Diesel fuel is one of the largest day-to-day costs that the transportation industry is faced with, and with oil prices rising year to year, the pressure to maintain a profitable business is an ongoing problem. As a result, companies are now seeking methods or systems that can help alleviate these problems. The latest diesel engines used in on-road trucks and rail locomotives are now equipped with advanced High Pressure Common Rail (HPCR) fuel injection systems. These remarkable devices have been the cornerstones to advances in combustion efficiency and allow new engines to achieve the stringent emissions levels devised under the engine Tier ratings.
To protect HPCR components, much lower concentrations of fine particles and water need to be maintained within the fuel system than were previously accepted. Making this even more challenging are the lagging practices in the design of fuel handling and storage facilities used within the transportation industry.
Diesel fuels by their very nature are composed of unstable organic hydrocarbons, which degrade over time depending on a multitude of factors. As a fuel breaks down, gums and insoluble contaminants develop within the fuel stock. Natural fuel degradation, along with inorganic particulate and water contamination, make up the majority of fuel system component wear and failures.
It is a well-known fact that poorly maintained diesel fuel is directly responsible for greater than 80% of fuel system failures within the transportation industry, with the percentage being 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.
Diesel fuel that is not maintained properly at as close to “as refined” as possible can cause the following common problems:
- Poor starting or failure to start
- Reduced product rates
- Reduced availability
- 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.