Diesel fleets depend on clean, moisture-free fuel to stay running their best, especially when temperatures start to drop in winter. Moisture in a diesel fuel system can cause numerous problems including bacteria growth, filter plugging and, in colder temperatures, icing. The summer of 2016 in the Midwest was wet and humid, and that moisture and humidity combine to create problems in diesel fuel tanks and dispensing systems once temperatures start to drop.
Moisture in Diesel Fuel Tanks
More moisture means a better environment for bacteria growth. Bacteria create waste, which can cause corrosion and clog filters. Test your tanks annually or, better yet, twice a year (spring and fall) to keep water and bacteria in check.
Be aware of any biodiesel volume in your fuel tanks. In Minnesota the biodiesel mandate will drop from 20-percent to 5-percent October 1. However, this only applies to Diesel No. 2 – Diesel No. 1 does not have to contain any biodiesel. It’s important to transition your fuel to a winter blend for both cold flow and to blend down the biodiesel content. The biodiesel content in your fuel can be checked to ensure that you are being delivered the fuel that you want and also confirm the blend that you are trying to achieve. Failure to convert the entire volume of the tank will result in your fuel gelling and plugging filters which will cause significant downtime.
Diesel Fuel Additives
As we head into the winter months it’s a good idea to treat diesel tanks with a cold flow additive to ensure operability in sub-zero temperatures. An anti-gel winter fuel additive will keep fuel useable at -30F or colder depending on the blend. The use of these additives will decrease the amount of No. 1 needed in your blend to achieve proper cold flow properties. This will increase your performance and fuel economy versus using higher blends of No. 1 such as a 50/50 blend.