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Petroleum engineering general discussion FAQ

Contaminated fuel

Contaminated Diesel (Bug and Water) by expresslube
Posted: 28 Oct 06

Fungus Hormoconis resinae needs both fuel and a slight water contamination for micro-organisms to flourish. Fuel storage, transport systems and pipelines the fuel passes through are all determining factors of the pick up of water/condensation and contamination.
The fungus can form dense 'mats' which break up and move through the fuel system, eventually causing operational problems such as fuel line & filter blockages - injector waxing - smoking - loss of power and even total failure.
These fungal mats also release organic acids and produce a highly oxygenated environment which can favour electrolytic attack of metals, fuel tank coatings and also fuel system parts may be penetrated, eventually leading to structure corrosion. They can also consume rubber gaskets, 'O' rings and hoses.
The industry standard tank cleaning process involves significant disposal of waste-water and the repurchase of new fuel. The following highlights the industry standard process; First, the disposal of the existing fuel in tank - Second, the use of pressure washing with steam or water to clean the tank - Third, the costly disposal of the oily water created from the tank cleaning process and finally the purchase of new fuel to replace the fuel that was disposed of.
There are companies who eliminate those costly steps by using the fuel in the tank as the cleaning agent.
The separator unit is operating very much like a dialysis machine extracting the fuel and water were the microbes live and multiply. The sludge and bio-mass either suspended in the fuel or on the bottom of the tanks is contained within the machine. The machine operates at high rate and agitates the tank contents with the fuel return as the cycle continues.

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