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Advantages and disadvantages of long-term fuel storage


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The high cost of fuel is here to stay for long. Hence, fleet companies have chosen to switch their regular fuel purchasing processes wherein they purchased fuel on a daily basis, or in a few weeks. Now the new strategies of these companies include gaining contracts for higher volumes of diesel fuel at subsidized rates and buying it on the sports market where the prices are lesser than normal. This helps the companies in getting top-quality fuel at a reduced price.

Both strategies usually need the right accessibility of sufficient stored fuel tanks which may lead to other issues such as storing fuel for a long period, biomass deposits because of microbial actions, chemical instability in the diesel, and frequent regulations to comply with.

The diesel fuel storage stability has been check during several military actions extensively due to its concern in fuel reserves. Fuel like diesel can usually be kept in storage for 6- 12 months without any loss of quality. The diesel fuel storage tanks should be kept in dry and cool places. It will last more when filtered at regular gaps and preserved with biocides and fuel stabilizers. Diesel can last for more than 12 months when stored at 70 degree Fahrenheit or less. However, when stored at high temperature, the time may fall short to 6 months to a year.

Maintenance of the tank

The diesel fuel storage tanks maintenance is crucial to avoid issues related to water buildup during durable storage. When fuel and water accumulate in the tank, microorganisms thrive at the interface between them, leading to the formation of sludge. This sludge can cause deposits of injector and particulates, clogging filters and the injection system. The growth of microbes depends on water infection in stored fuel, resulting in fuel degradation.

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The negative effects of microbial progression include a fall in combustion effectiveness, inefficient detergency, high pour point and point, a rise in corrosion of fuel parts, and clogged fuel filters. To prevent contamination problems, it is essential to minimize the exposure of diesel fuel to water. When storing diesel for an extended period, ensure you purchase dry fuel from a reliable supplier and add fuel completely in the tank, leaving minimal headspace for temperature-related expansion.

If fuel is used, replace it promptly to reduce condensation, as excess air space causes water condensation and creates a favorable environment for microbial growth. Consider incorporating a water separator in the diesel storage strategy and regularly discharge water bottoms from stored tanks to minimize contamination issues. By implementing these maintenance practices, you can ensure the quality and performance of your stored diesel fuel.


Regular sampling and lab testing of stored fuel are highly recommended to detect and minimize problems timely. Stability additives are accessible to extend the usability of stored fuel for durable periods. However, the necessity of using a stability additive differs broadly depending on factors such as fuel origin, processing, and merger processes at the fuel refinery. Different fuels have complex chemistry, making it important to find the right additive for each specific fuel type.

Fuel instability can occur due to oxidation, leading to chain reactions. And antioxidants help interrupt these reactions. The next cause of instability are acid-base and stabilizers help avoid such reactions by forming dissolved products that don’t react ahead.

Specific metals, such as copper and iron, when present in trace amounts in fuel, can accelerate chemical reactions causing instability. Additives that bind to such trace metals neutralize their effect.

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In case of microbial growth reaching problematic levels, biocides are preferred. The ideal biocide should dissolve in water and fuel, attacking microbes in both. However, in case of heavy biofilm, mechanical cleaning of the tank may be necessary as biocides may not penetrate deep into the biofilm. Additionally, even if a biocide efficiently curbs microbial growth, physically removing the accumulated biomass may be needed to prevent filter plugging.

Overall, periodic testing, appropriate stability additives, and effective biocides are essential elements of proper fuel storage maintenance to ensure fuel stability and prevent operational issues.

Tank laws

Both aboveground and underground fuel storage tanks are subject to regulation at both federal and local standards. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) oversees federal regulations due to the agency’s concern about the potential threat posed by stored fuel tanks, particularly underground tanks to groundwater that serves as a vital drinking water resource for a lot of people.

UST laws have a proactive approach, aiming to stop releases by closely monitoring tank contents and setting deadlines for the elimination of unused tanks before they become problematic.

Whilst underground tank laws are generally compulsory at the state, federal laws need units with fuel storage tanks exceeding 110 gallons to list their storage systems, adhere to leak recognition, spill runoff, and corrosion shield requirements, and maintain safety policies. When underground tanks are not in use, units should follow specific closure rules, typically established by individual states.


Bellie Brown
Bellie Brown
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