Thursday, December 26, 2013

Improve the Efficiency of Your Fleet with Fuel Tank Cleaning

Periodic fuel tank cleaning is one of the most important things that a operator or owner of an above ground or underground fuel storage tank can do to keep their fuel performing properly. With continued usage, fuel storage tanks can accumulate moisture and particulates from repeated filling. Moisture condensing in fuel tanks can create conditions for microbial growth leading to microbial contamination of the entire fuel system. Actually, microbes depend on this water contamination for growth.

Fuel degradation can occur directly due to microbial contamination. Any change in fuel color is the best indication that this contamination has occurred and there’s an urgent need for fuel cleaning. Elevated pour point, reduced combustion efficiency and cloud point, increased corrosion of fuel components and poor detergency, and severely plugged fuel filters are just some of the negative effects of intense microbial growth in the fuel storage tanks.

Mostly, microbial contamination may occur due to two main groups of microorganisms: fungi and bacteria. Both of them need water and food for survival. In case of any fuel tank, fuel is their food, and as water and oil don’t mix, the best place for them to congregate is at the bottom of the fuel tank (water-fuel interface). So the best way to ensure clean fuel is by keeping the tank microbe free. You can do this easily by ensuring there’s no water in the fuel tank because then there will be less opportunity for these fuel bugs to thrive.

What are the dangers of using dirty fuel tanks?

Moisture and sediments can seriously impact the performance of your fuel and fleet engines. Aside from that, bad fuel and residues also increase the chances of tank fire or explosion. Aside from that, water accumulation may promote rust in steel fuel tanks from inside causing seepage and leakage. Therefore, fuel cleaning can be achieved by periodically cleaning the furl tanks.

The easiest way to keep your fuel tanks clean and fresh is to somehow avoid contamination in the first place. This would require detailed evaluation and control of:

• Fuel System maintenance
• Fuel monitoring program for microorganisms
• Fuel treatment

However in most cases, these procedures and preventative measures are neglected and thus results in the need for fuel tank cleaning services.

What should be the fuel tank cleaning frequency?

Well, the frequency depends on the amount of use (filling and dispensing of fuel). All fuel tanks that are used frequently will surely build up considerable sediment, particulates and fuel reside at a much faster rate than fuel thanks that are used more infrequently.

In many cases, the steps in a standard cleaning a fuel tank process include:

Drain the Fuel Tank

Before any cleaning can begin, fuel tank should be drained to remove all moisture, residual gases and other liquids. If tank has not been cleaned for years, then a special chemical will have to be sprayed on its interiors to make the thick sludge pumpable so that it can be extracted.

Scrubbing the Fuel Tank

Once the sludge and gasoline has been removed, the inside of the tank is srubbed. This is done using an industrial cleaner. Scrubbing will remove all organic matter, residual sludge, water and other impurities from the tank’s interior walls.

Rinsing the Fuel Tank

After fuel residue, sludge and other mater has been removed from the tank, it should be thoroughly rinsed and allowed to dry. You must ensure that tank is completely dry before adding any fuel.

Keeping fuel storage tanks clean is important as they are life blood of all types of vehicle fleet owners and industries. Without any fuel, businesses cannot deliver parts, products or workers. A clean fuel storage tank means no more fuel cleaning is required, which reduces costs and downtime associated with frequent engine breakdowns or repairs. So, inspect your fuel tanks regularly and ensure their cleanliness.

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