One of the biggest challenges for fuel site operators and retailers is the corrosion and degradation that can happen inside diesel storage tanks. This contamination remains a large obstacle in delivering the high-quality fuel customers demand today.
To address the problem, the Fuels Institute Diesel Fuel Quality Council issued a special report: “Diesel Storage Tanks: Industry Practices to Minimize Degradation and Improve Fuel Quality” earlier this year. The publication provides best practices for tackling contamination in diesel, noting that contamination may occur at the point of delivery or during storage.
Protect Customers from Dispensing Contaminated Fuel
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The report specifically points to the critical role of the dispenser, stating that it is “the last piece of equipment used before the product reaches the end user and requires specific attention.” Taking this fact into consideration, the Fuels Institute makes three recommendations that all equipment distributors, fuel site operators and service technicians should keep in mind:
Best Practice #1: Monitor dispenser flow rates and, when possible, use 10-micron filters to remove smaller particles.
State filtration regulations may mandate the use of a 30-micron filter in a diesel or biodiesel dispenser, but that may not provide filtration that adequately protects engines designed to meet Tier 3 and Tier 4 emissions standards.
Because new diesel engines must meet higher emissions standards and are expected to deliver a longer service life than older models, they will consume more fuel than their predecessors and therefore be exposed to contaminants for a longer period of time. Fleets with their own fueling systems have already encountered vehicle damage from hard particles as small as 4 microns, “suggesting that a 30-micron (dispenser) filter adds little protection for a modern diesel engine,” according to the Fuels Institute.
Best Practice #2: Adopt a “zero-tolerance” policy toward free-phase water in storage tanks.
Although standards permit a minimal level of water in fuel tanks, numerous studies reveal that even trace amounts of water in fueling systems can encourage microbial growth and equipment degradation, which negatively impacts fuel quality.
Tank operators in states that adopt regulations in NIST Handbook 130 are required to ensure that free-phase water is less than a quarter of an inch for diesel blended with biodiesel inside the tank. This helps prevent the dispenser from entering “slow-flow mode.”
Filters that restrict flow are helpful to fuel site operators because they alert them to excessive water levels, problems in the fueling system and prevent the dispenser from pumping diesel contaminated with water.
Best Practice #3: Change filters every year (at minimum) regardless of flow volume.
While the Fuels Institute recommends fuel site operators change filters every year, PetroClear recommends changing filters every six months regardless of flow volume to account for seasonal fluctuations that may be affecting fuel quality.
This post is sponsored by PetroClear