It is estimated that a commercial truck can utilize approximately $70,000 worth of diesel fuel for the year. This makes the effort of checking for algae-contaminated diesel well worth the time and the comparatively small associated expense. In fact, using algae-contaminated diesel can also add to the estimated $15,000 it takes to maintain your truck on the road. Unfortunately, with the advent of ultra-low sulphur diesel fuel, the past 7 to 8 years have seen a significant rise in the presence of these microbes in fuel tanks.
So, to protect your truck and your wallet, here are the top signs to look for in figuring out if your stored diesel fuel contains algae.
You could find that part of the maintenance costs you have might be spent replacing filters at an increased rate. If you have algae in your diesel tank, the bacteria or fungi (the actual contaminants) as well as the slimy biomass residue that they produce get caught in the filters and clog them up. Filters are also clogged by asphaltenes and the heavy end-fuel components. These are broken down from the fuel and become separated from the initial solution. This can result in inefficient performance and poor mileage from the vehicle. It can even cause the truck to have problems starting.
While in normal circumstances the filter can be changed or cleaned after every 100,000 to 150,000 miles, depending on the duty applications of the truck, contaminated diesel fuel cuts down that time. At a cost of approximately $2,500 to clean or replace the filter this becomes an expensive concern.
Pass the test
To catch the problem before it begins to affect your filters, you need to do some amount of testing. You can do either a pH test or a microbe test. The pH test requires a pH meter which can cost between $100 and $1,000, depending on the type of meter and the features it offers. A pH test indicates the presence of microbes since they produce acid and would therefore change the pH of the diesel fuel. A pH of 7 is the normal, neutral reading so anything below 5.8 will be a strong indication of microbial action in your fuel tank.
Testing for the algae itself will require a microbe culture testing strip, which can be had for about $10 each and can be purchased from a lab or the manufacturer. While it takes about 3 to 4 days to get the results, a positive is usually a sure indication of a contaminated fuel tank.
For more information, visit http://unitedoil.net or a similar website.Share