Fuel is rarely monitored and tested regularly while in storage. As a result, fuel contamination occurs. Over time, the impurities, sometimes known as ‘fuel bugs,’ ‘diesel bugs,’ or ‘algae,’ accumulate.
Fuel polishing is a complex mechanical cleaning method for eliminating or filtering microbial impurities from stored oil and hydrocarbon fuels. Filtration and circulation remove harmful sediments such as water, silt, and microbial pollutants from diesel, red diesel, and biodiesel fuels.
Before fuel polishing, a fuel analysis should be performed to treat the exact contamination problem with a targeted cure. After the fuel cleaning is completed, a second fuel test should be performed to check that the problem has been remedied.
Red diesel (gas oil), diesel (derv), biodiesel, and kerosene are standard polished fuels.
The best diesel fuel polishing systems use separate machines with different filters or an intricate collection of several filter technologies integrated into a single fuel polisher.
At their most effective and safe, fuel polishing systems attack the densest matter first, mainly accumulated at the suction side of the internal pumping system.
This is because highly-pressurized pollution poses a significant risk, and this pressurization occurs mainly on the suction side of a diesel fuel tank. For the finest (and safest) results, the majority of the fuel polishing process should take place on the suction side.
Benefits of Fuel Polishing
The following are the most common benefits of fuel polishing.
- Extend Engine Life
Parts of the engine can stop working smoothly if the sludge in the engine oil grows nasty. The engine may benefit from a regular fuel polish to eliminate built-up crud and grime.
This will ensure that the engine runs smoothly and for a more extended period. Failure to polish the fuel promptly, on the other hand, might spell disaster for any machine that runs on these fuels, as the pollutants could clog the engine to the point of failure.
This is particularly problematic for the backup power industry, which mainly relies on its accompanying fuel tanks in an emergency. Clean engines and motors are ensured by fuel polishing.
Maintaining a clean engine will assist prevent it from rusting and allowing debris to clog inlets, outlets, and interior passageways, resulting in a drop in engine performance and extending the motor’s overall lifespan. The engine’s life is extended significantly now that it runs smoothly and cleanly with no sludge or undesirable particles.
As a result, the desired outcome is an efficient engine that performs to its full potential. Between oil changes, and the engine will continue for extended periods. When oil becomes dirty too quickly, it must be changed faster than the manufacturer advises. Fuel polishing will result in longer wait times for the required mileage or time interval because the oil will remain cleaner for longer.
- Enhanced Appearance
This can make an engine or motor appear drab and dusty, reducing performance and perhaps resulting in damage. There will be more efficient cooling, reduced wear on cables and pulleys, and a longer overall life for the engine with a clean engine.
A routine of simple maintenance performed 1-2 times a year can aid in detecting leaks, resulting in longer engine life. While it’s true that oily, greasy dirt can trap heat and cause an engine to overheat or run hotter than usual, it’s unlikely that this would be enough to cause an engine to overheat or even run hotter than normal.
If an automobile engine overheats, it’s more than likely due to a problem with the cooling system.
- Reduce fuel and maintenance costs
Many companies and individuals have their fuel uplifted and replaced as a quick fix when their fuel is polluted.
However, fuel can be polished and dosed with the appropriate additive or biocide with moderate contamination levels, which is less expensive, wasteful, and environmentally beneficial. Polishing fuel is far more cost-effective and reliable than replacing it totally, especially when the fuel in question is in large quantities.
It may also be faster to execute a fuel polish without any downtime than to replace dirty oil in its entirety. Compared to the work required to refill fuel, the time and resources that may be saved are far more valuable.
- Cools the Engine Making it Efficient and Safe
Contaminants in the fuel that circulate throughout the engine can cause oil breakdown and increased viscosity, which needs more energy to circulate. Sludge and deposits on engine parts can also increase resistance, wasting fuel in the process of overcoming it.
Extreme heat decreases engine efficiency and increases oil oxidation (chemically breaks down).
This is because sludge and deposits function as insulators, preventing the engine from dissipating heat as it should. Fuel cleaning will assist the engine in appropriately managing heat for maximum efficiency and oil life.
Fuel polishing ensures that parts operate smoothly, maximizing gasoline economy, and a more excellent engine works more efficiently and burns less fuel.
- Non-disruptive service
Premature shutdowns of standby generator sets, fire pump engines, and other diesel engine support services are frequently caused by fuel contamination.
The likelihood of a premature engine shutdown due to clogged filters or excessive water entrainment increases as the storage period lengthens.
Engine failures, lack of fuel, clogged filters, water, or any other contaminant in the fuel can be highly disruptive to any commercial operation or service that relies on performance. While the oil is being cleaned, a dependable fuel polishing system guarantees that service is not stopped.
Fuel polishing units connect to the fuel supply in parallel, allowing the infrastructure to continue to operate while the fuel supply is being polished. This way, the fuel can be restored to its original state without disrupting any critical activities.
The costs of a complete power outage could be enormous for any business or individual. These could include but are not limited to loss of data in a system, loss of food overnight in a supermarket, or catastrophically, loss of life in a hospital.
- Reduced Emissions
There’s a good likelihood that muck will accumulate inside the engine when it’s used. This undesired sludge accumulation hampers the engine’s ability to perform at its full capability.
It also slows down the combustion process inside the cylinder, which affects the engine’s efficiency. Fuel polishing reduces the amount of exhaust emitted by the unit. Near-perfect combustion occurs in a clean engine. And, because of this flawless combustion, the bulk of the fuel is transformed into mechanical energy, resulting in fewer unburnt and hazardous gases.
Failure to polish gasoline promptly may cause deposits in the piston rings to stick, allowing oil to migrate into the combustion chamber and burn. This not only results in toxic residues but also hurts the environment.
As the burned oil exits the tailpipe, it also boosts exhaust emissions. Fuel polishing aids in the removal of stuck rings and the reduction of harmful emissions.
- Keeps generators ready to run
Fuel polishing ensures the state of the oil, such as diesel, remains in a ready-to-use condition always. This is very important, especially for standby generators whose engines need fresh oil to operate reliably in times of need.
Hospital backup generators, organizational power backups, residential neighborhood generators, or even vehicles need reliable fuel when needed.
Contaminated oil may compromise the whole purpose of having the engine in the first place if it cannot be used when it is needed.
When fuels are stored for long periods and aren’t regularly tested and treated, diesel bugs build up and cause havoc in machinery, equipment, and vehicles. Fuel polishing has the ultimate goal to keep the fuel usable without forking out money to replace it with a new batch.
The fuel must be analyzed and tested before fuel polishing services are carried out to identify and treat the exact problem with the most appropriate solution. If it’s too severely contaminated, likely, it’s not salvageable, and therefore polishing would be a waste of time and money.
To determine whether the fuel needs polishing, it is highly recommended to use a particle counter to analyze the condition of the fuel to measure any unwanted particles that have accumulated in the tank. Several fuel polishing solutions exist, most of which are cost-effective and easy to deploy.