Storing diesel in fuel tanks for many days may result in microbial growth if proper preventive measures are not taken. Although commonly referred to as ‘diesel algae’, these are microorganisms that grow in dark, moist places, unlike the regular algae that require sufficient sunlight to bloom. They may be bacteria, fungi, or anything else but one thing is for sure.
These microorganisms may enter the agricultural or industrial equipment, causing unprecedented damages, so they should be stopped at any cost.
How do they grow in diesel tanks?
If you’re wondering how these microorganisms can end up in your diesel tanks, you’re at the right place to seek answers. They thrive in the interface between diesel and water in the tank by feeding on hydrocarbons from the diesel and forming a dark sludge. When moisture or water in the tanks separates into a distinct layer below the diesel, these microorganisms get a favorable breeding ground to multiply inside the tank.
The consequences of using the contaminated diesel
If you try to use the contaminated fuel in pumps and engines, the filters can easily get clogged by the microbial growth, giving rise to serious issues. Clogged filters can lead to unexpected downtime of diesel generators and high expenses of repair and maintenance, besides posing life risk to boaters using the contaminated diesel to fuel their boats.
Microbial contamination of fuel also creates problems in seamless fuel flow and injector malfunctions. This apart, it also increases the chances of corrosion and reduces combustion efficiency to a huge extent.
What can you do to prevent microbial growth in diesel tanks?
When it’s only about algal blooms, switching to polyethylene diesel tanks may reduce the risks to a great extent. As they have thicker walls than the steel tanks, sunlight and water are blocked from entering, thus preventing algal blooms. You can see more on the website of reputable fuel tank suppliers before you make that switch. The poly diesel tanks also boast of seamless quality, unlike the steel tanks, which are more susceptible to developing leaks and cracks.
However, bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms that breed in the interface between diesel and water in the tanks can grow even without sunlight. Scroll on to know how you can effectively prevent their growth.
Limiting the amount of water in the tanks
Without water, the fuel bugging will stop. You should check the bottom of the tanks for signs of water accumulation every two weeks and limit the same. One of the most effective ways of doing it is by draining the water from the fuel tanks with the help of drain plugs or through mechanical processes. The underground fuel storage tanks should also be checked regularly for signs of water.
Chemical cleaning methods should be practiced
You can use biocides along with high-pressure washing to clean the tanks regularly and prevent microbial growth. However, make sure that the chemical you choose is compatible with diesel to prevent further complications, leading to large-scale chemical contamination of fuel in the tanks. The fuel additives should be used only after carefully analyzing their environmental impacts to prevent pollution.
Investing in high-quality fuel
Occasional cleaning, regular inspection, and maintenance should be included in your fuel treatment schedule, besides investing in high-quality fuel to ensure proper prevention of microbial growth. This apart, using a filter in the vent will prevent spores from microorganisms to enter the tanks. It will also prevent bacterial, fungal, or other sludge from entering the farm equipment.
Introducing a suction tube inside the tank
If nothing else seems to work, and you’re unable to drain the water out from the tank, you can introduce a suction tube inside it to pump the water out. Hire professional service contractors to carry on with the task effectively without compromising the quality of the fuel inside the tank. The suction tubes can also be used to eliminate signs of sludge that have already appeared at the bottom of the tank.
Wrapping it up
Microbial contamination is a recurrent problem in fuel storage, but there are many solutions to prevent the consequences of the same. First of all, you should invest in an industry-standard fuel tank with specialized systems in place to maintain the quality of the fuel. Clean the tanks before transferring the fuel inside it and drain out any water or moisture content.
Regularly inspect the tanks for signs of water or microbial growth and take necessary actions as soon as possible. Ignorance can lead to devastating consequences so taking appropriate preventive measures is a necessity.