Director of Fuel Quality at Guardian Fueling Technologies
For a variety of reasons, today's fuel is weaker than ever. These issues are mostly related to ethanol in gasoline and Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD). I'm not going to focus on all the reasons fuel easily contaminates in this article. Instead, I'd like to give my perspective of managing fuel storage after responding to hundreds of operational issues caused by contamination.
Refineries try to make as much spec fuel as they can for the lowest cost possible, period. That may be an oversimplification, but it's true. That fuel may not run well in your equipment and the quality can diminish in as little as 90 days in some instances, but once the fuel leaves their facility, their job is done. When it arrives in your tank, your work begins.
Without actively managing fuel quality, it will degrade, it will impact the performance of your equipment, and it will open you up to a variety of liabilities. Ask yourself what your liability would be should your equipment fail due to contaminated fuel. Is it worth it to not investigate fuel quality?
If you can, hire experts to assess your fuel and give you options. A lot of fuel quality service companies will do a tank bottom sample for free, which means free information for you. The quality of the company is important, so just like when you hire any contractor, ask for references, do your homework.
A fuel quality service company should be able to determine the condition of your fuel, offer remediation and chemical treatment options, along with third-party lab analysis to verify they've done their job correctly and are looking out for your best interest.
There are also several things you can do on your own to improve your fuel quality:
-Fill your tanks to 90% if possible. The more fuel in your tank, the less condensation created, which slows water intrusion.
-Remove water from your tank bottom whenever you can. If you stick your tank with water-detecting paste or use a tank monitoring system and you find water, hire a contractor to do a quick tank bottom sweep. This should be quick and cost-effective with minimal fuel loss.
-Buy a bacon-bomb and collect tank bottom samples yourself. A picture is above. If you do an image search for bacon-bomb, you'll just get hungry. We sell them if you're interested.
-Chemical treatment - You can boost the quality of your fuel, improve firing, and prevent bacteria growth, among other things, with chemicals. A lot of people think it's snake oil, and I'm sure there is some of that out there, but again, find a reputable company and it will help.
Consider yourself a little more informed! Now you have no excuse to not sample your tank. Preventative maintenance generally is cheaper than an emergency, plus you'll be doing a great job by ensuring your equipment is always working well.
As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions about your fuel quality.