Fuel Polishing

What is Fuel Polishing

Fuel polishing involves mechanically filtering stored fuels using one or more devices designed to remove contaminants, reducing the reliance on costly and often ineffective fuel additives. So, what does fuel polishing entail? Essentially, it’s a method, particularly beneficial for diesel fuel, that can potentially save considerable expenses on fuel replacement or treatment. A thorough fuel polishing treatment aims to rejuvenate fuel reserves, restoring them to optimal condition.

However, diesel fuel polishing isn’t a one-step process. It requires multiple filtration stages to effectively cleanse stored fuels and enhance their performance. This is crucial for addressing the diverse contaminants that accumulate in biodiesel, diesel, red diesel, and similar fuels over time.

Top-notch diesel fuel polishing systems employ either separate machines with different filters or a sophisticated assembly of diverse filter technologies within a single unit. They prioritize removing the densest contaminants first, especially those near the suction side of the internal pumping system. This is vital as highly pressurized contamination poses significant risks, particularly on the suction side of a diesel fuel tank. Hence, focusing the fuel polishing process on the suction side yields the best and safest outcomes.

What are the main contaminants that diesel fuel polishing targets?

Solid particles, dirt, grime, wax, soot, rust, simple and complex organic compounds, and gums are among the primary contaminants targeted in the initial phases of diesel fuel polishing. When observing discolored and dull fuel reserves, these dense contaminants, such as dirt, rust, and wax, are often the culprits. The fuel polishing process effectively removes these solid particles, restoring the fuel closer to its original quality and appearance.

Water, whether in free, emulsified, or dissolved form, poses significant threats to engines despite its necessity for human life. While diesel fuels inherently contain trace amounts of water, excessive buildup diminishes fuel efficiency, jeopardizes engine functionality, and fosters the growth of harmful microbes. Initially undetectable, dissolved water gradually combines with oil to form an emulsion, clouding the fuel and reducing its efficacy. Eventually, free water accumulates, creating an environment conducive to microbial growth. Diesel fuel polishing systematically removes these water contaminants throughout the process to ensure fuel safety and performance.

Microbial contaminants, including diesel bugs, mold, yeast, biofilms, and bacteria, are notorious for causing clogs in fuel filters, deterioration of fuel injectors, corrosion in fuel tanks, and overall engine and fuel system failures. These contaminants pose a significant challenge for diesel fuel polishing systems, as they form sludgy biomass formations that are difficult to eradicate solely through filtration. To effectively combat microbial growth, a diesel fuel polishing treatment must be supplemented with biocide treatment early in the process. Biocides eliminate and prevent the proliferation of bacteria, yeast, and other microbes at the source, ensuring long-lasting effectiveness.

What are some problems which can pop up during the diesel fuel polishing process?

Questionable diesel fuel polishing systems prioritize speed over stability, potentially causing more harm than good. While some machines can process fuel at rates ranging from 8 to 400 liters per minute, excessively fast flow rates can damage fuel tanks and increase pressurization to dangerous levels.

Additionally, a careless approach by technicians during fuel polishing can lead to significant issues with fuel efficacy and equipment integrity. While high-quality systems include multiple water separation filters to remove water from fuel tanks, technicians should also manually remove water bottoms from tanks to ensure thorough cleaning. Otherwise, there’s a risk of missed contaminants, as even the best equipment can have shortcomings.

It’s important to recognize that not all diesel fuel polishing systems are of equal quality. Opting for budget services that only address visible symptoms of fuel contamination without using appropriate chemical treatments to tackle the root cause may result in a superficial treatment that fails to address underlying issues effectively.

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If your business relies on back-up emergency generator power then you need to maintain the fuel in that tank. Genset Tech will help prolong the life of your stored diesel fuel and help protect the equipment associated with the fuel tank. Your emergency power source is your diesel fuel. Take care of it.