Diesel Engine Emissions, should you be concerned?

maxi power clean fuel system

Year on year we are seeing stricter legislation being introduced for Co2 emissions where current stats produced from the Department of Energy highlight the transport industry as being responsible for 23% of the UK’s Carbon dioxide emissions. Despite the fact this figure has fluctuated by 0.2% since 2012 there is still significant emphasis on reducing emissions further and this directly impacts the decision makers within the transport and logistics industry. In 2014 lowered Co2 emissions is more than just an environmental consideration for decision makers. Investments pledged for reducing emissions directly impact financial planning and year end profitability and as such the demand for new and improved fuelling solutions which enhance fuel quality and significantly reduce overheads is becoming increasingly important.

Furthermore, fuel and storage tank hygiene are critical factors in maintaining fuel quality and reducing emissions. The Environment Agency recommends that fuel is stored in above ground tanks to avoid environmental impact from using underground storage tanks. In addition the industry recommends that all fuel tanks and facilities are to be inspected twice a year along with fuel sampling and testing to be carried out 4 times per year, see Federation of Petroleum Suppliers “Fuel Accreditation Scheme”.

Damaged engine clean fuel system

The introduction of FAME (B5)/Biodiesel changed parameters for the correct storage downstream of the refiners. The prime reason being ‘poor oxidation stability’ which causes the fuel to biodegrade over time along with higher suspended levels of water (200ppm). The process is further exacerbated by poor storage and handling of the fuel along the retail and commercial chains of distribution, namely forecourt traders and bulk fuel suppliers.

How is fuel affected?

Fuel that is on spec at the time of blending has shown degradation in quality as it passes along the chain of distribution. The results of oxidation can include bacterial growth in storage tanks this added to potential water/tank bottom sludges which create the perfect environment for microbial infestation (commonly known as the “Diesel Bug”). These sludges can pass downstream through fuel dispensing pumps and into the vehicle fuel tank, engine and injector systems, if not caught by filtration systems, fuel efficiency is impacted with potential created for further damage to the engine and its expensive components.

Fuel Quality in part is measured by the size and amount of particulate contamination, accepted and underpinned by the World Wide Fuel Charter benchmark count of 18/16/13, this is the “line in the sand” and sets the standard (tested under IS0 4406/4407)

The graph below depicts the ‘variable’ quality of ‘new fuel’ distributed in and around a selection of major UK towns and cities where pollution rates are also considerably higher, plotted against the 18/16/13 benchmark. This benchmark is used as a key indicator to the efficiency of any filtration system.

Clean Fuel System

Detrimental impacts of poor fuel quality

  • Higher permissible water content – 200ppm
  • Low Sulphur content – lubricity issues
  • Cold Flow Filter Plugging Point (CFFP) – temperature impacts fuel/filter efficiency
  • Microbial contamination (Diesel Bug)
  • Microbial contamination – leads to acetic acid build, affects tank internals and downstream components
  • High emission levels leading to unwanted fines and / or public prosecution
Clean Fuel System

Oil Tank Supplies ‘Clean Fuel System’ has recently undergone an extensive field based, real world trial with the help of a leading supermarket chain. The ‘Clean Fuel System’ was retro fitted to a large 140,000 litre above ground bulk storage tank at a designated distribution centre. The trial was carried out over a 12 week period and involved 87 Euro 5 arctic vehicles which covered 1.2 million miles and utilised 750,000 litres of ULSD Fuel.

The system was designed to monitor fuel cleanliness levels of ‘new fuel’ being delivered into the tank in ‘real time’. Fuel stocks and fuel quality were then remotely monitored during and post filtration and a fully automated electronic dosing and treatment system was installed and utilised for optimum results. Access to ‘real time’ data via Ots ‘Cloud’ based software.

The objectives of the trial were fully supported and achieved by the results attained from installing ‘The Clean Fuel System’. The objectives included:

  • Operational savings through increased MPG,
  • ‘Live’ remote cleaning of the tank through filtration, optimised fuel quality, reduction in carbon and harmful gases
  • Remote management of fuel stock levels, theft and run out.

The conclusive results showed between 3.2% – 6.9 saving on fuel and reduction of 15% to 22% in emissions with optimised fuel and a clean tank.

smog mask

Oil Tank Supplies recognises that fuel and storage tank Hygiene are critical factors in maintaining fuel quality and reducing emissions. The environment agency recommends that fuel is stored in above ground tanks to avoid environmental impact from using underground storage tanks. In addition the industry recommends that all fuel tanks and facilities are inspected twice a year along with fuel testing and fuel sampling which should be conducted 4 times per year. Regulations are changing with regard to emissions as a result of the introduction of FAME (B5) BioDiesel which changed the parameters for correct storage downstream of the refiners. The prime reason for this is poor oxidation stability which causes the fuel to biodegrade over time along with higher levels of suspended water (200ppm) which, when combined with poor storage and handling of fuel can lead to expensive conclusions.

bacteria

The results of oxidation can include damaging bacterial growth in storage tanks which manifest further in the sludge created by the additional water, commonly referred to as ‘The Diesel Bug’. This bug then passes into the vehicle engine and fuel injector system if not caught by a filtration system. Engine components can then become damaged beyond repair and the lasting effects can include: reduced fuel efficiency and an increase in emissions coupled with reduced engine life and an increase in costly repair bills. A business may even face fines and or public prosecution.