Have you ever been at a bar and ordered whiskey on the rocks only to realize when it arrives that it has been watered down? Imagine you’re at a fuel pump and you selected and paid for premium, but the gas station delivered regular, or even worse, diesel! There are many situations in which the process isn’t transparent enough to judge the quality of what you’ve paid for until it’s too late. In some cases, it’s not a significant issue. After all, you can send back a bad drink. But good luck trying to pump diesel out of your car’s fuel tank.

Something like this happened recently to a barge operator that was trying to transport fuel to one of their customers. The barge operator purchased a batch of IFO 380 fuel from the terminal, but the terminal delivered several hundred tons of a mystery product – that wasn’t IFO 380 at the end of the batch. Luckily, the barge was equipped with a Certified Bunker Measurement Solution from Emerson, which provides a measurement of quantity delivered and includes a real-time density display. In this case, the barge operator could see that the density was out of spec, reaching values as high as 1100 kg/m^3 @15C when the limit is 1050kg/m^3 @15C, by monitoring the data during the batch. Following the transfer, the barge operator returned the entire batch of product to eliminate the risk of supplying this mystery product to their customer and risking possible quality disputes.

During transfer of marine fuel, taking samples of the product for lab testing is required; however, it takes several days to get the results. Emerson customers can use real-time density measurement to monitor the quality of the fuel during the transfer and watch for anything suspicious. In some cases (like the one above), it can provide you with the information needed to take immediate action.

Has this ever happened to you? Tell us about a time when someone tried to give you a lower quality product than you asked for in the comment section below.