Unplanned downtime due to power outages can cost your business thousands of dollars, if not more. Businesses, hospitals, educational institutions, and residential complexes are investing in power backup. This is a great step towards enjoying uninterrupted power even when the main source is cut off.

Maintaining your generator’s shelf life is a crucial step in ensuring a continuous power supply. There are a number of recommended best practices when it comes to the maintenance of a generator’s fuel system. Regular fuel polishing is one such practice that all generator owners must be aware of.

This blog explains the process of fuel polishing, its benefits, and how it improves the shelf life of your diesel generator.

What is fuel polishing?

Fuel polishing is a technical process used to clean hydrocarbon and oil fuels that remain in storage tanks for future use. The stored fuel undergoes a filtration process where contaminants are extracted without the use of fuel additives.

Contaminants may include sediment, microbial growth, and bacterium whose presence reduces the efficiency of generators.

The fuel polishing process also helps reduce the potential build-up of sludge, which usually happens at the bottom of, say, a diesel fuel tank.

What is a fuel polisher system?

A fuel polishing system is an apparatus that uses a combination of fuel filtration systems to clean the fuel. Some generators come fitted with a fuel polishing system. When this is the case, fuel polishing can happen without needing an external fuel polishing service.

If a generator does not have its own fuel polishers, an engineer can be deployed from a generator maintenance service provider which offers a fuel polishing service.

Today, industrial large-scale backup power systems come with their own attached fuel polishing system, which can automatically run. The flow rate can be as much as 25,000 liters of fuel polished within one hour.

Fuel polishing is an essential generator maintenance process. It must be conducted at least once a year.

Why is diesel fuel polishing needed?

Generators use different kinds of fuels. Those that use diesel fuel often need to store it for long periods. Fuel storage tanks may sometimes hold diesel fuel for as long as ten years.

However, diesel fuel may start collecting impurities within six months of storage. For instance, it collects particulates that turn into grit over a period of time.

As diesel fuel is used, it can also pull in external dirt into the tank. Dirt settles at the bottom of the tank. Hence, diesel generators must have their own diesel fuel polishing systems.

Diesel fuel generators must have a regular fuel quality test followed by fuel polishing. Fuel polishing is an important pillar of this process, resulting in improved fuel quality and uninterrupted fuel supply.

Benefits of filtering fuel tanks

Fuel Tank

Here is a snapshot of how diesel fuel polishing can expand the shelf-life of generators:

  • The diesel fuel storage tank cleaning process prevents sludge and microbial contamination from building up at the bottom of fuel tanks and on tank walls.
  • The fuel polishing system helps maintain fuel quality and filter out contaminants and impurities.
  • It is equipped with water separators that help in removing water that has entered the fuel tanks.

Impact on diesel fuel power backup

  • The purity of fuel enables the efficient running of generators by increasing fuel supply availability. This process extends the time it can provide backup power systems during a power failure.
  • Reduced contamination of the fuel enables the generator to function properly. It reduces the number of breakdowns and extends the shelf-life of the generator for several years. This has a direct impact on cost savings.
  • There is no need to facilitate regular fuel replacement, which comes at a cost.

In conclusion

Generator maintenance is as important as having a reliable power backup. Fuel polishing is an important part of this process.

Without it, the fuel quality deteriorates over time, which can affect the generator’s efficiency and longevity. Hence, it is best to ensure the generator has its own fuel polishing system.

The best approach is to partner with power generation specialists like Central States Diesel Generators, who understand key challenges and can advise enterprises on the best generators for their power needs.

FAQs About Fuel Polishing

1. What is fuel polishing?

This is a mechanical process by which the fuel system used by the generator is cleaned regularly. The fuel polishing apparatus consists of several filters, and it usually comes attached to the generator to enable easy and regular fuel polishing.

2. Why do generators need fuel polishing?

Fuel that is stored over a period of time tends to get contaminated with various types of impurities. For instance, water and dirt may enter the storage fuel storage tank.

Dirt is collected over a while and settles at the bottom of the tank. Contaminated fuel reduces the efficiency of the generator. This can lead to reduced output of the fuel systems and generator breakdowns.

3. Do diesel generators also need fuel polishing?

Yes absolutely. Diesel power backup engines require diesel fuel polishing at least once a year. Diesel tends to collect impurities, which sediment at the bottom of the tank. Over time, diesel develops a grit-like consistency unless cleaned regularly.

Hence, diesel fuel polishing systems are important to convert contaminated diesel fuel into clean diesel fuel.

4. What are the benefits of using a diesel fuel polisher system?

Regular fuel polishing helps to reduce fuel contamination, such as biomass sludge formations. It helps remove any water that has entered the fuel tank.

It also removes any solid particles in the fuel. A generator with an in-built fuel polishing system automates the fuel cleaning process.

This eliminates the need for any external intervention from a generator maintenance service, thus reducing maintenance costs, effort, and time.

5. What is the frequency of diesel fuel polishing schedules?

Typically, fuel polishing should be done at least once a year. Staff in charge of power backup must routinely check how long the diesel fuel has been stored. This practice helps to increase the reliability of generators.