Analysis for Quality Control
A fuel buyer’s quality control program must include the standardized specification for defining diesel fuel. The ASTM D975 specification for diesel fuel states those minimal fuel properties.
One of the important marks of a high quality, high performing fuel is its ability to perform in extreme cold temperatures. As a tool for quality control, a CFPP test (Cold Filter Plugging Point), administered in the fall, can readily determine a fuel’s ability to perform in cold weather.
Analysis for Tank Maintenance Problems
Perhaps the greatest enemy of diesel fuel and gasoline is water. Even though a minuscule amount of water naturally occurs in the molecular structure of petroleum hydrocarbons, the incremental amount of water is not the villain compared to factors like poor tank maintenance and the water.
Changes in weather usher in temperature variances which cause condensation to form on the inside walls of a tank. Since water is heavier than hydrocarbons, the condensation falls to the bottom of the tank, where it accumulates over time. Additional maintenance issues are loose, missing, or cracked fill caps and fill manholes that lie in low areas. Low lying fill manholes collect rainwater on or around the manhole. When the manhole is accessed the standing water can easily migrate into the tank. All of these situations create a water environment that acts as the “host” to microorganisms, thus, causing fuel degradation.
Long term storage of diesel fuel, as in the operation of a generator, is another maintenance situation that can cause fuel to break down. Fuel that is not “turned over” in a reasonable period of time becomes susceptible to oxidation, causing fuel to destabilize.
Tank Audits and Premium D-2 Customers
Bell Fuels believes that the practice of “good housekeeping” is essential in the proper maintenance of fuel storage tanks. It is important to consistently monitor the level of moisture in your tank; thereby monitoring the possible level of fuel degradation that water may have caused.
Since the density of water is heavier than the density of diesel fuel, water will drop to the bottom of the tank; while diesel fuel floats on top of the water. It is this interface area that provides the environment for the potential growth of bacteria. Those tiny microorganisms thrive in that interface layer; feeding off the hydrocarbons in diesel fuel.
A Bell Fuels’ tank audit is designed to help our Premium D-2 customers stay on top of their “housekeeping” habits. Tank audits are performed in the fall of the year.
Tank audit includes:
• Fill caps checked for tightness.
• Check for the presence of water in the fill area.
• Check bottom of the tank with water finding paste.
• If water is present in the tank, Bell Fuels will provide a list of licensed waste haulers for the customer to contact.
• A “Bacon Bomb” test will retrieve a bottom sample from the tank; checking for bacteria growth. When necessary, the sample will be sent to a nationally recognized independent lab for further fuel analysis.