In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about diesel fuel storage including the factors that affect lifespan, the degradation process, how long diesel fuel lasts in storage, best practices for storage, common mistakes to avoid, testing fuel in storage and how to extend the lifespan of diesel fuel in storage.
Introduction to Diesel Fuel Storage
Diesel fuel storage is the process of storing fuel for future use or not using it due to the machine or equipment is not being used like in a backup generator.
It is essential to ensure that the stored fuel remains in good condition for an extended period. Storage is common in many industries including construction, power generation, mining, marine and transportation industries.
Storage is necessary for some as it can be challenging to transport diesel fuel to remote locations at certain times of the year. Also, fuel prices can fluctuate, and storing diesel fuel can help reduce costs for operators.
Storing fuel requires proper planning and precautions to ensure the fuel remains in usable condition. It is essential to understand the factors that affect fuel storage lifespan and the degradation process of fuel to determine how long diesel fuel lasts in storage.
How Long Does Diesel Fuel Last in Storage?
As per BP data diesel fuel can be expected to stay in a useable condition for:
- 12 months or longer at an ambient of around 20ºC.
- 6-12 months at an ambient temperature higher than 30ºC.
12 months usually is about when diesel will start to degrade in storage under most conditions. It is essential to test the quality of diesel fuel regularly to ensure it remains in good condition once you get to this 12 month period and beyond.
Your fuel may be good to use for up to 24 months if maintained correctly. If the diesel fuel shows signs of degradation at any time, it should be replaced, cleaned or treated with additives to extend lifespan in storage.
Factors that Affect Diesel Fuel Storage Lifespan
The lifespan of diesel fuel in storage is affected by several factors, including temperature, humidity, exposure to air, and the quality of the diesel fuel.
Temperature is a crucial factor that affects the lifespan of diesel fuel in storage. Diesel fuel should be stored at a temperature between 10°C and 25°C. Higher temperatures can cause the fuel to break down, leading to the formation of sediment and sludge. It can be impossible though to store at these temperatures due to climatic conditions so more regular maintenance may be required in some situations.
Humidity is another factor that affects the lifespan of diesel fuel in storage. High humidity can cause water to condense on the inner tank walls leading to microbial growth and corrosion when this water enters the fuel.
Quality of Diesel Fuel
The quality of the fuel is crucial to its lifespan in storage. Fuel should meet the required specifications, including the cetane number, sulfur content, and lubricity.
Poor quality fuel can lead to the early formation of sediment and sludge, reducing its lifespan in storage.
Understanding the Degradation Process
Diesel is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons that will degrade over time. The degradation process can lead to the formation of sediment and sludge, reducing the lifespan of diesel fuel in storage.
The degradation process begins when oxygen reacts with the hydrocarbons in fuel, leading to the formation of peroxides.
The peroxides can react with other hydrocarbons, leading to the formation of acids and other compounds. The acids can cause corrosion, while the compounds can cause the formation of sediment and sludge.
The degradation process can be accelerated by higher temperatures, exposure to air, and the presence of water in your fuel. It is important to take precautions to prevent these factors from affecting your fuel in storage.
Power Generator Tips
Generators used for emergency power can be problematic as they don’t run very often normally so the fuel will start to degrade. Consider exercising the generator on-load often to use the fuel in tank before it gets unusable.
Conclusion Diesel Fuel Storage
The lifespan of fuel in storage depends on several factors, including the quality of the fuel, the temperature, humidity, and exposure to air.
It is essential to follow best practices for fuel storage and avoid common mistakes to ensure the diesel fuel remains in good condition for an extended period.
Regularly testing the quality of diesel fuel in storage can help identify any degradation and take corrective action to extend its lifespan.
Generators used for emergency power can be problematic as if they don’t run often the fuel will start to degrade. Consider exercising the generator on-load often to burn fuel before it gets unusable.
Whether you are storing diesel fuel for personal or business use, following the guidelines outlined in this guide can help ensure that the fuel remains in good condition and ready for use when needed.