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A*STAR's National Metrology Centre & Mogas Flow Lab Announce New Facilities to Establish Key Industry Measurement Standards for Bunker Fuel

SINGAPORE, April 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

NMC officially opened its liquid flow metrology lab to strengthen measurement quality for key industries. NMC also announced an RCA with Mogas Flow Lab (MFL) to establish a R&D lab to develop bunker fuel-based Primary Liquid Flow Standard and a Heavy Hydrocarbon Calibration Rig (HHCR). MFL is investing approximately S$20m for the building of the R&D lab, HHCR and associated facilities.  

A*STAR's National Metrology Centre (NMC) announced today the opening of a new liquid flow metrology lab that will provide key measurement services for industries like oil and gas, pharmaceutical and F&B. NMC also announced the signing of a research collaboration agreement (RCA) with Mogas Flow Lab (MFL), a local calibration services provider, on the establishment of Primary Liquid Flow Standard (PLFS)[1] and a R&D lab for mass flow measurement of bunker fuel. The announcements were made at the Singapore Bunkering Symposium during Singapore Maritime Week.

The R&D lab and the Heavy Hydrocarbon Calibration Rig (HHCR) are expected to occupy about 5,000 square meters and will commence construction in late 2014. The lab will be the first of its kind to use actual bunker fuel as the flow medium. When completed, the facility will give the local maritime industry a head start in allowing locally-calibrated bunker mass flow meters (MFM) to have a direct traceability to the standard mass, which is the kilogram in the International System of Units (SI units).

In bunker fuel trading, fuel is sold by mass but delivered by volume. Volume is affected by changes in pressure and temperature, unlike mass. The use of mass flow meters will allow the fuel to be measured by mass directly. Hence, accurate mass flow measurements serve to enable quantity certainty during transfers, and enhance transparency during transactions. This is important due to the large quantity and high costs of fuel involved. Last year, over 42 million tonnes of bunker fuel were sold in Singapore[2]. Coupled with Singapore's standing as a top bunker port globally, it is important to maintain measurement standards with direct traceability to internationally-recognised standards, which are needed to assure business partners of quality standards, promote fair trade and enable local companies to access the global market.  

Enhancing R&D Infrastructure for Industry 

As a national measurement institute that establishes and maintains measurement standards which are at the highest level of accuracy and recognised internationally, NMC provides scientific metrology services to ensure that the measurement instruments and devices used by industry players are metrologically traceable to the SI units.

The newly opened liquid flow metrology lab has the capability to measure the mass flow rates of water-based synthetic fluids, using the gravimetric method[3], down to a measurement uncertainty of 0.05 percent. NMC will conduct R&D on flow measurement involving water-based liquids with different viscosities, and under varying temperature and pressure. This allows for the scope of study to be expanded to understand the behaviour of various liquids. The insights gained will benefit not just the maritime sector, but also others like the oil and gas, or pharmaceutical sectors, where precise measurements are indispensable.

Developing Future Standards to Meet Industry Demands 

In addition to the new liquid flow metrology lab, NMC is also collaborating with MFL to provide scientific metrology expertise and consultancy for the establishment of a primary liquid flow standard (PLFS) and the construction of a heavy hydrocarbon rig (HHCR), as well as to conduct R&D in flow measurements for bunker fuel. The HHCR rig will have a flow measurement capacity of up to 1,500 metric tonnes per hour. It is built for conformance assessment and calibration of mass flow meters and will be designed to meet custody transfer of bunker fuel to vessels using the MFM system.  

Co-located with the HHCR will be the NMC PLFS laboratory for bunker fuel. Both facilities will have integrated sensors, flow microprocessors, computing and diagnostics capabilities making them suitable for R&D purposes. The infrastructure will be able to measure 2-phase flow for assessing the meter performance under air entrained conditions and allow for precise control of temperature, pressure and process flow to support empirical tests for very low Reynolds Number flow regimes. Calibration will be conducted in a controlled fluid conditions setting where factors such as temperature, pressure and viscosity that would normally affect accuracy can be managed.

Dr Thomas Liew, Executive Director of NMC said, "The NMC liquid flow metrology lab will provide the capabilities to enhance the measurement quality in industries such as oil and gas, pharmaceutical, and F&B. We are also very excited with the opportunity to establish a one of its kind primary liquid flow standard using bunker fuel as the flow medium. At the same time, we are delighted to help a local SME like MFL to upgrade their capability to provide calibration services for mass flow meters."

Mr Teoh Seng Eng, Managing Director of MFL, said, "We are looking forward to the new facility. This will be a world class, high capacity, metrologically compliant and ISO17025 accredited liquid flow calibration infrastructure, which is specially designed for MFM systems. With our best-in-class infrastructure MFL is better able to support Singapore's initiative to implement mass metering system for bunker and also to make available conformity assessment services of MFM locally. Through the R&D lab with NMC, local companies like MFL are able to contribute towards enhancing the calibration service value chain."


1. Refer to Annex A: List of Definitions

2. Source: Singapore's 2013 Maritime Performance.  http://www.mpa.gov.sg/sites/global_navigation/news_center/mpa_news/mpa_news_detail.page?filename=nr140107a.xml

3. Refer to Annex A: List of Definitions



ANNEX A - List of Definitions


About the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) 

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is Singapore's lead public sector agency that fosters world-class scientific research and talent to drive economic growth and transform Singapore into a vibrant knowledge-based and innovation driven economy.

In line with its mission-oriented mandate, A*STAR spearheads research and development in fields that are essential to growing Singapore's manufacturing sector and catalysing new growth industries. A*STAR supports these economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial capital to its partners in industry.

A*STAR oversees 18 biomedical sciences and physical sciences and engineering research entities, located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis, as well as their vicinity. These two R&D hubs house a bustling and diverse community of local and international research scientists and engineers from A*STAR's research entities as well as a growing number of corporate laboratories.

Please visit http://www.a-star.edu.sg

About the National Metrology Centre (NMC)  

The National Metrology Centre (NMC) is Singapore's measurement science and technology institute, under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). NMC conducts R&D in the science of measurement to enable innovation for emerging technologies. With a multi-disciplinary team of scientists and engineers, NMC supports the growth of advanced technologies for industries such as clean energy, nanotechnology, and medical technology.

NMC establishes and maintains measurement standards at the highest level of accuracy in Singapore, and are recognised worldwide through the Mutual Recognition Arrangement on measurement as being traceable to the International System of Units (the SI units) under the Metre Convention. Our internationally recognised measurement capabilities help Singapore companies in a broad range of industry sectors, including aerospace, electronics, manufacturing, pharmaceutical and biotechnology, and oil and gas, meet international trade requirements and gain access to markets worldwide. The enhanced accuracy of measurements and standards provided by NMC promotes fair trade, safe environment, productivity, high quality and reliable products.

NMC works with companies on research projects, consultancy, training, precision measurements and calibration services. For more information about NMC, please visit http://www.nmc.a-star.edu.sg

About Mogas Flow Lab Pte Ltd 

Since 2001, MFL has been actively engaged in the business of providing laboratory and calibration services. It is a specialist service provider in measurement and calibration of flow meters to users of such services in the oil & gas, chemicals, food and manufacturing industries.

Over the years MFL has built up a base of satisfied customers which are leading multinational companies in the petroleum, pharmaceutical, aviation and marine sectors.  

The company does this by offering value-added services to its customers and continually expands its range and scope which are specifically tailored to each customer's specific process or operating needs and requirements. As a standard procedure we consult and coordinate closely with each customer before, during and after each calibration service so that, at all times, MFL will provide an optimal turnaround time to customers to re-commission its meters for productive service.

The company provides commercial calibration and certification for different types of flow meters such as Mass Flow Meters, Vortex Flow Meters and Magnetic Flow Meters.

For more information about MFL, please visit http://www.mogas.com.sg



Gravimetric Method:    

This refers to the process of relating to the measurement by weight.

Primary Standard: 

A primary standard is a standard that is designated or widely recognised as having the highest metrological qualities and whose value is accepted without reference to other standards of the same quantity. Primary mass flow standard or gravimetric flow standard is for the realization of the quantity of mass flow in a given time by direct traceability to the mass standard.

Primary Liquid Flow Standard (PLFS): 

Primary Liquid Flow Standard which is capable to perform calibration of a mass flow meter by gravimetric method for the realization of the quantity of mass flow in a given time by direct traceability to the mass standard.


For request for high resolution pictures, please contact Miss Fazilah Latif at [email protected] or +65-90091973.

For media enquiries, please contact:


Miss Fazilah Latif
Officer, Corporate Communications
Agency for Science, Technology and Research
DID: +(65)6419-6529 or +(65)9009-1973
Email: [email protected]

Ms Lisa Chong
Assistant Manager, Corporate Communications
Agency for Science, Technology and Research
DID: +(65)6419-6544 or +(65)9797-5730
Email: [email protected]


For MFL:

Mr Chong Kam Wah
Director, Business Development
Mogas Flow Lab Pte Ltd (MFL)
DID: +(65)6898-9763 or +(65)9738-8498
Email: [email protected]


SOURCE Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)

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