Diesel fuel storage is crucial for many industries and organizations. Regular fuel quality testing is necessary to ensure high-performance standards and protect equipment from damage.
Over time, the quality of stored fuel degrades due to environmental factors. It may also become sludge-like in consistency, negatively impacting performance and equipment function.
Many diesel fuels degrade over time, impacting performance and potentially damaging equipment during storage; water, particulate matter, and sediment form in diesel fuel tanks, which cause cavitation and corrosion of fuel system components. This is exacerbated by mixing new fuel into existing diesel fuel. Fuel quality testing and best practices for storage tank maintenance helps extend the usable lifespan of stored fuel.
Oxidative stability testing reveals the strength of a fuel sample’s resistance to chemical oxidation that causes the particulate formation and sludge deposits in a storage tank or engine. Poor oxidative stability ratings mean unusable fuel that will damage equipment upon use.
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Working with diesel fuel requires an intimate understanding of its properties and dangers. This fuel is combustible and emits toxic fumes. In addition, it can be highly hazardous to people and property if spilled. Fortunately, proper storage techniques and preventive maintenance can minimize the risk of fuel leaks, tank explosions, and other hazards.
Proper fuel storage can extend the usable life of diesel fuel. Inspecting and replacing storage tanks, nozzles, and other components regularly can reduce opportunities for damage and contamination. Underground storage can also decrease exposure to heat, humidity, and other environmental influences that degrade fuel quality.
Regular fuel quality testing can also protect against unsafe and unusable fuel. Tests should include oxidative stability, cetane rating, water, sediment, and microbial content. Water molecules in fuel can cause equipment failure, while microbial growth degrades and clogs fuel systems. These tests can alert you to problems before they become an expensive liability.
Diesel fuel is more efficient than gasoline and puts a more significant percentage of the energy in your engine to work. It also produces less carbon dioxide and smog-forming nitrogen oxides.
Four-fifths of products moved through the economy rely on diesel fuel-powered trucks, trains, and ships. Most construction, farming, and military equipment run on diesel.
Routine testing of your fuel is vital for ensuring its quality. Tests measure oxidative stability, cetane rating, and other factors that impact performance. These tests are critical because poor fuel can damage equipment.
The longer stored fuel sits, the worse it gets. It may take on a thicker, sludge-like consistency that prevents vehicles from starting. It can even become corrosive to the point of damaging the fuel injection system. Additionally, water molecules can break down the chemicals in the fuel and provide a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi.
Many agencies use diesel fuel for their emergency power equipment, and the ability to source it from sustainable sources is essential. However, maintaining the pure quality of this fuel can take time due to a range of factors.
Fuel impurities can lead to poor performance in vehicles and generators, such as corrosion of fuel injectors and premature wear of engine parts. The most significant contributors to the problem are sediment buildup and water in the fuel. The latter can occur due to improper storage techniques or when condensation forms inside storage tanks and mixes with diesel fuel.
This can lead to a chemical reaction known as hydrolysis, which breaks the bonds that hold the fuel together and makes it unusable. Proper storage and routine fuel testing can reduce the number of contaminants that impact fuel quality. For example, regularly storing fuel in small quantities and keeping storage tanks full reduces the risk of contaminant growth.