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Top tips for fuel management

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Posted: 4th March, 2016

For all of you new to the filtration market or whom have spent many years working to find the perfect fuel management strategy, these top tips are for you:

1. Site Surveys 
Understand your fuel storage on site properly and always check:

a. Type and size of the tank (tank construction, steel/plastic) 
b. Positioning (aboveground/underground)
c. Age of the facility - this will determine how often the fuel needs to be checked and if pressure testing is required
d. Check for areas where water ingress is possible, air vents, loose manholes or fittings etc.
e. Check how often the fuel is replenished 

You will now have a good idea of possible problems and the best solutions. Remember though, even the best facilities can also end up with contaminated fuel. 

2. Fuel sampling
There are various methods of sampling fuel:

a. Consider any access complications - a sample vacuum pump or fuel sampler can be used
b. Ensure the equipment and sample container are clean and dry for each sample taken
c. Firstly take a bottom sample to provide the worst case in terms of the fuel condition. If the sample is not clear and bright then;
d. A middle and top sample can be taken to determine the extent of the contamination

3. Sample Analysis & Interpretation
Visual clarity does not always mean that the fuel is within specification. It is strongly recommended that further testing be undertaken. 

a. Standard on site fuel testing includes water content ppm, particulate (18/16/13 ISO 4406) and microbial growth
b. Further testing by a laboratory includes FAME content, sulphur content, water, particulate and microbial growth
c. A laboratory report will give you a full understanding of the condition of the fuel and often the laboratory will advise next steps

4. Fuel Cleanup
If analysis shows that your fuel does not meet specification, remedial action will be required.

a. Establish the source of the contamination if possible, e.g. free water could indicate water ingress – was the filler cap left off? Could groundwater be entering the fuel tank?
b. Repair and ensure the fuel storage facility is secure
c. Clean the fuel - depending on the condition of the fuel, this may include removing the fuel, tank cleaning and offsite fuel cleaning
d. If the fuel is not too far off specification, it can be cleaned insitu
e. Decide if you can you afford to be offline while the fuel is being cleaned. Onsite fuel polishing allows your fuel to be available at all times, without the need for standby fuel facilities

5. Fuel Management Programme
Once you have ensured both the fuel and facility are clean, it is critical to put a plan in place for regular checks

a. Sampling should be conducted at least once a month and on each delivery of fuel
b. Consider fitting a fixed fuel polishing system, designed to recirculate the fuel at predetermined times to ensure it remains clean and dry

As leaders in the field we are always available to assist with all of the above to ensure you adopt the most appropriate solution and the most cost effective one for you business.

We will be exhibiting at the Data Centre World so come find us on stand F40 to see our latest filtration solutions for backup generators and talk to our friendly expert team.