The dilemma of fuel contamination, the hydrocarbon handbrake. PFMBlue offering a solution to an old problem.

Fuel tanks

The dilemma of fuel contamination, the hydrocarbon handbrake. PFMBlue offering a solution to an old problem.

With the development of fuel types and refinement of engine technologies the issues created by bacterial (Microbial contamination) and moisture causing damage to your engines and fuel delivery systems become more costly. The effect of moisture contaminated fuels mixed with the cocktail of microbes and fungus growth causing operational failures erode the operators profit margin.

The main factors that contribute to microbial contamination in diesel fuel are:

  1. Storage: time spent in storage, quality of storage vessels  or tanks
  2. Environmental factors, temperature, humidity, exposure of bulk storage facility or machinery to the elements
  3. Fuel supply quality
  4. Human error in fuel handling

Visual particulate matter in exhaust and a build-up of “slime” in water bowls of filters resulting in poor engine can be seen in the exhaust of engines with mildly contaminated fuel. An indication of contamination often seen by operators is the “Free Water” held in the fuel and if you test your fuels with readily available fuel test kits you will find that many stored fuels already have the organisms at “acceptable” levels. The right environmental conditions or a 3-degree shift in temperature can cause a rapid growth causing engine failures, all from a single cell.

The process of retaining quality fuel (and in some cases returning fuel to A grade quality) has 4 components, Engineering, Treatment, Monitoring, and Maintenance. For operators or owners looking at reducing costs of lost productivity due to fuel contamination, we offer a cost effective solution to fuel maintenance and fuel conditioning.

The image above is a sample of fuel treated with our system. This fuel was extremely contaminated as can be seen by the sample on the right. This sample is dark in colour (high concentration of microbial contamination) the microbes survive in the interface between water and fuel.

The middle sample is of a yellowed, milky appearance this is the result of water in suspension entrained in the fuel, and a high microbial content, this fuel will burn in both states, high emissions, and damage to engine components both on delivery side of fuel to exhaust components becoming “sooted” with carbon deposits. This carbon can easily be seen in the “cylinder wash” of oil in your sump “the reason your dipstick oil goes black.

The sample on the left is after the final stages of polishing, good clean dry fuel with no visual particulates or moisture retained.

We have had samples tested (by independent accredited faculties) and these tests indicate an increase in lubricity, with moisture content being reduced to manufacturers specifications for modern engines. No chemicals are added  to the fuel to achieve the fuel specification of ISO 18/16/13.

Case Study

On a recent job in South East Asia, our clients fuel had been stored in poor quality underground bulk tanks. When our treatment process first started the generators in the facility could not be run due to emission exceeding local regulations. The fuel was of unknown age and tank “maintenance” was done through an open “manhole” covered by an up turned rubbish bin and a wooden ladder sitting in the fuel for access however the owners acknowledged there was an issue that needed an ongoing eco-friendly solution.

High moisture content and ideal temperatures creating high microbial growth. The “torch” feature on a phone would not even penetrate the fuel through the water bowl of the filter housing. This fuel was said to be up to 25 years old. The “day tank” fuel being conditioned by our unit was in a 16000-litre steel tank, supplied from underground bulk storage tanks with the opening exposed to weather in an open top “pit” at ground level.

Photo of fuel before cleaning
Fuel before cleaning

Options for facility operators were

  1. Dispose of all stored fuel 
  2. Cleaning tanks and lines, 
  3. Replacement fuel at a huge cost or possible closing of facility by local authority until issue resolved.

After 6 hours of polishing the initial 16000 litres, the fuel was now at a point where light penetrated the fuel (small bubbles from pump rotation is the majority of light refraction). Fuel colour is returning to normal, a single 50 micron filter was used then replaced with a 1 micron (a spare can be seen on top of unit). The complete cleaning operation of this initial 16000 litres of fuel was 3 days with very few filters used. On starting engines visual particulate matter was not present once engines had burnt fuel in engine fuel lines. Engines could then be ran to allow facility in the middle of a very populated city to remain in operation during short power outages. All fuel introduced to the day tank was polished with the automatic routine maintenance of day tank fuel.

Fuel after cleaning

The contaminated stored fuel was not lost (approx. 100,000 litres).

We have evidence that these issues can be resolved with our solutions for fuel conditioning and the Microbial Contamination (Diesel Bug) removed using our reliable U.V. technology.
When fitted on vehicles or engines or set up as a Recirculation System to protect and constantly clean the fuel will...

  • Reduce tank corrosion in ferrous and non-ferrous tanks
  • Reduce bio-film build-up
  • Reduce moisture content

PFMBlue units with our latest improvements use high quality components, together with improved design technology thus maximising performance and “killing power”.

When crops require harvesting, fuel tanks and fuel needs protecting PFMBlue technology assists you with a reliable fuel maintenance.

PFMBlue can assist in improving your fuel quality issues and have our technology constantly and actively participate in your security of knowing “you are even more reliable”.

Contact Us to discuss your requirements