Kam Controls, Inc. successfully tests first ever in-line detector for FAME contamination in jet fuels
KAM CONTROLS, INC. of Houston, Texas has successfully conducted a test of its upcoming in-line FAME (Fatty Acid Methyl Ester) detector–the KAM FAME Meter. The test, conducted in the lab with jet fuel contaminated with varying amounts of FAME, confirms the accuracy, stability and repeatability of the science and electronics behind the detector.
Accurate detection of FAME levels is critical for aviation safety. Recently the management agency for NATO’s largest European pipeline (CEPMA), supplying both NATO and civilian airports, announced all clients must provide proof that deliveries satisfy current mandates of less than 5ppm of FAME. The KAM FAME Meter is of particular importance in these efforts because it installs inline, providing real-time, highly accurate data. Current methods for measuring FAME require time-consuming sampling and laboratory testing, which comes at great expense due to demurrage, storage, man-hours, etc.
Tests of the KAM Fame Meter were conducted in the 100, 200, 300, and 500ppm range. According to Kam Mohajer, founder and president of KAM CONTROLS, “We found the stability and the repeatability of the instrument to be very good, and suitable to measure FAME concentrations from 1ppm and higher. The response time was instantaneous. In short, we are confidant that we will be able to measure the FAME from 1ppm and higher with a great degree of precision.” Predicted accuracy will be ±1% of full scale, i.e., for a scale measuring 1-100 ppm accuracy will be ±1ppm, for a scale measuring 0-200 ppm accuracy will be ±2ppm, etc.
FAME is the biological component of biodiesel. Contamination of jet fuel with FAME is a direct result of transporting biodiesel in product tankers or in multi-product pipelines. FAME can adhere to the walls of the tank or pipeline, in addition to manifolds, etc. When jet fuel is transported after biodiesel in either a product tanker or pipeline, it can release the FAME that has been left behind. This contamination is of particular concern to producers, shippers, and consumers of jet fuel.
According to a Special Air Worthiness Information Bulletin issued by the FAA in August, 2009, “At high enough concentrations, FAME can impact the thermal stability of the fuel that could lead to coke deposits in the fuel system. FAME contamination can also impact the freezing point of jet fuel resulting in gelling of the fuel. These conditions can result in engine operability problems, and possible engine flameout.”
KAM CONTROLS anticipates a product release early in the fourth quarter of 2010. The FAME Meter is patent pending. The completed product will install in an analyzer loop, providing real-time data on FAME concentrations. A lab model will also be available. The product will be suitable for marine, pipeline, truck, and fuel delivery applications. In addition, the product can be used to confirm compliance with government mandates for minimum biodiesel percentages within blended diesels.