Diesel fuels used within the Military can be used in both diesel engines and gas turbines that have been modified to run diesel fuel. Diesel fuel, however, remains an often forgotten commodity although it can be one of the most critical components within an operating engine and if treated in a poor manor can contribute to the failure of the engine and the overall military machine. Such failures can put lives in danger.
In the case of the Navy, diesel fuel is often transported via sea and thus exposed to water and other contaminants. Additionally it can sometimes be left unattended for many months during refit or maintenance periods and it is only when something goes wrong do we understand how critical the fuel is to the reliable operation of the military machine.
It is a well-known fact that poorly maintained diesel fuel is directly responsible for greater than 80% of fuel system failures and even higher in new advanced HPCR fuel injection systems. As such, the diesel fuel must be maintained in a pristine condition and as close to an “as refined” condition as possible to ensure ultimate reliability.
The diesel engines used within today’s Military systems must maintain peek performance whilst burning fuel at economic levels once thought to be impossible. The latest advanced High Pressure Common Rail (HPCR) injection systems and exhaust gas recirculation and purification technologies have certainly assisted in these advancements and due to these extreme levels of performance, the diesel fuels required to run these engines must be of the same premium quality.
Diesel fuels by their very nature are unstable organic hydrocarbons, which degrade over time depending on a multitude of factors. As a fuel breaks down over time, gums and insoluble contaminants are formed within the fuel stock. These factors along with solid particulate and water contamination contribute to the majority of fuel system component wear and failures.
Diesel fuel that is not maintained correctly as close to “as refined” as possible can cause the following common problems:
- Poor starting or failure to start
- Low power from the engine
- Poor or rough idle
- Increased fuel consumption
- Excessive Smoke
- Increased emissions
Diesel fuel that is maintained in a condition as close to “as refined” as possible will out perform a diesel fuel that is under, or poorly, maintained. In order to achieve optimal fuel quality, the contaminants in fuel must be filtered out, water must be separated from the fuel, and the fuel must be conditioned. This process of filtration, separation, and conditioning is the foundation for achieving the quality of fuel necessary for ultimate reliability.