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Natural Gas Goes Mobile: See our Top Picks for Apps

Key Points
  • There are more than 2.5 million mobile apps available for download.
  • Natural gas apps help track prices, locate fueling stations and more.
  • Some apps are free; some can be used for tablets.
Source: iStock
smart phone

As of July 2014, there were 2.5 million apps available for download, and the number keeps growing. So what's available for the natural gas industry? The following are our top picks for anyone seeking a natural gas-related app.

1. Alternative Fueling Station Locator from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory provides addresses, phone numbers and operating hours on more than 15,000 stations across the country, including compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG).

2. Boiler Calculations is a free Android app for performing efficiency or flow calculations to verify boiler operations and includes pressure and/or temperature compensation, steam flow, natural gas flow (ACFH to SCFH and reverse) and combustion efficiency calculations.

3. CNG Fuel Finder, available for both iPhones and Androids from CNGnow.com, allows you to check prices, pressure and ratings before your trip. You can map routes and see nearby stations, as well as check in at stations to add ratings, comments and photos.

4. Gas Ratio Calculator takes the carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide results from your gas flue analyzer and calculates their ratio for natural gas to determine if your boiler is running efficiently. The app also tells you whether the boiler should be serviced.

5. GasUnits for the iPhone/iPad and Android converts between 60 different units of gas volume (cubic feet, cubic meter), energy (Btus, therms, Joules) and rates (cubic feet per day, cubic meter per day). Users can switch between three calorific values for greater conversion accuracy. The converter also estimates approximate volumes of liquefied natural gas, gas-to-liquid volumes and megawatts of power produced from input gas rates.

6. LNGCalculator lets you simultaneously convert and customize numerous natural gas units with almost 1,000 different conversions (including metric ton, cubic meter, cubic feet, MMBtu, therms). Other features include vehicle conversion (fuel consumption of different vehicles) and a user friendly interface.

7. LNGProjects for iPad/iPhone lists key facts and data (including plant location, size and ownership) for about 85 global LNG export projects in various stages of construction and operation.

8. Natural Gas Fundamentals forecasts storage outlook for two weeks ahead based on a statistical model using expected weather conditions across the country. Other data includes:

  • Historical trends of underground storage levels per region
  • Net flows of natural gas
  • Overview of production, consumption, imports and exports
  • Trends in oil and gas rig counts

9. Natural Gas Pipe Size determines the required pipe diameter when designing piping systems for industrial applications over a wide range of heat output, pressure and temperature. Specify gas working pressure and temperature and select from a variety of predefined materials, fittings and valves. Natural gas volume flow and pressure drop is displayed for the selected pipe section.

10. Natural Gas Reader records your meter readings and analyzes them for usage so you can determine how much you're spending on natural gas. After entering the utility rate per unit you're being charged, the dollar amount is displayed.

11. Oil Price provides updates on current oil prices and trends of oil prices over time, with three main charts covering Brent crude oil, WTI crude oil and natural gas.

12. TLV ToolBox is a free, reference-and-calculation combo tool for converting units and calculating steam/condensate pipe sizing, heat and valve flow. Added bonus: It also has steam tables.

13. Ventilation Calc determines the amount of ventilation required for open flue natural gas appliances, as well as four types of flueless. Other features include:

  • Simple conversion tool to convert net to gross and gross to net (also BTU/h)
  • Glossary of terms
  • Warning when heat input is considered too high for the room area 

The cost of these apps varies; some of these apps are free. Most are available for both smartphones and tablets. Check out the iTunes and Google apps websites to try them out.