Fuel Contamination from Bio-Fuels
With the ever changing focus on bio-grade fuels, we have a long way to go before the fuel storage vessels and pumping equipment will prevent the ambient conditions for breeding micro bacterial growth.
Diesel was always considered a dirty fuel and over the years endless perfecting and purification made it one of the cleanest oils to store and transfer through the pumps into your vehicles. Over a period, natural sludge build-up would prevail, but this would only be considered a 6 to 10 year review programme, depending on usage. With the higher bio mix introductions, now including red diesel mixtures, this will be become more prominent in any business operation where fuel storage and usage is critical.
Water content in petroleum diesels was typically 60ppm of suspended water, giving an almost insignificant level of water. With regular use and replenishment of fuel stocks, microbial contamination was rarely a problem. Bio-diesels typically hold up to 25 times more suspended water, greatly increasing the potential for problems. Bio-diesel breeds the perfect habitat for vigorous microbial growth.
Fuel exposed to condensation, temperature variances or idle time sat in unused (undisturbed) storage facilities enables the bio-fuel to deteriorate much faster, allowing colony forming units of bacteria to grow with the water/fuel interface, forming bio-films and sludge build-up on a much faster scale. The bacteria feeds on the fuel, breaking down the carbon chains, reducing the quality of the fuel, reducing pump output and eventually blocking filters.
There are many considerations to help keep the problems from manifesting and keeping your fuel in as good condition as possible:
Regular internal inspections and clean of the storage tank to minimise build-up of sludge and microbial growth
Cleansing of fuel in tanks to turn over the fuel and minimise water content
Fuel Conditioners fitted to suction lines to magnetically attack and break down microbes, preventing colonies and rendering cells dormant for longer periods
Re-circulation kits fitted to storage tank as a permanent fixture, ensuring regular filtration and turn-over of fuel
These methods can be looked at individually or as combined package to help you to get the best from your fuel.
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