• 232 NE Middlefield Rd, Portland, OR 97211

  • (503) 283-1256

Posts Tagged :

dirty fuel

Emergency Back-up Fuel 150 150 Star Oilco

Emergency Back-up Fuel

Do you need your Emergency Back Up generator filled?

Back-up Fuel Tank

We have drivers on the road today. If you need your generator fueled give us a call.

Spring is here and summer is around the corner.  Be prepared for an emergency now.

When was the last time you had your generator filled?

Open an account with Star Oilco today and be prepared for the next power outage.

Recent wind, snow storms and power outages could mean your generators are empty.  Are you prepared for the next emergency?  Did you fill up from the last?  Keeping your back-up generator fueled could be the difference between an inconvenience and a disaster.  Stay ahead of the next emergency and re-fuel now.

Remember that ordering diesel for your generator is a specialized service.

Getting the fuel for your generator or emergency equipment is only one part of the problem.  How you store it can be just as important.  This is why its important to work with a company that can help you.

You want to stabilize and treat your diesel for generators and other back up equipment.

Order fuel treated for long term storage!

Star Oilco is an expert at fueling back-up generators, emergency water pumps, and other long term off-road diesel storage requirements. We understand, that in the Pacific Northwest, biodiesel blending is required by state laws. Bio-diesel will need  an extra layer of care when stored as a back-up fuel.Filling a Generator in the Snow

Most off-road diesels and heating oils are ultra low sulfur diesel containing at least 5% quantity of biodiesel.  That means long term storage requires a proactive approach.  You can’t just hope it works, or wait to see if the fuel will burn after years of storage.

Proper Generator Fuel is a specially treated oxidative stabilized off-road fuel designed to store for years.

Fuel for a backup generator is a specialized product. More than just the fuel, the service itself takes a vendor who understands your needs and can keep you up and running in an emergency.

Generators take off-road diesel, of course, but you want an ultra low sulfur diesel to ensure it works with modern emission systems. Some companies may deliver a higher sulfur heating oil product that looks the same but can foul the emission systems of your equipment.

Beyond just the service provided by a truck and driver, you also want a vendor who offers a fuel stabilizer and biocide for the special long term storage needs of your backup generator. Star Oilco recommends you add a biocide and long term storage stabilizer to your fuel to ensure it is good whenever you need it.

Use additives designed to prolong the life of your emergency diesel fuel.

Biocides prevent the growth of biological activity in the tank. In scenarios whcontaminated_dieselere micro-organisms like algae, bacteria, yeasts, and other bugs are growing in your fuel, biocides can kill this growth. It is still important to remove the residual grit and other contaminants that are the hallmark of bugs growing in your tank. Usually you remove them by filtration or total turn over of the fuel. If your tank absolutely has to be clean, you can contract a tank professional to enter the tank and physically clean the tank bottom or reline the tank with either fiberglass or an epoxy resin.  We use Valvtect Bioguard Plus 6 for generators, emergency water pumps, backup boiler fuel, and other long term storage purposes. This product kills any existing biological growth and stabilizes your fresh diesel fuel for long term storage. Make sure your diesel is ready the next time you need backup power.

Water in diesel destroys fuel quality rapidly. Check your tank for water every fall and spring.

In events where water finds its way into your storage tank, that can also be corrected by pumping the tank bottom. Additionally, you want to put in an absorbent material designed to absorb water and not fuel. If your long term storage tank has water and you are not planning to burn 100% of the fuel in the near future, DO NOT add anything that removes water by distributing into the fuel. Adding a “fuel drier” that actually pushes the water into solution with the diesel will worsen the long term quality of your fuel, not improve it. That water is where bugs find their home to grow in fuel.

Star Oilco will test your fuel at no charge if you have an open account.

Feel free to call us with any questions you may have about long term storage of diesel. Star Oil can also deliver treated diesel ready for long term storage complete with Hydrotex PowerKleen Premium Diesel additive to improve the long term storage quality of your fuel. For biocide, we use Valvtect BioGuard fuel microbiocide to kill any possible biological activity and prevent any chance of it starting.

Diesel Testing and Storage in Portland

If you have a long term diesel storage tank and you are in the Portland, Oregon area, we are here to test your fuel.  Make sure your diesel is there for you when disaster strikes.

Tank Testing Form

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

 

For more reading on diesel fuel quality assurance:

Fight Humbug in your Diesel Tank (using Valvtect Bioguard Plus 6 to stabalize your stored diesel)

Diesel Fuel Technical Review (an easy to read and free text book on diesel fuel)

Emergency Back Up Generator Fuel Quality (designed to provide a checklist to help Facility Managers keep those back up generators ready for emergency action)

Using Desicant Breathers to keep diesel fuel dry and clean (an introductory primer on desicant breathers and how they can be used to keep long term diesel storage drier and cleaner)

Using Diesel Filters to clean up your diesel fuel quality (an introductory primer on using aggressive filtration in line with diesel fuel dispensing for fuel quality assurance)

What Do I Need to Know About Long Term Diesel Storage? 150 150 Star Oilco

What Do I Need to Know About Long Term Diesel Storage?

Here’s good advice if you are relying on diesel as a back up fuel in the Pacific NW.

[KGVID]https://www.staroilco.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Bugs-Kill-Equipment.mp4[/KGVID]

Now is the time to refill and treat your back up fuel tanks.

Diesel as a back up fuel

Quite a bit of our business at Star Oilco is fueling back-up generators, emergency water pumps, refrigerated trailers and other long term off-road diesel storage requirements. In the Pacific Northwest, biodiesel blending is required by state laws and you need to take an extra duty of care when storing diesel as a back-up fuel.

This means that most off-road diesels and heating oils are ultra low sulfur diesel containing a small quantity of biodiesel.  That means long term storage requires a proactive approach.  You can’t just hope and wait to see what the fuel begins to look after years of storage.

Technical advice from Government Fleet Magazine to help you with storing diesel fuel.

Here is an article from Government Fleet Magazine on the subject which runs through the specifics of long term storage and what causes fuel to degrade when stored.  Government Fleet Magazine – How to Maintain Stored Diesel Fuel.

Star Oilco has also worked up a PDF check list on how to verify if your fuel is in need of freshening or is still in emergency ready shape.  If you are a customer of ours, we will deliver a laminated card version to keep next to your back up generator. If you are not a customer (or outside of our service area) drop us a message below and we will gladly email you the PDF.

For our customers, we recommend that you check the tank bottom fuel quality on an annual basis to make sure the product looks good. If the tank has sat for years and is dark in color (good diesel is bright and transparent – you will notice if it is in bad shape), we recommend pumping the tank out at least partially and replacing with fresh fuel. Often you can also hugely improve the quality of the fuel by polishing the fuel. Polishing is when you circulate fuel from the bottom of the tank through a pump, filter repeatedly in order to remove any sediment or growth from the fuel, and then place this fuel back in the same tank.

Look at your fuel for a bright and clear color.

For stored fuel, you also want to make sure it is stabilized and contains a biocide. Stabilizers prevent the oxidation of the fuel and prevent the effect of metals like lead, copper and zinc, which can react and degrade fuel. For heating oil systems with a return line, for instance, the fuel is flowing through a copper line to the furnace and then back to the tank in a return line.

Use additives designed to prolong the life of your emergency diesel fuel.

Biocides prevent the growth of biological activity in the tank. In scenarios whcontaminated_dieselere micro-organisms like algae, bacteria, yeasts, and other bugs are growing in your fuel, biocides can kill this growth. It is still important to remove the residual grit and other contaminants that are the hallmark of bugs growing in your tank. Usually you remove them by filtration or total turn over of the fuel. If your tank absolutely has to be clean, you can contract a tank professional to enter the tank and physically clean the tank bottom or reline the tank with either fiberglass or an epoxy resin.

Water in diesel destroys fuel quality rapidly. Check your tank for water every fall and spring.

In events where water finds its way into your storage tank, that can also be corrected by pumping the tank bottom. Additionally, you want to put in an absorbent material designed to absorb water and not fuel. If your long term storage tank has water and you are not planning to burn 100% of the fuel in the near future, DO NOT add anything that removes water by distributing into the fuel. Adding a “fuel drier” that actually pushes the water into solution with the diesel will worsen the long term quality of your fuel, not improve it. That water is where bugs find their home to grow in fuel.

Star Oilco will test your fuel at no charge if you have an open account.

Feel free to call us with any questions you may have about long term storage of diesel. Star Oil can also deliver treated diesel ready for long term storage complete with Hydrotex PowerKleen Premium Diesel additive to improve the long term storage quality of your fuel. For biocide, we use Valvtect BioGuard fuel microbiocide to kill any possible biological activity and prevent any chance of it starting.

Diesel Testing and Storage in Portland

If you have a long term diesel storage tank and you are in the Portland, Oregon area, we are here to test your fuel.  Make sure your diesel is there for you when disaster strikes.

Tank Testing Form

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

 

For more reading on diesel fuel quality assurance:

Fight Humbug in your Diesel Tank (using Valvtect Bioguard Plus 6 to stabalize your stored diesel)

Diesel Fuel Technical Review (an easy to read and free text book on diesel fuel)

Emergency Back Up Generator Fuel Quality (designed to provide a checklist to help Facility Managers keep those back up generators ready for emergency action)

Using Desicant Breathers to keep diesel fuel dry and clean (an introductory primer on desicant breathers and how they can be used to keep long term diesel storage drier and cleaner)

Using Diesel Filters to clean up your diesel fuel quality (an introductory primer on using aggressive filtration in line with diesel fuel dispensing for fuel quality assurance)

Emergency Back-Up Generator Fuel Quality Assurance 150 150 Star Oilco

Emergency Back-Up Generator Fuel Quality Assurance

Emergency Back Up Generator Diesel Fuel Quality

The fuel in your generator is the single most overlooked item in maintaining a back up generator.  Be prepared and know your back up generator diesel fuel quality is ready with these best practices.

When the power goes out, don’t let a decade old tank of diesel be your weak link.

 

Diesel Generator Fueling Service

As a provider of back up generator fueling services we know how critical fuel is in an emergency.

Back up generators are everywhere when you start looking for them.  Rarely needed but when a storm or disaster strikes their failure to fire will be extremely conspicuous. In the Pacific Northwest where resilience planning around a major subduction zone earthquake is a monthly subject of talk.  Back up diesel will be the only immediately power source after a quake.  Diesel generators are taking center stage for emergency preparedness, placing those who maintain them in some high level policy discussions.

Avoid a double emergency when the back up power isn’t there for your need by focusing on the diesel fuel quality.

The worst case scenario for fuel quality is water getting into your diesel fuel reservoir as well as biological growth occurring in that water logged diesel. If water is present in diesel, and that diesel is in a warm dark place, bacteria will start growing in your tank. So first preventive step is watch for water.  The most likely problem with fuel you will see is the fuel aging and degrading in place over years of not being used.  That can be addressed with your routine maintenance on the tank.

CIM-TEK water absorber

NOTE: To get a small amount of water or to ensure a dryer tank of fuel, CIM TEK makes a Tank Dryer which absorbs a small amount of water in a tank. Handy similar to adding a desiccant into a closet with a slight condensation issue. 

Back up power generator diesel fuel quality.

The big rule for storing back up generator fuel is to make sure the diesel you use is clean and dry.

First ensure you are testing the generator by running it once a month.  Move fuel through the system and ensure the generator is starting right up. Run the generator for a while to use up fuel and be prepared to order a regular top off when you get below 3/4th of a tank. When checking the fluids on the generator prior to start up see if the fuel filter has a visual transparent bottom where you can see what the fuel looks like there. If it looks like dirty fuel or there is evidence of water take notice.  After cycling the generator take a peek and make sure the fuel it’s pulling into the generator is bright (not dark and degraded).  If you are seeing any water (even a small drop) that is an indication of real concerns.

If you are using up half a tank a year and adding to it, the fuel quality will usually stay within specification.  If you have worries the easiest way is to just start over. With older generators sometimes it’s a good idea to just evacuate the tank (empty all the older diesel fuel) and replace it with fresh diesel treated and stabilized for long term storage.

Most back up generators are seeing routine annual maintenance where the mechanical needs of the equipment are walked through. If this is occurring ask for a bottom sample from the back up generators fuel tank. Also ask to see what the fuel in the bottom of the fuel filter (assuming they are changing that) would give an indication if problems might exist deep in the fuel tank.

Back Up Diesel Generator Fuel Service

Sampling and Onsite Testing of Fuel from Generator Diesel Tank:

  1. Pull sample from tank bottom
    1. Use a professional “Bacon-Bomb Sampler” (google it to see one) or a small fuel transfer pump available at any auto parts store.
  2. Visually inspect it by swirling it in a beaker or mason jar.
    • Look for water and dirt fall out as you swirl.  If you see a few drops of water form you’ve got a water problem. If you are seeing coffee ground type material in the fuel, that’s biological growth. If an algal or gunk type slime appears, that’s also biological growth.
    • If clear like cranberry juice and bright – your fuel is in good shape.  If a darker cherry color yet still clear, your fuel is aging and you should consider swapping or burning fuel off in the next year.
  3. If fuel is dark in color (showing that it is aging in the tank) you can send that sample to a lab to test it. You want to ensure you are confirming the following:
    • Oxidation Stability (or Accelerated Stability)
    • Water Content in PPM (under 50 PPM is what you want, under 100 PPM is not uncommon, and over 100 PPM there is probably water in the fuel and you want to pursue remedial action.)
    • Make sure the fuel testing lab you are using (your current fuel vendor should have a recommendation or do it for free for you) is checking for:
      • oxidative stability (if it’s aging out of specification),
      • biological growth (if bugs are growing in it),
      • water content (indicating a puddle someplace in the tank causing higher water content in the fuel) and,
      • dirt content of the fuel (if there is dirt, there is probably biological growth or some other problem).
  4. Set aside sample in a warm dark place for a month and check it for biological growth occurring which will confirm if you have fuel growing inside the tank.
    • How to test diesel for biological growth In-House:
      • Take your sample that appears to be in great condition and set it aside in a warm dark place for a month (day light kills most biological growth in fuel, though day light ages your diesel in other ways).
      • When you come back to look at the sample, if a film or layer of darker color is appearing in the fuel, this is biological growth occurring.
      • If you see nothing and want to experiment further, add a slight amount of water to this sample, shake it up, and put it back in a warm dark place.
      • When you check back if there is a a new layer of darker color on the surface of where the water contacts the fuel, that’s what grows in your tank.
      • If nothing grows, your fuel is safely stabilized for storage this year. Even if water is finding its way into your fuel tank, the fuel is safe and will be ready to start.
        • NOTE: Do not leave water in your tank, even if the fuel looks good. Eventually it will be a major problem and something will grow. If you are putting biocide in your tank regularly and their is an environment for growth, something resistant to that biocide will take root and you WILL NOT be able to get it out of the tank without serious effort.

NOTE: If you are curious to see a fuel lab analysis of the diesel this is an example.  This is a lab analysis from Hydrotex, Star Oilco’s premium diesel additive provider.  They are very supportive in testing everything we send them for quality assurance. 

 

Do you have questions about generator diesel fuel storage?

If you have questions about fuel storage, Star Oilco has answers.  Star Oilco does not do tank cleaning, we still will help you figure out what you need to do in order to have the result you need.

Contact Form

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

 

For more on Diesel Fuel Quality Assurance please see these other Star Oilco articles:

Desiccant breathers, dry diesel, and keeping your diesel fuel clean.

Every question Star Oilco has been asked about dyed diesel.

Keep and make your diesel fuel cleaner. 

Bioguard Plus 6, Kill and prevent biological growth in your diesel fuel storage tank.

 

About Diesel Fuel 150 150 Star Oilco

About Diesel Fuel

Bulk Diesel Fuel Frequently Asked Questions

Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel is 15 PPMDyed Off-Road Diesel

Where your diesel comes from and what you need to know about ASTM Diesel Standards and ISO cleanliness code.

Where do Pacific Northwest vendors get their fuel?

In the Pacific Northwest, diesel is fungible. Everyone buys their fuel from each other in some way or another.  

This means that every refiner is typically expecting to mix their diesel and gasoline products. The real difference is in the care a vendor takes to filter the fuel, additize and continuously check their fuel quality. If you are buying at the absolute lowest price possible, know that there is an incentive to skip any added value of quality assurance.

Through its Pacific Operations unit, Kinder Morgan operates approximately 3,000 miles of refined products pipeline that serves Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and Texas. With roots dating back to 1956, it is the largest products pipeline in the Western U.S., transporting more than one million barrels per day of gasoline, jet fuel and diesel fuel to our customers. The company-owned terminals also provide additional services, such as liquid petroleum product storage and loading facilities for delivery trucks.

Diesel Fuels

In the United States, diesel fuel is controlled according the American Society for Testing and Materials Standard D975-97.  This standard describes a limited number of properties that diesel fuels must meet.  It should be noted that the requirements are all performance- based.  They do not mandate the composition of the fuel, only the specific performance related requirements demanded of a fuel for a diesel engine.  The requirements of D975 are described below. 

ASTM Specifications for Diesel Fuel Oils (D975)*

* You can go to the source of ASTM HERE if you have an interest in really getting in depth.

Diesel fuel is characterized in the United States by the ASTM standard D975.  This standard identifies five grades of diesel fuel. We are only going to talk about the two most popular commercially diesel fuel used — No 1 and No. 2 diesel. The ASTM D975 standard is made up of a series of different tests that check the characteristic ranges of a fuel to confirm it is adequate to operate in your equipment. In simple terms, they are checking for specific gravity, the vapor point (when it turns into a gas), the flash point (when it catches fire), the dirt content, water content (how much microscopic entrained water), and a host of other requirements diesel must meet in order to be legal to be sold for use in your engine.

Grade No. 1-D and Ultra-Low Sulfur 1-D: This is a light distillate fuel for applications requiring a higher volatility fuel to accommodate rapidly fluctuating loads and speeds, as in light trucks and buses. The specification for this grade of diesel fuel overlaps with kerosene and jet fuel, and all three are commonly produced from the same base stock. One major use for No. 1-D diesel fuel is to blend with No. 2-D during winter to provide improved cold flow properties.  Ultra Ultra-Low sulfur fuel is required for on-highway use with sulfur level < 0.05%. 

Grade No. 2-D and Ultra-Low Sulfur 2-D:  This is a middle- or mid-grade distillate fuel for applications that do not require a high volatility fuel. Typical applications include high-speed engines that operate for sustained periods at high load. Ultra-Low sulfur fuel is required for on-highway use with sulfur level < 0.05%.

RecologyDealing with Dirty Fuel and Today’s Tier 4 Engines

Water and dirt are the biggest concerns for fuel quality. Why? Because no matter how perfect fuel is refined, these two elements can find their way into fuel and crash its performance. Water and dirt often build up in tanks just from the temperature change between night and day, causing a bulk fuel tank to breathe. Condensation and dust can also find their way into a bulk storage tank. If not addressed, they build up and will cause mechanical failures.

Dirty fuel will cause premature parts failure in equipment of any age. But newer equipment has far tighter tolerances than what we saw in previous decades. Today’s new and improved Tier 4 rail injector engines are more efficient, they burn cleaner, and run better, they are more powerful than ever before. But there are things that make fuel quality more important than ever. Because of the extremely high pressures (upwards of 35,000psi at the injector tip), the possibility of damage from dirty wet fuel is more prevalent than ever. This damage is much more pronounced in newer equipment with High Pressure Common Rail (HPCR) fuel systems. Hard particulate is commonly referred to as “dirt,” but is in fact made up of a wide variety of materials found at job sites (coal, iron, salt, etc.), generated by fuel tanks and lines (rust, corrosion, etc.) and inside engines (carbonaceous materials and wear particles).

Frequent diesel fuel filter changes — as well as the expensive, and time consuming, task of cleaning diesel fuel tanks — have become acceptable periodic maintenance, instead of a warning signal, for diesel engine failure. Diesel fuel filter elements should last a thousand hours or more, and injectors should endure 15,000 hours. However, since diesel fuel is inherently unstable, solids begin to form and the accumulating tank sludge will eventually clog your diesel fuel filters, ruin your injectors and cause diesel engines to smoke.

Symptoms

  • Clogged and slimy filters
  • Dark, hazy fuel
  • Floating debris in tanks
  • Sludge build up in tanks
  • Loss of power and RPM
  • Excessive smoke
  • Corroded, pitted injectors
  • Foul odor

The solids that form as the result of the inherent instability of the diesel fuel and the debris formed in the natural process of fuel degradation will accumulate in the bottom of your fuel tank. The sludge will form a coating or “bio-film” on the walls and baffles of the fuel tank, plug your fuel filters, adversely impact combustion efficiency, produce dark smoke from the exhaust, form acids that degrade injectors and fuel pumps, and impact performance. Eventually, fouled diesel fuel will clog fuel lines and ruin your equipment.

The Bigger Picture: ISO (International Standardization Organization)ISO Chart 1

In today’s world, the definition of what constitutes clean or dirty fuel is critically important and, as such, fuel cleanliness levels are now measured and reported according to the ISO Cleanliness Code 4406:1999. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) created the cleanliness code to quantify particulate contamination levels per milliliter of fluid at three sizes: 4μ, 6μ, 14μ. Microns.

Fuel Cleanliness vs. Engine Technology

Fuel cleanliness levels using the ISO4406:1999 method were officially documented as a global standard only as recently as 1998 with the development of the Worldwide Fuels Charter (WWFC). Since its inception, the charter has established a minimum cleanliness level for each of the diesel fuels under various available categories around the world.

Most mainstream engine OEM’s now subscribe to these standards. Interestingly (and somewhat troubling to note), however, is that fuel cleanliness levels as specified by engine OEM’s and the WWFC have not changed since their inception in 1998, despite the enormous advances in fuel injection technology. This relationship is best represented in the previous table that identifies the advances in fuel injection systems and clearly highlights how OEM’s and the WWFC have not responded to reduce fuel cleanliness in accordance with advancements in technology.

Diesel Fuel Injection – Advancing Technologies & Cleanliness Levels

ISO Chart 4This table  identifies that, over time, fuel injector critical clearances have halved and fuel pressures have doubled, yet the level of fuel cleanliness being specified has not changed in accordance with such advancements. In fact, the same cleanliness levels specified in 2000 are still being used today despite these magnificent technological design advancements by engine manufacturers worldwide.

Leading fuel injector manufacturers around the world have clearly identified and communicated that they require ULSD fuels with ISO fuel cleanliness levels as low as ISO12/9/6 to maintain ultimate performance and reliability. It is here where we see an enormous mismatch in what the fuel injection OEM desires as a fuel cleanliness level, to what the engine OEM’s and the WWFC are advising the industry. The following table identifies the discrepancies in fuel cleanliness levels.

Diesel Cleanliness Levels

 ISO Chart 3                        

 

 

 

 

 

WWFC Diesel Category Fuel Cleanliness Standards                                                                                                      ISO Chart 5

 

 

 

 

Damage Caused by Hard Particulate

Hard particulates cause problems with moving parts in the fuel system. This can lead to starting problems, poor engine performance, idling issues and, potentially, complete engine failure. All too common, hard particulates damage engines.

The spray pattern generated by the HPCR injector is critical for proper combustion and overall fuel system performance. (1) sm-injector-with-red-light-Bosch

It must be extremely precise in terms of quantity, distribution and timing. Ball seat valves are sealed with balls that are only 1mm in diameter. A good seal is absolutely necessary for proper injection. Damage from erosive wear, such as shown below, will cause over fueling, leading to decreased fuel efficiency and eventually shut you down altogether.

hpcr injector damaged by hard particulate(3) high-pressure-fuel-system-wear

Pump performance can also be compromised by scoring and abrasive wear. These issues are magnified by tighter tolerances and extreme pressures in HPCR engines. In these circumstances, it is the smallest particles (1-5 microns in size) that cause the most damage, virtually sand blasting part surfaces.

Allowable Levels of Hard Particulate 

(4) dirt-in-vs-allowed-in-1000-gal-dieselIn some parts of the world, 10,000 gallons (38,000 liters) of “typical” diesel contains 1-1/2 lbs (700 grams) of hard particulate; this is 1000 times more than the 1/4 oz. (0.7 grams) per 10,000 gallons (38,000 liters) that is allowed by the cleanliness requirements of high pressure common rail fuel systems. In reality, there is no “OK” level of hard particulate. Injector manufacturers are very clear that damage caused by hard particulate reaching the engine is not a factory defect, but rather the result of dirty diesel that is not fit for use in HPCR fuel systems. At the end of the day, the end user is responsible for the fuel he puts into his equipment, and the consequences thereof.

How Dirt Enters Fuel

Dust and dirt are all around us, especially on job sites. Diesel fuel is fairly clean when it leaves the refinery but becomes contaminated each time it is transferred or stored. Below you will find some of the key contributors of fuel contamination:

Pipelines: Most pipelines are not new, and certainly not in pristine condition. Corrosion inhibitors are added at most refineries to help protect pipelines, but rust and other hard particulate is nevertheless picked up by the fuel that flows through them.

Barges and rail cars: How often are they drained and scrubbed out? What was in the last load? Where did it come from? How much of it was still in the tank when your load was picked up? How long was it in transit? Is the tank hermetically sealed? There are many opportunities for contaminants to make their way into the fuel.

Terminal tanks: Terminal tanks usually see a high rate of turnover, so there is not much time for the fuel to pick-up contamination from outside ingress. Has the tank ever received a “bad load” from a pipeline or a barge? Has larger dirt had a chance to settle on the bottom of the tank? How often has it been cleaned out? Was it just filled? Did the bottom get churned up in the process? How full was the tank when your fuel was loaded into the delivery truck? There are many variables that can affect fuel cleanliness.

Delivery trucks: All the same issues that apply to stationary tanks also apply to tanker trucks, except that truck tanks never get a chance to settle. In addition, have you ever considered how much dirt gets into that tanker while it is delivering fuel to a customer, potentially a customer in an extremely dusty environment? As fuel flows out, air is sucked in to displace it. Is there anything protecting the inside of the tank from all the dust in the air? Generally not. Venting is typically completely unprotected, as seen in the image to the right.

Storage tanks: Onsite bulk storage tanks typically see less rapid turn-over than terminal tanks. In addition to those issues, yard and jobsite tanks can also develop serious problems with other sources of contamination, such as the ingress of dirt and water, condensation, rust, corrosion, microbial growth, glycerin fall-out and additive instability. Time and temperature become big factors affecting fuel quality.

Dispensing process: How far does your diesel need to travel between the bulk tank and the dispenser? The more pipe it runs though, the more potential there is for contamination. Are your dispenser nozzles kept clean? Are they ever dropped on the ground? Then what? What about the vehicles’ fuel tank inlets, are they clean? Think about the extremely tight tolerances in your fuel system, then take another look at housekeeping issues. You will see them through new eyes.

Onboard fuel tanks: Contamination continues even after the fuel is in the equipment. What has that tank seen in the past? Has it been left stagnant for long periods? What kind of protection is there on the equipment’s air intake vents? Heavy equipment does hard, dirty work.

Engines: Unfortunately, even if the fuel in your tank could be perfect, additional contamination is generated by the fuel system itself. Wear particles are created by mechanical friction. High heat and extreme pressure generated inside the modern engine, lead to coking and the creation of carbon products at the injector. Much of this internally-produced particulate is returned to the fuel tank, along with the unburned diesel.

The Bottom Line

No one gets special fuel, no one has better fuel, no one has cleaner fuel. Diesel fuel vendors get the same fuel, from the same pipeline, delivered to the same terminals. We all wait in the same lines with our tank trucks to get that same fuel. So ask yourself: Given that the fuel is the same, what sets one vendor apart from all the others? Star Oilco Premium Diesel fuel is treated with Hydrotex PowerKleen® additive running through Donaldson filtration systems.

Clean, dry, premium diesel

FURTHER READING ON DIESEL FUEL:

Read about Star Oilco’s approach to Fuel Quality Assurance: Star Oilco – Precision Fuel Management

Read about dealing with biological growth in your diesel tank: Bioguard Plus 6 biocide treatment for diesel

Get Chevron’s Technical Manual to Diesel Fuel (essentially an easy to read text book on diesel): Chevron’s Fuel Technical Review

Get a white paper from Donaldson Filtration on tier 4 engines and fuel cleanliness: Donaldson on Tier 4 Engine Fuel Contamination

Read more about Donaldson Desiccant Breathers for bulk diesel tanks: Why use a Donaldson Desiccant Breather for a bulk diesel storage tank.

Bulk diesel desiccant filters, dry fuel, and keeping your diesel fuel clean. 150 150 Star Oilco

Bulk diesel desiccant filters, dry fuel, and keeping your diesel fuel clean.

Bulk diesel fuel delivery and storage best practice.

Use Desiccant Breathers and Premium Diesel additives to improve your diesel performance and reduce maintenance cost.

 

Save tens of thousands on fleet maintenance costs!

How? Clean, dry, and premium-treated diesel.

Reduce injector wear and particulate trap service needs with simple steps focused on fuel quality. Get the water and dirt out of your fuel with aggressive filtration and then upgrade the fuel’s lubricity, detergency, cetane, and performance with Hyrdrotex Power Kleen premium diesel.

Call Star Oilco if you want to permanently solve bulk diesel quality issues with our Precision Fuel Management program.

Do you have a bulk diesel storage tank?

Does that tank seem to have water in the bottom of it and you can’t seem to figure out where it’s coming from?

You call your diesel supplier and they say they know it isn’t them. If that’s your experience, Star Oilco can explain where that water is probably coming from. With the help of Hydrotex, Star Oilco can also lab test your fuel quality and prove we are in improving it as well.

desiccant filter in field

All storage tanks are different. But for the most part, if your tank seems to take on water randomly. It’s probably from the tank breathing. Especially if you have a large above ground tank. In fact, if you tracked it on a calendar it probably happens the same time of year in conjunction with a weather pattern your tank responds to.

How it works is as the temperature changes the tank’s space that is not filled with fuel will breathe in and out. The temperature and air pressure move air in and out of the tank. As does dispensing fuel out of the tank and then refilling the tank. When that happens, especially if you have a significant amount of humidity in the air or misting rain, water makes it’s way into your fuel supply. As temperatures change, moisture is drawn into the tank, condenses on the inner wall of the tank, and then deposits itself on the bottom of the tank.

This water not only poses a risk to your engines, but if your fuel isn’t treated for stability and performance, that fuel is guaranteed to start growing bugs and algae that will spread throughout your fleet and will have your mechanics spinning filters and dealing with random problems due to this diesel biological growth.

This problem is also exacerbated by ineffective fuel additives trying to keep your fuel dry, clean and safe for your injectors to process, which ensures that water does not get absorbed by your diesel. A single drop of water falling out of solution in today’s high pressure fuel rails and your engine can blow an injector.

HOW DO YOU SOLVE WATER IN YOUR DIESEL TANK?

ANSWER: DESICCANT BREATHERS ON YOUR VENTS

Desiccant diagram

Star Oilco recommends Donaldson desiccant filters, given their excellent full line of products and support. More on the full Donaldson Clean Dry Fuel program here: Donaldson Clean Diesel Kits Brochure.

The Donaldson desiccant breaker mounts to the top of a tank at it’s vent point. This addition seals the point of failure for water to get into your tank. Though in some cases it doesn’t stop 100% of water from ending up in your fuel tank, it definitely guarantees you know where it won’t be coming from, the environment around your tank.

(NOTE: If dealing with underground storage tanks also be aware that if you seal the vent with a desiccant filter and you still have incident’s of water, it might be a leak in the bottom of the tank where rain water is making its way into the tank.)

By using Donaldson filters, Star Oilco also gains the benefit of support from Hydrotex PowerKleen diesel fuel lab to analyze fuel to guarantee that the before and after samples of the fuel are moving as expected and the problem is solved. Running diesel samples can cost as much as $200 each time–having a partner that backs up our solutions with ASTM and ISO measured verification is a must.

The first step in getting better performance from your diesel fuel is to test your bulk diesel storage tank.

To get a complementary ASTM diesel fuel test, contact Star Oilco for assistance.

Clean, dry, premium diesel

Tank Testing Form

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

 

Tier 4 Engines and Diesel Contaminants – Donaldson White Paper 150 150 Star Oilco

Tier 4 Engines and Diesel Contaminants – Donaldson White Paper

Managing bulk diesel fuel storage has become more complex in recent years. Especially in Oregon and Washington the chance of water finding it’s way into your fuel tank is a real concern. If water gets in your bulk fuel biological growth or “hum bug” won’t be far behind.  Donaldson has positioned itself with real concrete solutions for for fuel quality.

With the extremely tight tolerances of today’s clean diesel engines and the expansion of sour crudes from tar sands, oil shale, and other source being hydrocracked into today’s ultra low sulfur diesel we have all seen it.  Fuel quality has stayed the same while the tolerance engine manufacturers build to have gotten tighter.

To help fleets solve the fuel quality issues fleet’s are dealing with these days Donaldson Filters has put out an intensive white paper on the what clogs filters.

Titled “Analysis and Identification of Contaminants in Diesel Fuel Filtration and Storage Systems” it goes into a level of depth of what the causes of filter spinning in your fleet is. If you are seeing clogged fuel filters this can help you diagnose and begin to problem solve for your fleet.

Usually diesel engine maintenance costs spin out of control around injector failure, DPF maintenance down time, and recurring regen cycles at the most inconvenient times blowing white smoke everywhere.  Usually this fleet management pain point revolves around dirt and water in diesel fuel.  Problems that Donaldson Filtration is the industry leader in solving.  Aggressive filtration and desicant breathers on tanks will polish your fuel beyond the low standards of petroleum standard ASTM and will exceed the ISO cleanliness standards the OEM’s made your engines to run.

This document is designed as and essential review of diesel contamination as it’s seen from the perspective of a filtration company guarding your diesel engine systems from problems.

This matters as the current generation of clean diesel technology commonly called “Tier 4” engines have a tighter specification need than industry standard diesel specification will meet in practice in the field.

 

The Donaldson Filters White Paper can be seen here: http://www.mycleandiesel.com/Resources/IFC10_FuelContaminants.pdf

Do you know what your diesel fuel quality is? 150 150 Star Oilco

Do you know what your diesel fuel quality is?

Find out what the bottom of your diesel tank looks like!
Call Star Oilco to get your diesel tested. 

This winter, Star Oilco is offering complementary diesel fuel testing for any fleet operating in our service area. We are providing fuel quality testing in partnership with Hydrotex to assist fleets in our area struggling with containing the cost of fuel related maintenance.  Typically a diesel lab test costs over $200 depending on the lab.  Don’t let the hurdle of a scientific analysis stand between you and full knowledge of what is effecting your fleet.

Since the move to Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel in 2007 along with moving changes in diesel refining and biodiesel mandates fuel quality has been a moving target.  More importantly petroleum refiners and distributors follow an ASTM specification for diesel which is not as stringent as the ISO standards demanded by OEMs making the trucks on the road today.  Water and dirt in fuel are robbing your fleet of money.  Get a handle on it and move forward armed with that knowledge.

Star Oilco and Hydrotex can help you understand what is going on, what the quality of your tank bottom is, and what you need to do to reduce the cost of operating your fleet as it relates to diesel fuel.

Call Star Oilco and state you want to get your fuel tested for both ASTM and ISO specification. A member of our team will help you take the sample off of the bottom of your tank as well as from your dispensing nozzle.

Call Star Oilco today for have a sample taken and tested.  

503-283-1256 or email OrderDesk@Star Oilco.net

What Are Diesel Soaps? Do Diesel Soaps Cause Some Diesel Engine Problems? 150 150 Star Oilco

What Are Diesel Soaps? Do Diesel Soaps Cause Some Diesel Engine Problems?

Star Oilco answers: What are Diesel Soaps?

Cliff Burbrink, chemical technology specialist at Cummins Filtration, provides a layman’s definition of diesel soaps:

“Diesel soap is not very different chemically than the soap used to wash your hands. The main ingredient in a bar of soap is formed when lye reacts with fats or oils. Lye is sodium hydroxide.

Fats and oils contain fatty acids. When they react, they form sodium soaps. Diesel soaps are formed from acidic additives in the fuel [such as some corrosion inhibitors and lubricity improvers] reacting with trace amounts of sodium.”

 

Rick Chapman, Industry & OEM Liaison Manager, Innospec Fuel Specialties, adds that acids can be derived also from other sources:

“[Soaps] can also be formed from free fatty acids in biodiesel starting materials and carboxylic acids derived from oxidatively degraded fuel and/or biodiesel.”

 

From a layman’s point of view, then, the formation of diesel soaps is the result of metals, such as sodium, calcium and potassium (in the form of positively charged ions, or cations), reacting with various sources of acid in the fuel.

 

“When these two species [acidic compounds and cations (usually sodium)] come together, diesel soap can form,” says Chapman.

“There are a lot of other factors or variables that can play into it, of course, such as pH, solubility, mixing intensity and so forth—but this is the basis for it. Unfortunately, when these soaps form, assuming they are formed from additives, they make the corrosion inhibitor or lubricity improver inert, and the corrosion or lubricity protection provided by the additive is lost.”

 

 

 Diesel soaps

 

  1. Plug fuel filters
  2. Form injector deposits that lead to over-fueling
  3. Create Turbocharger problems
  4. Generate Oil dilution
  5. Cause Poor performance, and poor fuel economy

 

In a May 2013 report, “Case Study—Impact of Poor Diesel Fuel Quality on an Urban Fleet,” Cummins Filtration investigated problems with diesel engines in a New York City bus fleet.

Complaints ranged from an excessive number of turbocharger fault codes to smoke at start-up to fuel-injector failures. The investigation uncovered excessive soot deposits in the turbocharger, resulting from over-fueling, which was determined to be the result of fuel injectors sticking because of deposits that were “rich” in the metals of sodium and calcium.

Although injectors showed sign of scuffing—the result of hard particle contamination, which, says the report,

“is the greatest fuel quality concern for high-pressure/common-rail fuel systems, worldwide”

—investigators determined that scuffing was not the primary issue for the immediate problems the bus engines were exhibiting.

The culprits in this instance were “metal carboxylates” in the fuel, more commonly know as “diesel soaps.” The recommended fix for the problem was use of a fuel additive that could both clean the Injectors and minimize further deposits, coupled with much tighter filtration.

 

Another Bad Actor

 

 

 

Biofuel is manufactured by reacting a plant-derived fat or oil (usually soybeans in the United States) with an alcohol, using sodium hydroxide as a catalyst. An unwanted by-product of the process is glycerin.

Although most of the glycerin is washed out during the manufacturing process, regulations do allow 200 ppm to remain.

Biofuel usually is mixed with petroleum diesel in 5-, 10- or 20-percent concentrations to form biofuel blends, but even at these relatively low concentrations, enough glycerin remains to create filter-plugging problems when, under certain fuel moisture and temperatures conditions, it becomes a solid and drops out of solution.

To help counteract glycerin’s effects, Jim Peterson, sales manager for Donaldson’s Hydraulics and Clean Solutions Group, suggests these measures:

  • Filter fuel on the dispensing side of the bulk tank and use proper on-machine filters
  • Keep fuel dry with proper tank flushing and proper breathers
  • If possible, moderate the temperature of stored fuel above the glycerin dropout level
  • Turn over fuel as quickly as possible
  • Keep fuel infrastructure as free from particulate contamination as possible
  • Ask OEMs about using detergent additives to keep glycerin in solution, both in equipment and bulk storage

 

Filtration and Additives

 

 

 

As noted before, the contamination of diesel fuel with soaps is not as prevalent, at least in many fleets, as other sources of fuel contamination.

These other fuel contaminates include hard particulates, increased water in biofuel blends, rapid oxidation of such blends, microbial growth, so-called asphaltenes (compounds that can agglomerate into an oily sludge), acetic acid formation and glycerin.

Glycerin being an unwanted by-product of biofuel manufacturing. “There are so many inherent problems with diesel fuel today,” says Hydrotex’s Cummins, “that machine owners must take a holistic approach when attempting to resolve them.”

The best defense against diesel soaps (and for most other contaminants, as well) seems to be the use of premium filtration, like the “Donaldson clean & Dry kit which includes 4 micron particulate and water filters. The kit also incorporates a desiccant breather to absorb moisture.”

Donaldson Clean and Dry Filter kit

In addition, (tank intake, tank dispensing, and on-machine), good tank housekeeping, and a well-chosen additive package.

Additives might be included in “premium” diesel fuel offered by some jobbers, but solving a serious soap problem might require consultation with an additive supplier who can take a comprehensive, laboratory-assisted view of all the fuel-quality issues in a particular fleet.

But, the best efforts are no guarantee of complete success when dealing with diesel soaps.

We’ve seen soap deposits form in engines that use our most effective filters—those proved to remove 99.9 percent of material 4 microns and larger and significant amounts of material smaller than 4 microns,”  says Cummins Filtration’s Burbrink.

“If soap particles don’t agglomerate before the filter, they can pass through it. When they hit the injectors, the heat can cause these particles to deposit on metal.”

 

Deposit control

 

 

 

“We have seen great success with some additives,” says Burbrink. “The use of good detergents has dropped the failure rate significantly in some applications. Unfortunately, we also have seen customers having issues even though they are using detergents.”

That said, a well-formulated additive package seems to be an integral part of the potential resolution of problems with diesel soaps.

A good, multi-functional package will contain corrosion inhibitors and lubricity improvers (some formulations use nonacid, non-reacting lubricity improvers), as well as a deposit-control agent that will assist in cleaning injectors and minimizing further deposits.

 

The Key

 

 

 

“The key to diminishing field issues is the use of a two-prong strategy,” says Innospec’s Chapman. “One, use an additive that provides the required lubricity but is resistant to reaction with metal hydroxides, and, two, use a deposit-control additive to ‘clean up’ and ‘keep clean’ any deposits that may form, regardless of the their source. Deposit-control additives are useful for reducing injector deposits, reducing filter plugging, and for carrying through trace amounts of water. In lower-dose rates, or at a ‘keep-clean’ level, they will put a protective coating on metal surfaces and not allow deposits to form—or will limit their formation.”

Hydrotex’s Cummins makes the point, too, that treatment rates for additives, a corrosion inhibitor, for example, might have to be adjusted to meet the conditions of a particular storage tank. Cummins also reminds machine owners that deposit-control additives might need time to work in certain situations: “Soap deposits can get very deep into the injectors, become sticky, and cause poor actuation of the pintle. A good additive package will help clean the injectors, but given the nature of the deposits, it’s usually not a quick fix. The process might require four or five tanks of treated fuel before improvement is noticed.”

Sunrock’s Dennis offers this suggestion to fellow fleet managers: “I would recommend that fleet managers, if they haven’t already done so, educate their fuel suppliers on the subject of upstream fuel-contamination issues and their effects on diesel engines.

Managers can use that opportunity to register their concerns about diesel soaps—for the purpose of promoting a partnership in utilizing countermeasures against diesel-fuel contamination. Their fleet reliability depends on it.”

 

 

To read more technical data on Diesel Soap click link below

SOAP AND GLYCERIN REMOVAL FROM BIODIESEL