How to Maintain Generator Fuel
Proper generator fuel maintenance is essential for reliable operation. When fuel breaks down, generators break down. That is why learning how to maintain generator fuel is a crucial skill to master. Fortunately, it is not hard to do and there are some simple steps you can take to ensure the reliability of your fuel supply.
Symptoms of Degraded Fuel
Degraded fuel can cause numerous problems for your power generator. These are easy to identify and include blocked fuel filters, failure of the fuel system, corrosion on tanks, diminished electrical output, and engine failure.
Maintaining & Sampling Diesel Fuel
Fuel tanks should undergo regular testing for water intrusion. Particular attention should be paid to the seating and locking mechanism. Further, temperature variations within both underground and above-ground tanks can lead to condensation within the tank. This can settle at the bottom of the fuel tank and lead to the formation of fungal and microbial growth. Thus, fuel samples should be taken from the bottom of the tank at least once annually. In instances where environment or regulatory requirements stipulate more regular testing, this is a chore that you may need to perform on a quarterly basis.
Testing Diesel Fuel
There are numerous ASTM tests that can be performed on diesel fuel and you will want to determine which are required and advised for your standby power generator. These include the Cetane Index (D-976), Water and Sediment (D-1796), API Gravity (D-287), Distillation (D-86), Micro-organisms (D-6469), Total Sulfur (D-5453), Karl Fischer Water Titration (D-6304), and ISO Cleanliness (ISO-4406).
Remediation of Diesel Fuel
Most remedial steps involve removing water from the tank. This has multiple benefits including removal of microbial and fungal growth within the tank. Removal of water can be accomplished via absorption, fuel replacement, or polishing.
Removing particulate matter requires the use of specially designed filters with low micron ratings that trap contaminates. If the particulates within the tank are the result of a damaged tank, then it may be necessary to drain the tank and conduct repairs before refilling. If repairs are impractical, then replacement may be necessary.
Polishing the Fuel
One highly effective way to clean the fuel is to process it through specialized machines that are designed to “polish the fuel.” These machines are designed to remove water and particulate matter from the fuel quickly and efficiently. They are available in different sizes ranging from 8 liters per minute up to about 600 liters per minute.
In addition to the size of the machine, the level of contamination within the fuel determines how long it takes to thoroughly complete the task. It will be necessary to properly treat the fuel once the fuel polishing process is completed.
We invite you to contact Gen-Tech at (800) 625-8324 for more information about generator fuel maintenance. It would be our pleasure to answer your questions and discuss the generator maintenance services our technicians provide.