to network which makes it easy to be integrated into AMR (Automated meter reading) and AMI (Automated metering infrastructure) systems. It has the scope of eliminating the role of meter readers which can curb any human malpractices.

There are number of companies manufacturing MEMS gas meters on a large scale including Aerius, Metersit, Yamatake and Siargo to name a few. This technology opens new vistas and allows for greater accuracy which can improve revenue generation and consumer service.