How to Avoid Diesel Fuel Degradation

November 13, 2018

Having a working commercial standby generator is critical to your business in case of an emergency. Depending on the size and nature of your operation, even a brief power outage can cost you thousands. In addition to the generator itself, having adequate fuel for a standby generator is vital. You may already have a significant reserve of fuel in case of such an emergency, but you may not be aware that over time, diesel fuel degradation can occur.

What Is Diesel Fuel Degradation?

Over time, the oxidative instability in diesel fuel creates fuel degradation materials such as gums, sediments, acids and thickeners. These materials can result in corrosion, injector deposits, hard particulate formation, increased fuel viscosity, filter clogging and damage to fuel pumps and injectors. The consequences can include poor fuel economy, increased maintenance issues, diminished performance and poor combustion quality resulting in issues such as black smoke and difficulty starting your generator, or even complete mechanical failure.

How Can You Avoid Diesel Fuel Degradation?

Since your emergency fuel may be in storage for a considerable amount of time, the potential for fuel degradation is high. What steps can you take to avoid or minimize it? It starts with the kind of tank you use for storage. For example, the type of poly drum you may use to store water is not appropriate for diesel fuel storage. These are made of high-density plastic that will react with the fuel and deteriorate the drum. Instead, tanks must be nylon or steel to ensure they don’t react with the fuel. A large surface storage tank, one that will hold 250 gallons or more, is the best option. If this is not feasible, multiple nylon tanks or steel drums should do the job.

When you top off your diesel fuel storage tank, make sure you leave about 10-15 percent space on the top to minimize the condensation and to allow your fuel to react safely with changes in temperature. A spin-on fuel filter that separates water can also be very helpful. Make sure to clean your tank regularly so that there are fewer particles around that can react with your fuel or clog injectors or filters.

One of the most important things you can do to prevent fuel degradation is introducing the right additives to your fuel. The right additives are very dependent upon the type of fuel you are using and how and how long you store it. Foster Fuels can do a fuel quality analysis to determine the condition of your fuel and the best additives to keep it as fresh as possible for as long as possible.

Another step we can take is diesel fuel polishing, a special treatment we perform that can restore degraded fuel to ASTM standards.

Contact Foster Fuels for Fuel Degradation Services Now

Fuel can start degrading after only six months, and constantly replacing your backup fuel is not a cost-effective solution. For a fuel quality analysis, to find out about the fuel additives we offer or for diesel fuel polishing services, contact us today.

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