8 Fuel Services Proven to Protect Your Data Centre

Secure Your Power – Secure Your Data

Almost one-quarter of business generator failures are down to contaminated fuel, with IT downtime costing UK businesses around 300,000 hours per year (CA Technologies).

Imagine the horror of a power outage in a data centre and the generators not kicking in due to dirty fuel.

Without realising it, data centres have become a keystone of our lives, with the propagation of mobile computing, social media networks and a vast number of companies migrating online.

With the high prevalence of technology and computer systems, the importance of data centre reliability and uptime is heightened.

Data centre backup power

Your data centre is only as reliable as its backup power source and the fuel feeding it

In the event of an emergency such as extreme weather, poor infrastructure or even cyber-attacks, a backup generator’s job is to kick in when there’s a loss in power. A generator can accept substantial load steps following a power outage, meaning they can be quickly brought online to gain control of a site’s USP system.

If a generator loses power, for even a fraction of a second, a complete restart is needed, which can result in a myriad of problems, such as system downtime, start-up problems and a loss of information.

For every minute of downtime, your company loses revenue

This is simply not an option, particularly when public safety, business continuity, health and national security are at risk. A continuous supply of power is critical for operations, which is why it’s essential to bolster the security of your diesel-powered generator with regular health checks and maintenance of its fuel reserve, tanks and pipework.

Changes in diesel

With biodegradable content in gas oil constantly on the rise, your diesel is becoming increasingly more unstable, making it prone to accelerated repolymerisation and microbial contamination.

When fuel is left dormant over a period of time, water forms which can cause sludge and harmful bacteria build up as a result of condensation. Bacteria then grows at the interface between the fuel and water and accumulates large puddles on the bottom of the tank, separating from the oil above and leading to a decrease in shelf life.

HVO fuel is a renewable fuel and is in many cases a direct replacement for regular diesel. It has up to a 10-year shelf life compared to 1 year for regular diesel and therefore needs less maintenance when in storage. Data centres should consider this fossil-free fuel to enable storing fuel for longer periods in addition to reducing your environmental impact.

What effects can poor quality fuel have on your business?

If the diesel is not maintained when in storage, failure to keep fuel clean will cause tank corrosion, failure in injectors and fuel pumps, and ultimately, bad fuel economy.

In a data centre, the consequence can be catastrophic, as a generator’s critical assets can be subsided if diesel becomes too badly contaminated to provide power. This can ultimately lead to a loss in critical data, which necessitates the need to manage stored diesel regularly. 

System downtime from contaminated fuel

A survey carried out by the Uptime Institute on 900 operators and IT practitioners found that there has been an increase in outages experienced by data centres in the past year. Almost half of the respondents had experienced IT downtime, taking between 1 and 4 hours to fully recover systems.

System downtime from human error

May Bank Holiday 2017 saw absolute bedlam for thousands of travellers when a British Airways (BA) data centre outage caused over 400 flights to be cancelled. A downtime in power supply led to a power surge that significantly damaged critical IT equipment and saw 75,000 passengers stranded. In total, it is alleged to have cost up to $112 million in refunds, compensation and loss of productivity and future revenues.

System downtime from extreme weather

In 2018, a violent storm in Texas caused an interruption in grid power to Microsoft’s San Antonio Azure data centre, which caused cooling systems to go offline, equipment to become damaged and the Active Directory and Visual Studio Team Services to be down for nearly 24 hours.

So, it’s not surprising that downtime is a familiar, yet fearful topic in the industry. This is a prime example of when data centre owners and operators discover all too late that they hadn’t treated their fuel systems as part of a mission-critical system.

So, what can be done to protect your critical facility?

When in doubt, ask the experts! Here at Crown Oil Environmental, we understand that data centres require 100% power reliability, 365 days a year. We know how important data is, which is why we offer a wide range of innovative services to help ensure that your data centre doesn’t go dark.

Free site survey

Are you unsure which of our services are best going to benefit your data centre? We’re a leading provider of cutting-edge planned preventative maintenance, so we know a thing or two about protecting your data centre and its data. We can arrange for our technicians to conduct a survey of your premises to determine which planned preventative maintenance services you’re in need of.

Our survey includes:

  • OFTEC-standard testing of tanks, pipework and related fuel supply infrastructure
  • Fuel and lubricant sampling and analysis
  • Assessment of your business’s general fuel needs

With these results, we can recommend a preventative maintenance strategy, perfectly suited to the needs of your site. Call our specialist team on 0330 123 3399 to arrange a site survey.

Fuel oil testing

An integral part of any fuel management plan is regular fuel sampling and analysis. The reliability of your generators depends on the quality of your fuel. If fuel has been lay dormant over time, it can degrade in quality, and lead to a generator not kicking in. Good quality fuel is vital in keeping your equipment running during a critical emergency.

While visual inspection is beneficial, thorough sampling and laboratory analysis is crucial to be able to offer a thorough and detailed assessment of the condition of your fuel to evade downtime, environmental impact and the significant cost of system failure.

With regular testing, you’ll never be caught off-guard by imperfections in your fuel. With each test, our technicians will produce a comprehensive report, detailing its chemical composition, including:

  • Sulphur content
  • FAME content
  • Water content
  • Particulate content (ISO / NAS)
  • Density at 15 degrees Celsius
  • Viscosity at 40 degrees Celsius
  • Flashpoint
  • Microbial contamination level

With this information, we will recommend the most cost-effective planned preventative measures to circumvent issues before they even have the chance to arise.

Fuel polishing

Fuel polishing is an intensive but non-disruptive service that can restore your supply back to an optimised state, ensuring you can rely on it when you need it most. This is a much cheaper option than having to buy a costly replacement batch of fuel.

Using the most advanced fuel cleaning technology available, we can easily remove water, sediment and microbial contamination from your fuel supply.

  • With our specialised polishing units, we’ll filter out every variety of fuel contaminant, including:
  • Water
  • Bacteria (diesel bug)
  • Solid particulates (rust, soot etc.)
  • Wet foreign matter (sludge)

Our state-of-the-art units can polish up to 25,000 litres of fuel per hour to an industry-best filtration level of 1 micron absolute, restoring your diesel to ISO 4406 standards of cleanliness. This service breathes new life into your supply, saving you the waste, cost and hassle of a complete fuel replacement.

If the quality of your fuel has degraded beyond repair, it’s critical for you to replace it as soon as possible before a power failure occurs and further damage is done to your system’s components.

With our fuel uplift service, we can quickly and safely remove any quantity of contaminated diesel and replace it with a fresh supply, securing the efficacy of your backup generator. Better still, we will responsibly dispose of your old supply and recommend a planned preventative maintenance strategy to prevent your fuel from degrading significantly again in future.

Tank and pipework cleaning and testing

“Customers wish they had invested in their tanks before their business becomes affected. The UK network is reliable, but as the nation’s reliance on the grid increases, as does the switchover to generators. If fuel is substandard and this goes into a generator, the impact is catastrophic” says Head of Crown Oil Environmental, Chris Beatty.

Depending on the level of contamination, our engineers can clean your tank, from man-entry to advanced automatic tank cleaning, to remove any signs of sludge build-up. If the fuel is badly contaminated and the tank has begun to corrode significantly, putting fresh fuel back into the same tank will only contaminate it again.

Our experts weigh up the best options to ensure you get the most out of your fuel and tanks. If not salvageable, we can replace your damaged tank with a new one, as we have a wide range of fuel tanks on hand.

Data centre fuel management

“If I had to choose only one ‘weakest’ point, it would be fuel management – again, an area where human error (by doing little) will be the root cause” said Professor Ian Bitterlin, Leeds University and Critical Facilities Consulting Ltd.

When a disaster strikes and the power goes off, data centres rely heavily on a backup generator to get things back online. But to ensure that happens, you’ll need continuous backup power.

Crown Oil’s fuel management service enables fuel levels to be monitored to avoid businesses running out of fuel; this is particularly salient for data centres in a time-sensitive environment.

Priority Contract Service

As a fuel-dependent organisation that seeks to minimise the risk of running out of generator fuel, our priority contract service is a must. For a single annual fee, we can guarantee emergency fuel deliveries to your site, whenever the need arises.

We’ll agree a time limit within which all deliveries will reach you from the moment you place an order, to ensure you can count on your fuel delivery to arrive on time, every time.

Nationwide data centre fuel supply

We understand that continuity is imperative, as downtime puts you and your customers at risk. No matter where your data centre is located, we can guarantee a consistent supply of fuel for when you need us most. With a large number of oil depots located throughout the UK, your supply will be with you before downtime disaster.

Emergency fuel service for data centres

In the event of a power outage, every second counts, so it’s important that you receive a supply quickly. Our emergency fuel delivery service is vital for any company that requires 100% uptime and data centres are no exception. With our 24/7 emergency fuel delivery service, you can trust that we will provide dependable power from start to finish, with deliveries made all day, every day.

We’re here to help

At Crown Oil Environmental, we offer highly effective planned preventative maintenance (PPM) services to businesses seeking to eliminate the possibility of costly downtime due to fuel-related generator failure. 

As a subsidiary division of long-established oil suppliers Crown Oil, we bring over 70 years’ experience to bear on our customer’s environmental needs. With our commitment to providing state-of-the-art, engineered solutions to the problems data centres face, it’s no surprise we’re trusted by hundreds of businesses across the UK to secure a safe home for their data.

To find out more about any of our services, call our specialist team today on 0330 123 3399 to see how we can help.

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