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SIBCON 2022 Interview: MFMs relevant for custody transfer of future liquid-based marine fuels, confirms Endress+Hauser

29 Sep 2022

The following interview is part of event coverage for the upcoming Singapore International Bunkering Conference and Exhibition (SIBCON) 2022 where Manifold Times is an official media partner:

Mass flowmeters (MFMs) will continue to remain as the premier choice for supporting the custody transfer of future liquid-based bunker fuels, states the Business Process Consultant – Bunkering & Fuel Supply Chain of MFM manufacturer Endress+Hauser.

“Alternative marine fuels will be amongst key solutions in helping the global merchant fleet achieve International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s decarbonisation goals by 2030 and 2050,” states Mohamed Abdenbi.

“MFMs will continue to have a place within the bunkering sector even when the shipping industry adopts new types of bunker fuels, such as liquified natural gas (LNG), biofuel, methanol, ammonia and hydrogen, heading into the future.

“Even now, Coriolis-based MFMs are being used to support custody transfer operations of these fuels.”

IMO 2030 – Liquified Natural Gas and Biofuels

Based on current industry pilots and feasibility studies, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) believes LNG and biofuels to be the likely interim or transitional fuels used by the shipping industry to meet IMO targets in the near term.

Abdenbi was keen to share LNG bunker suppliers in the Asia Region, have installed a full Endress+Hauser system onboard their LNG bunker tankers. 

“Typically, LNG bunkering operations require the bunker stem to be calculated in Metric Million British Thermal Unit (MMBtu) or Giga Joule (GJ),” he explains. 

“This is done through the combined measurements from an Endress+Hauser MFM [measuring mass] and Raman spectroscopy analyser (measuring LNG composition). Methane Number is also derived from these 2-measurement methods in accordance with the TR 56: 2020 LNG Bunkering standard developed by Singapore.

“Both figures are captured through our bunkering computer which accurately calculates the total MMBtu delivered during the bunkering operation while also accounting for boil-off gas (BOG).”

“Simply put, with the exception of an LNG insulation kit, these MFMs installed onboard LNG bunker barges are identical with those currently used by Singapore’s bunkering sector.”

MFMs measuring biofuels have meanwhile been used by the palm oil industry for custody measurement over many years, adds Abdenbi.

“The same MFM systems being used by Singapore players to deliver VLSFO and MGO can also be utilised to measure biofuels,” he highlights.

“A fine tuning of the firmware of MFM-equipped bunker tankers delivering VLSFOs will be needed due to the difference in viscosity, while MFMs currently configured for MGO deliveries need not undergo any modification.

“In fact, the Custody Transfer Certificate issued by NMi already covers custody transfer of biofuels for all bunkering MFMs installed onboard the republic’s bunker tankers.” 

IMO 2050 – Ammonia and Hydrogen

Though a distance away, Abdenbi was quick to point out several Singapore players being in talks with Endress+Hauser regarding the custody transfer of ammonia as a bunker fuel.

“There are questions at moment whether to use only MFMs alone or supplement them with additional equipment such as the Raman spectroscopy analyser to measure other parameters,” shares Abdenbi.

“What we currently know is vessels used for LNG bunkering can be easily converted to deliver ammonia as a marine fuel due to the difference between the storage temperature of LNG [-160°C] and ammonia [-33°C].

“We will be ready to support the bunkering industry if it heads in that direction, which could come much earlier than we think.”

The conversion of LNG bunker tankers to store and deliver hydrogen, however, will be a challenge due to the product’s storage temperature of -252.8°C.

“We currently supply quite a lot of smaller MFMs in hydrogen applications, but none so far for bunkering purposes,” says Abdenbi.

“Hydrogen is well positioned to be an important fuel to support decarbonisation. As such, the measurement of hydrogen is a big topic for Endress+Hauser and studies are still being conducted.

“Be it LNG, biofuels, ammonia or hydrogen, we are certain MFMs have a part to play in supporting shipping’s decarbonised future.”

A list of other interviews conducted by Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times on occasion of SIBCON 2022 are as follows:

Related: SIBCON 2022 Interview: Digitalisation in bunkering ops, can lower costs and enable decarbonisation, says StormGeo
Related: SIBCON 2022 Interview: Co-Convenors offer insights into Singapore’s upcoming Digital Bunker Document Standard
Related: SIBCON 2022 Interview: MFMs relevant for custody transfer of future liquid-based marine fuels, confirms Endress+Hauser
Related: SIBCON 2022 Interview: Clyde & Co discusses handling of bunker fuel quality disputes, alt fuels contracts
Related: SIBCON 2022 Interview: Singapore Bunkering TC Chairman shares republic’s direction on future marine fuels


Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 28 September, 2022

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