“With filters blocking more regularly, we’ve had many customers ask if we know what’s going on”
If you’re in the fuel industry you will almost certainly be aware of the recent issues. With filters blocking more regularly and a white floating film being reported, we’ve had many customers ask if we know what’s going on… Fuel suppliers are having to gradually increase the biodiesel in their supply to meet renewable energy targets. With this comes a rise in the Fatty Acid Methyl Esters blended into fuel which is likely resulting in the noticed change.
1. It’s hygroscopic – it attracts and holds onto water, leading to bacteria growth and sludge.
2. It acts as a detergent – it cleans residual dirt off the tank walls that ends up in the fuel itself.
What do we know?
As yet, the exact cause isn’t confirmed. UKIFDA have reported that no fuel tested has been off spec. As it complies with British Standards, it may be that the level of FAME content is floating more around the 7% limit than it has previously. It could also be the type of FAME in the fuel causing issues. Biodiesel made from animal fat (tallow) has a higher saturate level than vegetable oil bio. This makes it more prone to waxing/gelling, as it crystallises at higher temperatures.
What we do know for sure, is that the issue isn’t limited to one area or supplier. We’ve had customers from Belfast to Cork seeing filters blocking quickly. We also know that any FAME content can cause problems if the necessary filtration and tank cleaning isn’t carried out, particularly in winter.
Advice we give our customers:
• Keep spare filter elements on site to prevent any downtime when they need changing.
• Do NOT remove a filter because you’re tired of replacing it. A blocked filter has done its job in protecting your vehicle!
• Consider a professional tank clean so the detergent nature of biodiesel has less to act on.
• Safeguard your tank from water ingress and keep it topped up to limit contact with air moisture.
• Try to limit storage time but if your tank isn’t regularly used, consider a recirc unit to stop bacteria settling.
Baltor Systems have a wide range of specially designed filters which we can recommend to help protect your fuel and your vehicles against a problem that isn’t going to go away while bio fuel is in use.
For further information please contact us on 02890603232 – firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.baltor.co.uk