Fuel Polishing as a Service
You should consider Fuel Polishing as a Service if you:
- Don't have a willing and able staff, hopefully because they are engaged in other activities that are very valuable to you.
- Have multiple life safety generators where multiple fixed systems would be cost prohibitive.
- Have an organization with an extremely high barrier for any Capital Investment.
If that is you, then consider some additional detail for Fuel Polishing as a Service
- Why do I need Fuel Polishing for my Generators?
- Should I buy a Fixed System or use Fuel Polishing as a Service?
- What is Included in the Fuel Polishing Service?
Why You Should Worry About Your Generator’s Old Fuel
And What to Do About It
Diesel Fuel Gets Old Fast – 3 Months
Not like your car, fuel sits in a generator tank for a long time, because it is stored for when you need it. Say you have a 300 KW generator and you want 8 hours of run time. At full load you need 20 gallons per hour so you need a 160 gallon tank. If you test your generator once a month for 15 minutes unloaded, you will use 7 gallons per hour 3 hours per year for a total of 21 gallons per year. That means, without a big power outage, you would use all your fuel in about 8 years.
That is old. Most diesel in the world is used in transportation usually within a few months after leaving the refinery.
GenApp can’t do much about aging, but we can clean and treat your fuel at least every year to keep it fresh. Our anti-aging (cetane and lubricity) additives, cleaning agents, biocodes, and de-icing treatments keep your generators ready for reliable start and run.
Dirt in Diesel Forms as it Ages
It is not really dirt, but components of diesel fuel that come out of solution as it ages. And these components form particulates that can cause damage to your generator engine, and over the long term, accumulate in your tank bottom as sludge, requiring a costly cleanup.The dirt problem is so important for engine protection, that there is an ISO standard to define dirt, and a required level of cleanliness for diesel.
The standard requires ISO 18/11/16.GenApp gives you 18/11/16 or better when we filter / polish your generator fuel. We re-circulte through a 4 stage process: Coarse Particulates, Water Absorbtion, High Efficient Particulate, and One Micron Finish.
Water Gets in Tanks from Daily Breathing
It is possible that some water leaks into your generator tank from rain. But more likely, the source is di-urnal breathing. I am sorry to have to explain this. Every day the fuel in your generator tank heats up a bit, and every night it cools a bit. As this happen the fuel expands and contracts slightly, bringing outside air through the “breathing” vent. The air has moisture and as it cools in the fuel tank, water drops out as liquid. Since water has a higher specific gravity (1.0 vs. 0.85 for Fuel), it settles in a layer at the bottom of the tank. On the way to the bottom, some is entrained in the fuel, and it can really mess with your engine wear.
That water layer on your tank bottom has become a terrible problem recently, as it is an ideal environment for microbial growth – See Bugs below.
GenApp gets the water out in 2 important ways. First we start the cleaning process with a super-strong suction pump to pull water off the bottom of the tank. Next we include a water absorbing element in our cleaning re-circulation path to remove entrained water. This is solid thinking. We looked at coalescers, which can be fouled and ineffective, and at magnetic devices, which just don’t seem to work. Absorbing the water is a sure thing.
Microbes Love the Oil Water Mix
Yes really, and this has become critically important as diesel fuel changed to Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) to meet Clean Air Rules. The sulfur in the old diesel used to prevent to some extent the microbial growth in the fuel. Now with the sulphur gone, the bugs are a real problem. The microbes find an ideal environment at the bottom of the fuel tank, where even a very thin water (Oxygen) layer meets the fuel (Organic) layer.
The bugs cause 2 main problems. First, they can cause biologic growth to the extent that it is sucked into the engine fuel source and rapidly clog filters and shut-down the generator. Second, and maybe most importantly, the bugs create an acidic environment that can rapidly corrode steel tank bottoms. Since most generator sit on base tanks with large bottom surface areas, this corrosion will eventually require a costly and disruptive replacement.
GenApp does a great job of removing water as noted above and this is the first defense against bio growth in your tank. Unlike many fixed polishing systems, GenApp FŪL has a high suction pump and specialized bottom contact suction tube to remove water film from the tank bottom. Then – very important – we dose a biocide, both fuel and water soluble, to disinfect the fuel and provide ongoing protection.
Cold Weather Causes Wax Plugging
Cold weather affects diesel fuel, in a way that you do not worry about with gasoline in your car. As the temperature of fuel drops, wax will start to come out of solution. The cloud point is when this process starts and wax is visible, and the pour point is where it ends and the diesel will not flow. This range varies from 15-30 F for Cloud and -5 to + 15F for pour. In between is the point to worry about CFPP – Cold Filter Plugging Point, where your engine filters will clog and prevent generator start.
GenApp treatment includes dosing a winterization agent into the generator fuel tank. The anti-gel agent prevents wax crystals from forming, and in effect lowers the CFFP. Note that it is important to dose the winterization before cold weather occurs – so consider an early fall service call.
Top Off Fuel Levels for Hygiene and Run Time
75% is time to Top off for most emergency generators. Compliance with Life Safety Codes and Building Design Standards are based on a fuel tank being 75% full and supplying all that is required to run the generator for the required time at full load.
The reason is that tanks can usually only be filled to 90-95% to prevent overfilling and fuel is consumed regularly in periodic run tests of the generator. So the range of 90-75% is allowed for routine operation, with 75% reserved for emergencies.
Here is an example: You have a 200 KW generator designed to run 4 hours at 14 gallon per hour, so you have a 100 gallon tank. When you are at 75% tank level, your need fuel to get to 90%. That is 15% of 100 gallons or 15 gallons.
Deliveries of 10-100 gallons of diesel fuel are in a tough zone – much more than the 1 gallon your lawnmower needs, and much less than the 7500 gallon fuel trucks delivering to the gas station.
GenApp has specialized gear to solve this problem. Our technicians can bring along 1-4 fuel pods of 25 gallons each, and transfer to your generator or fire pump tank using battery operated fuel pumps, meters, and nozzles. The pods move easily to access in-building, in-basement, and on-rooftop locations.
Capital Expenditure vs. Service Cost Analysis for Genset Diesel Polishing
Capital Expenditure versus Outsource:
Facility Owners with diesel generators are usually aware of the problems of long term storage of diesel in generator tanks. They face the decision of installing capital equipment or outsourcing. Here is how one large data center owner states the issue in its standard performance specifications.
“A life cycle cost analysis (LCCA) shall be performed to determine if a fuel oil polishing system should be installed or if provisions shall be provided for semi-annual or annual polishing to be done by an external service contractor.”
Our LCCA Methodology:
Our reference for LCCA methodology is Stanford University Facilities “Guideline for Life Cycle Cost Analysis”. We did the simplified analysis thinking that the present value of future costs and escalation of the costs would roughly offset. And we used a basis of 10 years.
Tank Size Will Matter:
Capital Costs and Outsourcing costs will vary with the size of the fuel tank. We analyze for 3 common tank sizes for generator fuel: 1000 Gallons, 5000 Gallons, and 10,000 Gallons to cover the range.
What Operating Costs are Included:
Outsourcing costs are comprehensive, as they should be. Operating costs for capital equipment include the following:
· Periodic Inspection. Labor to visually inspect the equipment weekly or monthly.
· Check and Remove Tank Bottom Water. Fixed Polishers usually don’t get the bottom water.
· Fuel Additive Check and Dose. You need to use additives for biocide and ant-gel.
· Change the Filters on the Polishers. Annual change of filters on the unit.
· Troubleshooting Performance Issues. Allow some time for reactive maintenance
What about diesel fuel testing? We left that out of the analysis since it is needed for both cases.
Here is the Calculation for Capital Expenditure:
Here is the Calculation for Outsource Service:
What is the Payback:
Payback calculation also involves a decision about how often the service is needed. It is likely that with experience, and fuel testing, people will find that annual servicing will do. NFPA 110 rules require annual tests and implied servicing.
Diesel suppliers and generator manufacturers may recommend 6-month servicing. Polishing equipment makers may say weekly, but this is usually for the benefit of simple control schedules, and not what is going on with the diesel. So we will stick with the 6-Month and Annual scenarios.
Chart: 1000 Gallon Tank Capital Expenditure Versus Annual and 6-Month Service
Same for 5000 Gallon Tank
And 10,000 Gallon Tank
Facilities and Organizations will have different thinking about Capital Investment Payback. And the particular installation characteristics may increase significantly the capital costs of the equipment. However, we will make these conclusions:
· Outsource Service < 5000 Gallon Capacity
· Invest Capital > 10,000 Gallon Capacity, if CapEx is an Option
· In Between Think About It
What is included in Fuel Polishing as a Service?
Fuel Polishing and Treatment Service
GenApp fuel polishing and dosing equipment is specifically designed for generator sub-base and day tanks. Our fuel technicians are trained for safe, fast, and clean site servicing.
On Demand and On Schedule
• A simple fee to clean and treat generator fuel tanks
• Auto-schedule annually, quarterly or as often as you need
• No euipment to own or maintain
• Save time and keep your hands clean
• Free your skilled people for the critical tasks only they can perform
ULSD makes diesel fuel stored for fuels more susceptible to degradation. All generator manufacturers now recommend periodic fuel polishing to remove water and particulates from fuel. GenApp polishing skids allow for fast cleaning service, often less than 1 hour start to finish.
GenApp Fuel Cleaning is a 5 stage filtration process that removes water and particulates to 1 micron and assures the recommended ISO 12/9/6 cleanliness standard. To assure water removal, GenApp suctions fuel from the floor of the tank where water resides and uses water adsorption filters rather than coalescers which are often rendered ineffective by ULSD
Fuel Treatment is recommended by generator manufacturers for long term reliable service. GenApp polishing skids inject the accurate dose of additive into the fuel and circulates to blend it uniformly. The critical treatment classes are:
• Performance: Cetane and Lubricity Enhancement for ULSD,
• Winterization: Prevent clouding or gelling of fuel or fuel filter icing, and
• Cleanliness: Biocides for microbe bacteria and fungus.