Microbial problems often can create major issues in your diesel fuel system that can cause your engine to shut down at the worst possible time along with damaged expensive fuel system components or the chance of an environmental catastrophe if fuel seeps into the ground.

Some microbial fuel issues:

  • A fuel tank with a high amount of microbial contamination can no longer be used safely, it may require the removal of all fuel and complete cleaning before it can be placed back into service with new fuel.
  • A generator engine will not run to its full load capacity and may shut down during a critical emergency if it’s filters are plugged (blocked) full of microbial contamination like in above images.
  • An engine on a boat may suffer serious operating problems at sea due to damaged fuel pumps and injectors from microbial contamination.
  • Microbial issues can also create internal damage to tanks themselves. If left unchecked microbial influenced corrosion commonly known as (MIC) can develop. If microbial contamination gets high especially common in warmer environments it produces acids within the fuel that will eat through the tank walls over time. These acids within your tank are basically the termites of the fuel world. Just like termites you will never see them until you have costly issues to repair. MIC can also lead to major safety and environmental problems, one possible scenario is that a diesel fuel tank could develop a leak from the corrosion and the fuel seeps into the ground or into the hull of your vessel.

How Microbial bugs gets into your fuel tank

As you know water in air moves from humidity to condensation, just like when you take a cold brew out of the fridge the water in the air condensates on the colder bottle to form droplets of water. This is exactly the same process that happens in your fuel tank 365 days per year.

From the night time with cooler temperatures to the day time when it’s warmer you have water forming naturally on the internal walls of your fuel tank. This water will drip into the fuel and find it’s way to the bottom of the tank where it will turn into bugs given the right conditions.

Remember your fuel tank is not a sealed unit, in order to function it must always be vented to atmospheric pressure so it must breath in order to not have negative operating pressure when the engine is running. It’s the water that forms in your tank that creates the perfect environment for microbial growth. Bugs don’t just get into your fuel tank; they grow their given the right ingredients.

Like in the image below – The tank caps says “BUY CLEAN FUEL – KEEP IT CLEAN”

Summary Tips

Water in your diesel fuel can lead to expensive repairs due to microbial growth these problems that develop can include damaged fuel injectors, defective injector pumps, blocked filters, loss of engine power and out of service equipment. You should frequently test fuel for water issues and treat the problem before it gets out of hand. No water equals no bugs so keep the H2O out of your fuel and your good to go – well your engine that is.