Diesel Fuel has Changed
The combined effects of adding FAME (Fatty Acid Methyl Esters) and reducing sulphur have changed the characteristics of diesel fuel. The fuel supply chain is adapting to deal with the consequences in storage, from distribution to storage and right through to vehicles. Avoiding water is much more difficult now as FAME, being hygroscopic, attracts it. With more water comes increased incidence of injector problems, corrosion and lubricity issues. Then there is, of course, microbial contamination aka ‘diesel bug’.

Diesel and the ‘Diesel Bug’
The Diesel Bug is a consortium of organisms which live at the fuel water interface. They live in the water phase whilst feeding on the fuel. Of all the organisms in this consortium, H res is the most recognisable and also damaging component of ‘sludge’. This fungus is the main culprit in instances of filter blockage & tank corrosion when left unchecked. The rest of the consortium includes bacteria and other types of fungi, particularly some yeasts which can also cause fuel system problems. Diesel bug microbes thrive wherever there is food and water. Fuel storage, dispensing and some vehicle fuel systems are therefore dream homes for diesel bug bacteria, yeasts and moulds. The trend towards greener fuels is creating pressure to further reduce sulphur and increase biofuel content. Sulphur kills bugs and biofuels attract additional water, so changing fuel specifications are set to make diesel fuel an increasingly diesel bug friendly environment. Diesel bugs which grow unchecked can block fuel filters, and cause injection problems. They are so corrosive that over time, they can damage the structural integrity of the tank and injectors

Effects of the Diesel Bug

Blocked Fuel Systems and Filters

Blocked fuel system and filters can cause catastrophic failures like engine shut-down due to fuel starvation and increased engine wear. Non-uniform flow causes variation in combustion which Increases piston and cylinder wear rates and increased torque on camshafts translate into increased maintenance costs. Engine failure due to fuel starvation can be a particularly embarrassing consequence of biofilm accumulation.


Corrosion Damage

Microenvironment’s conducive to microbial contamination may be produced throughout any storage or service tank. Volatile organics in the vapor phase above stored fuel are absorbed by condensate droplets, providing an excellent environment for biofilm formation on exposed surfaces which leads to corrosion of tanks, fuel systems, pistons, cylinders and injectors.

Fuel Quality Issues and Increased Fuel Consumption

Uncontrolled microbial contamination of diesel fuels has a significant negative economic impact at every phase of the fuel production, transport, storage and consumption. Degradation of diesel fuel can begin during interim storage at the refinery. Often, contamination processes which start at this stage go undetected until end user fleet operators experience problems. Microbes attack the fuel and additives directly. They also cause secondary problems, including sludge formation, fouling and corrosion. Tank-farm maintenance and fleet operations costs can be reduced substantially by controlling contamination before the problems occur.

Engine Failure and Expensive Repairs

Why FUELSTAT® Diesel? Adopting a routine fuel maintenance program featuring the most accurate field test for microbial contamination, FUELSTAT® can help transportation fleets (Marine, Land and Aviation) and standby power users mitigate fuel quality issues and ensure safe and effective engine performance—maximizing the ROI of critical assets.

  • FUELSTAT® DIESEL is an IATA approved, on site diesel bug test.
  • In just 10 minutes, without any special skills or equipment, the pregnancy style fuel testing technology. allows quick and easy detection of fuel contamination.
  • Detect both high and low levels of fuel contamination within minutes.
  • Accurately identify the type of contaminants that may be present in your fuel.
  • Discover fuel contamination at an early stage before it becomes problematic.
  • Easily determine the right course of action to treat the problem.
  • Keep a simple log of test results using the easy to read test paddles.
  • No special equipment needed – everything is provided.
  • All components of the FUELSTAT® DIESEL on site fuel test are completely disposable.