October 12, 2020
Is your backup generator 100% ready for a power emergency?
BACKUP POWER GENERATION
In a power emergency, your generator fuel is just as important as the generator itself.
And at times when power emergencies seem more likely – or have greater consequences – you need to be 100% sure your fuel is usable.
That means carefully monitoring and managing microbial contamination (a.k.a diesel bug) because:
WHY IS EMERGENCY GENERATOR FUEL AT RISK?
- Backup generators are at high risk of microbial
contamination. Modern diesel fuels always have at least
some level of microbial contamination. And when fuel isn’t
changed often, this contamination has more time to grow to
- Severe microbial contamination could mean disaster. If microbial
contamination grows quickly between tests, it could potentially stop
your generators working.
- Traditional fuel tests are inconvenient. Testing for microbial contamination usually involves
hiring an external team, sending samples off-site, and waiting days for results.
- Microbial contamination risks are often underestimated. Many maintenance contractors do
not realise how fast diesel bug grows, or the danger it presents.
The only way to have total confidence in your generators is with a fuel maintenance program that
incorporates regular, accurate testing – so there’s 0% room for error
Middle distillate fuels can be affected by contaminants like water, particulates (e.g. rust and dust), other fuels, and microbial contamination. Microbial contamination can enter through water droplets, which get into fuel systems largely through condensation and grow in the space between water and fuel.
Diesel fuel is particularly at risk of microbial contamination due to its properties. In the last 10+ years Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME), also called biofuel, has been added to diesel. FAME is susceptible to microbial contamination because it attracts and holds water.
MICROBIAL CONTAMINATION IN FUEL
If you’re a user or supplier of diesel fuels, microbial contamination can pose a serious threat to your business.
Once this microbial contamination starts to develop, it can get out of control quickly. The microorganisms produce a thick, slimy material called biomass, which clogs engines and stops them
from working properly.
Biomass can also influence metal corrosion, causing permanent damage to tanks and mechanical parts. If left for a prolonged period of time without treatment, it can cause:
HOW CAN YOU DEFEND YOUR DIESEL GENERATOR AGAINST MICROBIAL CONTAMINATION?
- Blocked filters
- Increased injector wear
- Increased fuel consumption
- Engine failures
- Fuel starvation
- Corrosion and tank leakage
There is no way to completely prevent microbes from entering fuel. These microbes are all around us, in the air and on surfaces, and can enter the fuel in numerous ways once it leaves the refinery.
Most importantly, even the well-maintained fuel delivery systems will experience condensation – and when water gets into fuel, microbes do too. If severe microbial contamination is discovered in your fuel, it can be treated with specialist fuel cleansers and biocides.
However, this procedure can cost many thousands of dollars and usually requires taking your fuel and generators out of action.
To minimise the risks, there are three key activities you need to do:
1. Remove water from tanks
2. Store fuel correctly
3. Test for fuel microbial contamination regularly…
THE SOLUTION IS AS SIMPLE AS 1-2-3 with FUELSTAT® PLUS
The ultra-simple test that just requires 4 drops of sample.
- 15 minutes to result as opposed to 4-7 days!
- ‘Test at the tank’ technology – no laboratory required
- No requirement for additional equipment or sterility measures
In critical times, you need a fast, convenient testing method – one that doesn’t require multiple people
to complete the process. Using FUELSTAT®, a single person can conduct tests at the tank after
minimal training from our instructional videos. FUELSTAT® is based on immunoassay antibody tests.
Just as a pregnancy test searches only for markers of human chorionic gonadotropin, FUELSTAT®
only searches for the markers of bacteria and fungi that can grow in jet and diesel fuel and can
potentially cause both operational downtime, corrosion and in worse case safety issues