Bio-diesel and ULSD (Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel) in marine use

FUEL SET™ FCC effectively treats bio-diesel and ULSD (Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel )

The EU Directive's new diesel with biofuel can have detrimental effect on marine engines.

Known as Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel (ULSD), this new grade of diesel fuel will have to be used by many commercial vessels, leisure vessels and yachts after the 14th January, 2011. Sulphur-free gas oil, containing biodiesel, is more prone to contamination by bacterial/fungal growth than its predecessor. Bacterial and fungal growth can result in blocked fuel filters and increase corrosion and prolonged use of contaminated fuel could result in serious damage to engines.

Bacterial growth can be prevented by eliminating free water from the fuel tanks and conducting regular checks to ensure the tanks remain free of water. ULSD contains only 10 parts per million of sulphur (previously 1000 ppm) and its use in inland waterways and coastal waters is required by an EU directive. Most existing boat engines will run quite happily with the reduction of sulphur but some will require an additive to replace the loss of its lubricating effect. Operators are advised to ask their engine manufacturer for guidance.

Some of this new fuel will contain up to 7% of FAME - Fatty Acid Methyl Ester. This is a bio-fuel and known to attract water which, in turn, creates the environment enjoyed by the diesel ‘bug’. This, in turn, can have a serious detrimental effect on marine engines causing blocked filters, stuck injectors, damage to seals and components leading to engine failure. In addition, sulphur-free gasoil containing FAME is a better solvent than the gas oil previously used and, as a result, may pick up or loosen deposits already in fuel systems and fuel tanks.

Boat operators and yachtsmen have always been advised to keep their tanks as full as possible to reduce the areas of the fuel tanks that can cause condensation, especially when over wintering, but the storage life of fuel with FAME is much reduced. Tanks may need to be left emptier, but condensation must be dealt with.

Left untreated, water separates from diesel and provides an ideal growth environment for fungi to flourish. FUEL SET™ FCC will protect your fuel by dealing with the free water – the source of most engines’ problems.

The Department of Transport has said that up to 75 % of the new fuel may be FAME-free but this cannot be guaranteed. Therefore, FAME-free fuel may not be available in some areas especially where there few options to store and dispense more than one type of fuel.

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