Diesel fuel powers much of the trucking and transportation industries in America, thanks to its incredible combination of efficiency, safety, and cleanliness. In fact, a diesel engine may boast as much as 40% greater efficiency than its gasoline-based equivalent. In order to ensure ready fuel access, many trucking companies choose to store diesel fuel on-site.
Unfortunately, those who fail to understand best practices for diesel fuel storage can end up with a degraded or problematic diesel supply. If you regularly deal with diesel fuel and would like to learn more about storing diesel properly, keep reading. This article offers three key tips to ensure you get the most from your fuel investment.
1. Use Aboveground Storage Tanks
In order to store diesel fuel on-site, you'll need an appropriate amount of storage tanks. Tanks come in two main varieties: aboveground and belowground. For many years, people considered belowground tanks a better option because the tank was safe from accidental damage and the fuel from theft.
Yet these days, most fuel experts recommend aboveground tanks. Several key reasons exist for this preference, all having to do with the greatest threat to any fuel tank: corrosion. Even experts have a hard time catching corrosion with belowground fuel tanks. As a result, leaks often persist for long periods before being caught.
Such leaks can prove highly costly to correct, as they may contaminate not only soil but also any nearby water supplies. Aboveground tanks make monitoring for leaks much easier and minimizing their negative impact. Likewise, you'll be able to spot any signs of corrosion as well, allowing for repairs to ensure that leaks never occur.
Aboveground tanks also offer a key advantage with portability, being relatively easy to move from one part of your property to another. Once installed, a belowground tank cannot move at all. Just be sure to select a safe and secure location for your aboveground tanks.
2. Know Storage Limits
Like most fuels, diesel has a natural degree of instability, meaning you can't store it indefinitely. As time goes on, the diesel oxidizes, leading to fuel breakdown and unwanted byproducts. These byproducts not only reduce the efficiency of the fuel but can also cause problematic deposits to form in engines and filters.
Provided you have optimal storage conditions, untreated diesel fuel may last between 6 and 12 months. In some cases, you can extend this lifespan by carefully controlling the storage temperature. If you can keep the temperature at or below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, you may be able to get more than 12 months out of your diesel.
Moisture also degrades diesel fuel. Water often infiltrates fuel tanks through condensation. To minimize the rate and volume of condensation forming, try to keep your fuel tanks as full as possible at all times. The more empty space exists in the tank, the more condensation will build up.
3. Protect Your Fuel With Biocides
Diesel fuel faces another threat: bacterial growth. Certain species of bacteria can actually thrive on diesel fuel, breaking it down and reducing its effectiveness. To keep such bacteria at bay, most fuel providers recommend adding diesel fuel biocide to your storage tanks.
Yet just adding biocide doesn't ensure that you keep bacteria at bay; you must add it in the correct manner. If possible, add the biocide to the tank before filling it with fuel to help the two mix thoroughly. Even then, best practice dictates that you should recirculate the fuel for an hour or more to evenly distribute the biocide.
Many businesses need to keep diesel fuel on-site. Provided you follow certain guidelines, you shouldn't have any serious difficulties. For more information, please contact the fuel and lubricant experts at Paul Murray Oil.