Unfortunately, a general consensus about diesel fuel being "good for life" is a common idea, but this belief is a myth. Many have found this out the hard way, especially in electric power generation. In order to avoid untimely shutdowns, it is imperative that a systematic approach be in place to avoid contaminated fuel.
With today's fuel injection systems operating at such high pressures, utilizing extremely fine tolerances, the days of poor contamination control are over. Today's injectors are extremely vulnerable, subject to wear and premature failure as diesel fuel ages and is not maintained properly.
Poor fuel maintenance can also lead to clogging and blockage of fuel filters. This can slow or even stop the flow of fuel, leading to engine starvation, injector damage, poor performance, and ultimately engine shutdown.
Unlike on-highway trucks and off-road machinery that consume fuel relatively quickly, diesel gensets store large amounts of fuel for extended periods. Stored diesel fuel can present symptoms of fuel degradation in as little as six months. In some applications, the genset will see very little use, allowing the fuel to age. This increases the formation of sediments and bacteria in the fuel. In these cases especially, it is critical that this energy source be maintained.
A few things to consider when maintaining the integrity of your diesel fuel supply:
- Have fuel samples been taken from three locations (bottom, middle, top) of tank, and evaluated to properly identify fuel quality?
- Have bacterial and fungal growth inhibitors been added to help combat the effects of fuel being stored for extended periods?
- Does the fuel supply have its own filtration? Does it have the ability to filter down to 0.5 microns under pressure, as well as a fuel/ water seperator to aid in the effort to ensure clean fuel delivery?
- Has there been a thorough inspection of the fuel tank, including interior video inspection, complete equipment inspection (connections, gauges, monitoring devices) as well as identifying non-compliance issues?
- Are proper contamination control precautions being taken when replenishing fuel supply? It is important to ensure that the fuel that is received is from a reputable source, who also takes the proper procautions to ensure quality fuel delivery.
Utilizing these maintenance measures will contribute to the longevity and performace of your investment. A failure due to neglect should not be an option, and is easy to avoid if the proper procedures are put into place.
Does your facility / company have documented fuel quality procedures? Additional tips I did not mention? Please post below.
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