Dirty diesel fuel causes expensive headache for national bank

It has been well documented the costly damage that dirty fuel can cause to mission critical organizations that require an uninterrupted power supply (UPS). Two sectors are often highlighted as industries reliant on UPS; financial Institutions and healthcare. This is true for the singularly a international banks.

Diesel back-up generators provide UPS, however if fuel becomes contaminated, back-up generators can fail due to contaminant induced damage to critical components, affecting the longevity of the generator. For the national bank this scenario was not even conceivable. Therefore the best and most reliable solution to prevent this happening was a must.

For banks, a loss of power could lead to loss of data, online servers shutting down and customers unable to access online banking. For hospitals it could mean un-usable operating theatres. Both are not only costly but also damaging to the brand.

Back-up generators and the condition of fuel to power back-up generators is critical. A clean and dry source of diesel fuel is imperative at an ISO cleanliness reading of 18/16/13 or better.  Modern performance engines incorporating high-pressure fuel injectors have ultrafine tolerances, meaning the quality of your fuel has never been more important.

How can fuel be susceptible to contamination?

Environmental legislation has led to the adoption of ultra low sulphur diesel, with the sulphur content replaced by up to 7% biofuel. These two developments have created a significant problem. By introducing the biodiesel blends, the rate of degradation has accelerated. Biodiesel suffers from more aggressive water and microbial contamination because the natural ingredients contain water, which facilitates bacterial growth.

If fuel is not properly treated and managed, the biodiesel can block filters and injectors, jeopardise the reliability of your engines and cause expensive equipment failure.

Financial institutions, not the least a national reserve bank who rely on the integrity of seamless power. Without this integrity any significant power loss would create havoc on the markets.

With the importance of data to banking services, both in the storage and use of, banks are investing heavily into fuel cleanliness. In 2016 a national bank came to us with their fuel concerns. They requested a comprehensive fuel management program including fuel sampling, analysis and polishing.

We proposed the PC9001 live particle counter for fuel particle counting and two of our filtration polishing cabinets – widely specified by global financial institutions to clean the contaminated fuel.

Fuel sampling:

The first step was to sample the contaminated fuel, it is recommended that the best practice for fuel sampling is to take a bottom, middle and top sample. This will provide the worst and best case in terms of the fuel quality in the fuel storage facility. After taking several samples from tanks, the results were startling.

  • Samples taken from underground diesel tanks



The diesel samples taken from the bank’s diesel tanks indicated the stored fuel was far below the recommended cleanliness standards for diesel fuel and in fact, was so contaminated that it was not suitable for use. The build-up of sludge, rust (from the tank) and moisture led to the poor condition of the fuel. 


  • Fuel sample in poor condition



If the fuel condition remained in this state, it would damage the back-up generator potentially causing power failure and costly replacement of the fuel. According to ISO cleanliness standards, diesel fuel should have an ISO code of 18/16/13 or better. After being aware of the cleanliness required, the bank insisted that the fuel should be: NAS 4 ISO: 15/13/10.

Two of our filtration polishing cabinet were installed and connected to the underground tanks and got to work cleaning the 21,000 litres of contaminated fuel found in the tanks. 


  • Fuel Polishing Cabinets

In just two hours samples were taken again to check the fuel condition and the requested cleanliness level was comfortably achieved. The cabinets continued to remove contamination from the fuel at 90 L/min. Within a short time the fuel was clean and dry powering the back-up generator. 

It is estimated that our filtration polishing cabinets saved the bank $50,000.00 (£26,832).  This equates to the total cost of 21,000 litres of fuel in each tank to be disposed of and replaced. More importantly though the back-up generators were running with clean and dry fuel saving the Bank of Australia devastating power failure.

  • Clean fuel



For impartial advice on how our filtration systems can clean fuel for USP applications, email us: sales@filtertechnik.co.uk or alternatively telephone our friendly team: 0115 9003600, or Australia on 1300 658 322 sales@qntos.com