Fuel Contamination

Fuel Contamination Removal

Fuel Contamination

Fuel contamination is a term used to typically sum up the water and bacterial microbes which inevitably find a home within your diesel and other fuels. If left untreated the contaminants will grow and eventually render the fuel in which they reside, useless. Fuel degradation can be a costly problem for businesses who don’t take precautionary steps to avoid it.

Worried about the costly problems associated with diesel bugs in your fuel?

Call 0845 872 3344 for more information and to speak with one of our fuel contamination experts.

fuel contaminationcontamination bacteria oil

Is the treatment for fuel contamination important?

The importance of regular fuel testing and analysis cannot be ignored as it ensures that any diesel fuel microbial fuel contamination is found early enough to treat and at a considerably reduced cost against buying a replacement batch of fuel. Damage to tanks and equipment through fuel stability issues may also add to a long list of very costly clean-up jobs!

fuel contamination - Microscopic analysis of the bottom sample filtered in the laboratoryIn the event of your fuel becoming contaminated by bugs, make a call to Crown Oil Environmental and we’ll advise you on what to do next. If you are unsure about the state of your fuel, give us a call and give us as much information as possible. We’ll let you know what we suggest and run our analysis to identify the problem with your fuel. Once we have a report, we’ll propose our recommendations to you.

Call 0845 872 3344 for more information about fuel contamination.

What causes stored fuel to become contaminated?

The presence of contamination in your fuel can be due to many reasons. However, condensation, atmospheric absorption and a faulty tank are some of the main issues. Sometimes you can do everything in your power to prevent fuel contaminants appearing and still receive your fuel already contaminated by your supplier.

Microbial contamination is heavily accelerated when you couple higher FAME content with lower Sulphur Content. Working on a sliding scale, as you increase the bio (FAME) content and decrease the sulphur content, the problem gets worse. It’s also worth pointing out that when water is present, bugs tend to grow at the interface between the water and the fuel. This happens as the water forms large puddles at the bottom of the tank and separates from the oil above.

Your main focus should be preparation and not falling victim to fuel contamination.

 fuel contamination services

Diesel Bugs: What you need to look out for?

Some of the diesel bug “Symptoms” or problems to look out for that are associated with contaminated fuel, are as follows:

  • Blocked Filters
  • Worn Injectors
  • Engine Failure
  • Corroded Tanks

If you are struggling to identify any of the above symptoms, or in fact don’t believe your fuel is showing them but still have concerns over its current state, then simply contact one of our fuel specialists today who will be more than happy to assist you.

Water damage in detail:

  • Dissolved water in oil – Just as water can be found pretty much anywhere, oil is no different when it comes to containing H2O. At the dissolved level, water molecules will be present throughout the oil, unseen like in the atmosphere, building up until it reaches saturation point.
  • Emulsified water in oil – Once the saturation point is met, the water within your fuel becomes emulsified. A cloudy appearance is a tell-tale sign that the water droplets have become emulsified within your diesel.
  • Free water in oil – The most developed stage in fuel contamination is when the emulsified state turns to small puddles of water. Eventually, small puddles become free flowing water within your fuel and bacterial growth becomes accelerated.

Contamination levels of fuel

  • Negligible – A low volume of microbes were found living in your fuel but, not enough to present any problems or require treatment. Note down your findings and check back on the next service.
  • Moderate – A damaging level of microbes were found in your fuel. A simple biocide treatment should decontaminate the fuel and filters will require changing.
  • Heavy – A large volume of microbes have been discovered in your fuel. A full tank inspection and subsequent manual tank clean will more than likely be required, and visible signs of tank corrosion are likely to be evident once the fuel inside the tank has been uplifted. Once the tank has been emptied and fully cleaned from the inside, the fuel uplifted from it will need to be polished before being re-uploaded, or if a fuel polish is not viable due to the state of the fuel uplifted, then fresh fuel will need to be uploaded into the cleaned tank.

Microbial growth in more detail:

Tiny bacterial microbes become present within fuel when there is a presence of water. Their growth accelerates as water becomes emulsified and free flowing. If left untreated, aerobic and anaerobic bacteria feeding on the hydrocarbons in your fuel and nutrients from the water thrive and grow.

fuel samples - fuel contamination analysis

 

Untreated, contaminated fuel can turn against its storage tank causing early deterioration, as well as damage to your fuel, machinery and engine.

Call 0845 872 3344 for more information about fuel contamination.

What fuels can become contaminated?

Any fuel which can be stored in a tank is susceptible to bacterial contamination. A list of common fuel types below can be treated for fuel contamination by us.

  • White Diesel (road diesel and derv)
  • Red Diesel (gas oil and tractor fuel)
  • Kerosene (heating oil and boiler juice)
  • Biodiesel (biomass and biofuel)

In terms of what contaminated fuel consists of, this can be made up of a number of contaminants, predominantly Hormoconis resinae (typically the lead contaminant when microbial contamination is present), bacteria, and fungi such as yeasts and moulds. Many people believe that the “Diesel Bug” (or “Fuel Fungus”) is the only sign of contamination they need to look out for. But while that may be true when simply looking for microbiological contamination issues, fuel can also be contaminated in other ways. For instance, fuel can still be deemed out of specification for use or “contaminated” if it doesn’t meet certain industry standards relating to FAME Content, Sulphur Content, Water Content, and ISO Cleanliness (which measures Particulate Content). For more information on how to test your fuel for all these forms of contamination, visit our Fuel Oil Testing section and see how we can help.

All of this can be expensive and unnecessary should you leave it to chance. An initial test of your fuel and storage tank, followed by regular checks, will help to keep your tank clean, fuel clean, as well as your machinery and equipment working at its best. Don’t let fuel contamination ruin your fuel, machinery and storage tanks.

For help and advice relating to fuel contamination and tank treatment, please call our team today on 0845 872 3344.