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Protecting your fuel supply over winter

As temperatures start to drop, it can be easy to forget to monitor the health of a fuel supply. Neglecting to give your fuel supply the treatment it needs during the winter months could lead to added costs and productivity disruptions.

Maximising the benefits of storing bulk fuel is dependent on keeping stocks healthy over time – especially through the winter months. Exposure to air, moisture or other contaminants in storage can reduce fuel shelf life, increase consumption and even damage vehicles and machinery.

Luckily, there are a range of diesel treatments and additives available to help protect against contamination and extend the shelf life of bulk fuel being stored in cold weather. Here we explore the additives that can help bulk fuel go further and share some best practice tips for maximising treatment effectiveness this winter period.

Don't let your supply wax over

When the cold weather sets in, your fuel supply could be at risk of forming wax crystals that can clog up engines or even prevent vehicles from starting at all. Adding Anti-Wax to a fuel supply allows engine operation at colder temperatures than the original fuel specification by co-crystallising with the fuel wax crystals to change their shape and make them smaller. To improve the cold flow and handling properties of your fuel, Anti-Wax additive is best added to your supply while temperatures are above six degrees Celsius and before signs of waxing start to appear.

How to use fuel additives effectively

To make sure fuel additives work effectively, it’s vital that the stocks in your bulk fuel storage tank are in top shape before introducing the product. Take samples from the top, the middle and the bottom of a tank to check for water, sludge and sediment. Anything that isn’t clean fuel should be removed from the tank immediately through polishing or filtration to prevent future issues.

Once the contaminants have been removed, test the fuel again to ensure it is clean, dry and ready to use. If high levels of contaminants are found – arrange for a professional deep clean of the tank by an OFTEC registered engineer for maximum peace of mind.

Now you have ensured your fuel stocks are clean, it’s time to add the additive. Different additives have different treatment ratios, so be sure to check the appropriate dosage before introducing the product to your bulk fuel stocks.
If treating a full tank of fuel, be sure to mix the fuel and additive with a pump for the best results. Adding fuel on top of an additive can also ensure thorough mixing. If you do not have access to a pump to help mix the fuel and additive, it’s best to add additives to your bulk storage tank prior to a fuel delivery.

Protecting winter fuel from FAME related issues

The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) regulations require a certain percentage of fuel to come from renewables. As fuel suppliers must meet this obligation by law, many are blending a type of biofuel called FAME (fatty acid methyl ester) into red diesel to achieve the higher targets.

FAME’s methyl esters are hygroscopic, which means they absorb and retain moisture at a higher rate than conventional mineral diesels. This means that bulk fuel stocks containing FAME – particularly those stored for extended periods – are more at risk of contamination.

Gas Oil Supreme is a red diesel additive that directly counters the negative effects of increased FAME content in gas oil. The additive builds increased water resistance in bulk fuel stocks to combat FAME’s higher moisture retention.

This prevents emulsions from forming in the fuel that lead to filter and line blockages, and also helps to ensure that water does not enter fuel delivery systems – which can cause eye-watering maintenance bills for damaged fuel injectors.

Gas Oil Supreme also delivers a range of additional benefits. The additive increases the cetane number of gas oil stocks and enhances fuel lubricity, helping to improve fuel performance, reduce deposit formation and protect against corrosion.

Extending fuel shelf life through winter and beyond

Fuel ages and degrades over time. Stocks that have been stored without treatment for long periods will age – forming solids, darkening in colour and ultimately losing oxidation stability – a key parameter of meeting fuel specifications. This degradation is further accelerated where fuel contains higher levels of biological content, such as FAME.

Fuel Store Plus helps to delay the symptoms of fuel ageing to prolong the life of B7 grade diesel to 12 months or longer. Containing high doses of antioxidants and biocides, this life-extending diesel additive delays fuel discolouration and the formation of solids; reduces the potential for filter plugging and corrosion; and helps to prevent the microbial growth that causes ‘diesel bug’.

Fuel Store Plus is most suited for use in bulk stocks that will be stored for a long period of time, or where there is potential for fuel to be left unused in vehicles or machinery over seasonal periods. Without treatment, the shelf-life for on-specification fuels is around six to eight months.

If your fuel stocks do become discoloured and oxidised, all is not lost. Fuel Reviver is an additive that restores the stability of aged fuel to bring bulk stocks back into specification.

Introducing Fuel Reviver in the correct dosage ‘revives’ the oxidation levels of bulk fuel stocks so that they meet OEM requirements for stability. While the additive will not revert the colour of fuel back to its original state, it does bring aged fuel back to acceptable standards to render it fully usable again.

At Certas Energy, we deliver more than just fuel. Our range of diesel treatments and fuel additives has been built around making your business’ fuel go further. Visit our additives page for more information or get an additives quote by speaking to a member of our team today:

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