Measuring the Results: A Case Study of Micro Motion Flow Meters on Marine Bunkers

by | Apr 12, 2016 | Flow, Measurement Instrumentation | 0 comments

One of the clearest ways to determine if a process truly makes a difference is through a focused case study. In 2012, Hong Lam Marine became the first in the industry to install a Certified Bunker Measurement Solution from Emerson on board a fuel barge.

A refueling barge used to transport fuel from the loading terminal to the vessel for refueling, the MT Emissary barge was the perfect first case to witness the results of such a significant change.


Hong Lam Marine enacted a variety of changes in procedure, made possible by the increased visibility of the Emerson mass flow meter (MFM), which lead to many other improvements in performance.

  • Eliminated heavy stripping. The practice of “stripping” was used to remove residual product from the tanks, in order to fully trace all contents and prevent cross contamination when switching products. The direct, traceable, online dynamic flow measurement made for a more effective delivery to the receiving vessel, transferring precisely what was ordered without the need to strip the tanks at every batch.
  • Reduced Aeration. With the introduction of new metering methods, there was a significant reduction in mid-batch aeration, which further ensured the best conditions for efficient metering and overall operations. The new metering technology helped the barge in service to detect the presence of aeration and make the right process adjustments to eliminate it.
  • Limited Barge-To-Barge Transfers. Upon installing the Emerson MFM, Hong Lam Marine eliminated nearly all barge-to-barge transfers, instead primarily loading from the terminals. This reduced another source of uncertainty, and increased the accuracy of the loading measurement, making it comparable to that of delivery.
  • Reduction in Uncertainty. After making the necessary adjustments and measuring early and late meter in and meter out, the uncertainty dropped all the way down to 0.01%, far below the bunkering specification of +/-0.5%.
  • Decreased Time and Cost of Bunkering Operation. As each step made the process more efficient and directed management to the best use of resources, experts estimate that vessel operators could save up to three hours–and as much as $4,000–per delivery.

The Results

The installation of the metering solution is what made it possible to monitor the bunkering operations closely; making adjustments that would improve the accuracy of the measurements, improved bunkering efficiencies, and overall reduce the time needed for each delivery.

The use of MFMs gave Hong Lam Marine the access needed to process bunkering data that was previously blind to them. Flow rate, supply pressure, process temperature, aeration, and density, previously unmeasured during a delivery, now were available for review and revision. Using these new data points, Hong Lam Marine worked with Emerson to improve the process and adjust the operation.

With such an array of positive outcomes, the MT Emissary Barge has lead many innovative efforts, operating with a greener propulsion system and with one of the top bunkering systems in the port of Singapore.

The industry has taken note of the opportunity posed by the Coriolis flow meters, and the use of MFMs is becoming standard practice in the transfer of marine fuel. In fact, the Marine Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore, representing a large share of the global market, announced in April 2014 that the use of MFMs would be mandatory by 2017. Emerson is proud to contribute to the revolution of current practices in the bunkering industry.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.

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