Fuel Management: Protect Your Fuel

The ball may have dropped in Times Square, but we’re certain you don’t want to drop the ball when it comes to your fuel management. January is the perfect time to take full control of your fuel usage to help avoid costly problems all year round. We discuss why below.

When stored for a long period of time, bugs and water take habitat in fuel and ultimately degrade its quality, putting your equipment and machinery at jeopardy. The higher the level of contamination, the higher the risk of operations downtime.

Fuel Management

The RFTO – what is it?

The UK’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RFTO) is one of the government’s key policies to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fuel used in road and off-road vehicles and machinery. It requires all fuel suppliers to increase the level of renewable content in the total fuel mix. Currently, this is at 8.5%, but this is set to increase to 12.4% by 2032.

FAME issues

The responsibility to meet these targets falls with the fuel suppliers registered with the RTFO administrator at the Department of Transport. A common way to achieve this is through the introduction of Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME) to red diesel and road diesel, a renewable biodiesel made from sustainable materials.

While FAME helps reduce harmful emissions, it’s hygroscopic which means that it attracts and absorbs moisture. Although it meets British Standards, the increase in FAME content can lead to an increase in inherent problems, including:

✓ Sludge and microbial contamination build-up which clogs filters

✓ Increased water uptake – increased potential for bacteria and algae growth

✓ Reduced fuel stability & shelf life 

✓ Decreased cold-weather performance and increased gelling issues – blocked lines and fuel starvation

Fuel management: how to avoid FAME diesel problems

Annual fuel checks are often not enough to keep your fuel healthy in winter. Bacterial contamination spreads faster during the cold, damp months, making your fuel supply more at risk of water and bacterial microbes than ever.

It’s important to be prepared for cold weather periods and invest in regular fuel management. Badly designed fuel storage and insufficient thermal protection can lead to wax crystals (paraffins) and condensation forming over time, which can cause pipes and filters to become blocked. If water freezes in a diesel fuel system, it may experience combustion problems such as a jerky, stuttering motion or complete failure to start at all.

Protect your assets

Storing your fuel in a suitable tank or container will help protect it from contamination. Our sister company, Crown Oil, supplies a wide range of storage tanks and barrels, with a 10-year warranty, complete protection from UV rays and corrosion prevention technology – all which are fully compliant with safety and environmental standards. Call our fuel team on 0845 313 0845 to find out more.

During the cold months, fuel tanks and engines left exposed at night will cool rapidly, which can cause fuel to degrade in quality. We recommend that you keep your tank in a shed or sheltered area to help avoid heat loss and paraffin issues.

Make sure you’re using winter-grade fuel

Red diesel (gas oil) differs in grade for seasonal use. Winter fuel can be used all year round as it’s more resistant to cold (-12°C CFPP min), so it can be used throughout all seasons. But fuel certified for use during the summer period is only fit for use during these months (-4°C CFPP min) as it has a limited resistance to cold.

Leaving summer grade fuel in the tank during winter can cause big problems for your engines and machinery. Read more on this in our Rules for Fuels series. At Crown Oil Environmental, we automatically adjust the grade of our product to ensure our customers receive the highest quality of gas oil throughout the year.

Keep tanks topped up

It’s important to limit the storage time of diesel fuel and keep tanks topped up to reduce airflow and empty space which can attract condensation and moisture.

Regular analysis of fuel

If contamination is not detected and treated early on, your diesel-powered engines can experience performance problems such as difficulty starting and even complete failure to start at all. Regular analysis ensures that any diesel fuel contamination is found before it becomes severely degraded in quality so it can be treated at a considerably reduced cost compared to having to buy a replacement batch of fuel. Damage to tanks and equipment through fuel stability issues will contribute to a list of expensive clean-up jobs!

Regular fuel tank cleaning

While your fuel may look healthy, it’s possible that your tank has a build-up of sludge on the bottom that you may have not been able to spot. Over time, this can build up and contaminate your fuel. Alternatively, your tank could start to become eroded which can lead to leakage into the environment, if ignored. There are a wide range of tank cleaning services available, from manual entry tank cleaning to advanced automatic tank cleaning to help keep your fuel in tiptop condition.

Fuel Management FAME

Book Your Free Site Survey

It’s imperative to be proactive when it comes to fuel management, which is why we’re offering your business one Free Site Survey to tackle any issues before they become unsalvageable.

There’s no better time than a new year to ensure your fuel remains at optimum quality, so act now and help your business avoid expensive fuel issues! Call 0330 123 3399 to speak to one of our friendly team.