In fact, harnessing the Coriolis Effect has enabled bunkering industry to improve the measurement procedures by providing direct, in-line and accurate mass flow measurement of both liquids and gases and therefore preventing fuel pilferage. Interestingly, this revolutionary technology has been developed from the basic theory of the Coriolis Effect and is, now, applied to the challenges in creating the perfect flow meter.
However, in late April 2019, the port of Singapore announced that it has suspended Southernpec’s bunker craft operator and supplier license for allegedly using magnets to tamper with the Mass Flow Meter (MFM) on one of its bunker tankers during bunkering operations to manipulate figures of delivered marine fuels.
In particular, Neodymium magnets - which are a type of permanent magnet - were allegedly found attached to the ‘u’ section of the barge’s mass flow meter using adhesive tape. It is understood that magnets can interfere with the Coriolis Effect which is the principle of mass flowmeter operation. However, it is not clear how much influence magnets have on the accuracy of mass flow meters and it is not yet known if this practice is widespread, the North Club noted.
Overall, there are flow meters out in the market such as the Coriolis Flow Meters that allow to measure liquids, slurries and gasses accurately. Using good flowmetering systems for bunkering instead of sounding/dipping is rapidly growing in popularity mainly because it provides a clear path forward to building trust between bunker fuel buyers and sellers.
How do Coriolis Mass Flow Meters operate?
While in recent years, the major impact of the Coriolis Effect has been mostly in the field of meteorology, Coriolis flow meters are used in a wide range of flow measurement applications; measure the mass flow of liquids, such as water, acids, caustic, chemicals, and gases/vapors. The basic operation of Coriolis meters is based on the ‘Coriolis Principle’
The operating principle of a Coriolis flow meter is basic but very effective. Coriolis flow meters measure real mass flow; the mass flow measurement is an important development across industry as it eliminates inaccuracies caused by the physical properties of the fluid. Thus, Coriolis meters are allegedly able to mitigate any bunker quantity disputes as these systems are less prone to tampering, offering transparency and prevention against ‘cappuccino’ bunkers.
Pros and cons of a Coriolis flow meter
- Easy to implement in gas and fluid flow measurement
- Doesn’t require inlet and outlet runs
- Can measure mass flow, volume flow, density, and temperature
- Supports measurement independent of fluid viscosity and density
- Measures mass flow directly
- It is time saving
- Costs more than most other options
- Has a limited temperature range
- Has limited applications in multi-phase fluids
- There are still ways to jeopardize its integrity
Interesting facts on Coriolis meters
- Low-priced Coriolis meters are less accurate, have fewer features, and lack the robust displays of their higher-priced counterparts
- Noise can easily upset the precise measurement of a Coriolis sensor
- The Coriolis meter cannot effectively measure the mass; this is called decoupling
Did you know?
The ‘Coriolis Effect’ explained
French mathematician, mechanical engineer and scientist, Gaspard-Gustave de Coriolis Gaspard-Gustav de Coriolis published a paper in 1835 explaining how the Coriolis Effect and Coriolis Force terms were coined. The Coriolis Effect is most apparent in the path of an object moving longitudinally. The theory explains that the rotation of the Earth causes a phenomenon on free moving objects on the Earth.
Objects in the Northern Hemisphere are deflected to the right, while objects in the Southern Hemisphere are deflected to the left. The Coriolis Effect, thus tries to force winds to shift towards the right or left. Thus, the Coriolis deflection is strongly linked with the motion of the object, the motion of the Earth, and the latitude.