Fuel Quality – Additives & Filtration
Fuel Maintenance Program
Diesel Fuel for Stand-by Generators:
Stand-by generators represent large investments of money. Since the only function of a stand-by power system is to restore power immediately whenever incoming power fails, every component of the system must be in good operating condition at all times. Most problems stem from the system’s relative inactivity. The diesel fuel can be in storage for several years waiting to be used. This can cause the fuel to deteriorate and unless detected and remedied, the system may be damaged or fail to start. Let’s look at the problems of diesel fuel closer.
Today’s diesel fuel is different from the diesel of the early 1980’s. To meet the increasing demand for diesel fuel the refiners no longer simply distill crude oil to make distillates, they resort to catalytic cracking. This process breaks up heavier fuels so they will meet the specifications for diesel fuel. This catalytically cracked fuel does not want to stay in its new form. It wants to rapidly change back into something heavier. Repolymerization forms submicronic particles which score fuel metering injectors causing them to “drool” and “slobber”, diluting crankcase oil with fuel.
As aging continues, the repolymerized molecules become longer and longer forming sludge which plugs filters and eventually makes the fuel unpumpable. Often we blame bacteria when in fact it is just the fuel re-organizing itself into a heavier product. The rate of repolymerization is a direct function of age and energy input into the fuel.
This means that periodic pumping and filtering of the fuel will actually hasten repolymerization while providing only temporary relief. Pumping and filtering should be used for the removal of inorganics (sand, dirt, rust, etc.), but only in conjunction with a fuel maintenance program that incorporates the ongoing use of a proper fuel additive.
Bacteria are also a problem. These bacteria feed on nitrogen, sulfur and iron oxides. Since these materials are present in a fuel system, a biocide is a necessity to maintain fuel quality.
Wax is a natural component of petroleum fuels. In cold weather wax crystals will form and agglomerate mixing with water, polymer of fuel, and bacteria to further shut down the fuel pumping process.
Oxidation is a slow natural process of fuel degradation that also produces solids.
Water is a natural enemy of fuel. Water causes corrosion of tanks, lines and injectors and reduces combustibility. Condensation will accumulate at the bottom of the tank and should be periodically checked and removed before it reaches the pick up of the product piping.
Special Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) Alert:
We are also finding that Biodiesel and Low / Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel are more unstable than traditional No. 2 fuel oil and need stabilizing even more in order to preserve and extend its useful life. Effective October 1, 2010 all on and off road diesel fuel sold in the in the U.S. is Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD). ULSD has a higher degree of solvency which causes more gums, resins, and particulate matter to be released into stored fuel over time as well as causing corrosion of petroleum equipment.
Solution for Organics (Fuel Additive):
VITΛL FUEL SYSTEMS (Formerly Petroleum Equipment Solutions, Inc) offers ILFC’s (International Lubrication and Fuel Consultants Inc.) 1032 fuel inhibitor. It is a detergent, a dispersant, a biocide, a demulsifier, a corrosion inhibitor, a metal deactivator, and a polymerization retardant. It is an improved version of an inhibitor originally developed at AT&T’s Bell Telephone Laboratories by ILFC’s founder for use in stand-by power systems. Research has proven that, with regular monitoring and treatment with inhibitors, diesel fuel can be stored indefinitely and provide dependable energy when needed.
We recommend 1:10,000 ratio dosage rate for a normal maintenance treatment. For problem fuel a greater dosage may be needed.
Also available is the ILFC 1052. This has all the benefits of the 1032 plus it reduces the fuel’s pour point for reliable cold weather performance. The recommended dosage is 1:5,000 for this product.
These additives are self-dispersing and can be poured directly into a full or partially full fuel tank.
All fuel additives are not intended to address the same problems. There are many commercially-available additives that make various claims. It is important to make sure that the product you use will actually provide solutions for the specific organic conditions mentioned above. The ILFC family of fuel additives was scientifically-developed and rigorously lab and field-tested over more than 25 years and are the only approved additives that meet the stringent standards of the US Navy.
Solution for Inorganics (Automated Fuel Filtering / Polishing Systems):
VITΛL FUEL SYSTEMS offers automated fuel filtering / polishing systems which can be permanently installed on fuel tanks and programmed to automatically pump and filter fuel based on a pre-determined regular maintenance schedule. Also, we can provide onsite mobile filtering by one of our technicians if you do not want a permanently-installed system.
Call us so we can discuss the best solution for your facility needs.
VITΛL FUEL SYSTEMS
1076 Classic Road
Apex, NC 27539