Dirty Diesel, Diesel Bugs, Water in diesel! It has many names but fuel contamination is on the increase!
Due to the changing chemical makeup of refined fuels and the addition of bio fuel components (ethanol and bio diesels) microbial contamination is becoming widespread. Bio fuels are hygroscopic, in other words they attract and bond with water molecules. This water is necessary for the successful growth of bacterial and fungal colonies which are collectively known as “The bug” or “Diesel Bug”.
This was not as common a problem when fuels contained pure hydrocarbons because water settles from refined fuels relatively quickly.
The symptoms of microbial contamination are many:
– sludge in filters and tanks
– blocked filters
– foul smell from fuel
– smoking engines and poor performance
The byproducts of microbial growth are also reponsible for corrosion of fuel tanks and fuel injection systems. The consequences of this can range from expensive repairs to catastrophic failures of engines.
Fuel which is in long term storage is particularly vulnerable to deterioration. Standby generators and marine applications where the contents of fuel tanks are not turned over regularly often contain contamination which only becomes apparent when the systems are used under load. In the case of generators this can have disastrous consequences if a unit fails during a power outage.
Vigilance and maintenance are the tools to ensure you do not fall foul of this problem. A regular inspection and maintenance program is vital to ensure fuel quality is kept to within specifications. The single most effective action an operator can take is to ensure there is no water in a fuel storage system. Without water, microbial activity is kept to levels which do not pose a problem.
Tank cleaning and filtration of fuels will keep your system clean and trouble free. Call us today to get the most cost effective solution to your application.