Join Date: Jan 2013
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Re: I think I screwed up...
No problem mon..
Hydrocarbon fuels are susceptible to various forms of degradation over time causing reduced combustion properties, filter and fuel system clogging, and other nasties. The primary issues are oxidation and re-polymerization, followed by water and then by biological contaminants.
Oxidation and re-polymerization can cause fuel system failure from the formation of gums, varnishes and long chain agglomerations (solid particulates). The increase in catalytic cracking for the production of hydrocarbon fuels has exacerbated the problems of oxidation/re-polymerization. During the catalytic cracking process long chain hydrocarbon molecules are broken into shorter chains which are refined into additional gasoline, kerosene and fuel oils. However, unlike the natural counterparts, the artificially cracked chains have “active ends” – bonds which have been broken and which are susceptible to recombining with other unstable molecules. Lighter products such as gasoline are far more susceptible to this issue than heavier fuels such as kerosene (jet fuel) and diesels.
Water is a long term issue, caused by contaminated fuel from your supplier, condensation and separation of emulsified water from the fuel during storage. The formulation of ethanol modified gasolines makes them (again) more susceptible to emulsified water due to the hygroscopic properties of ethanol.
A modern fuel/water separator will adequately address the issue of non-emulsified water in a fuel system, but provisions to drain any accumulated water from the lower portion of your fuel tanks should be installed and checked on a regular basis. Separated water in a fuel tank can provide an ideal environment for biological growth and tank corrosion. De-watering additives (90% ethanol/methanol) only serve to combine with emulsified water which then precipitates to the bottom of the tank or other low points in the fuel system.
Biological contaminants (bacteria, fungi, algae) primarily reproduce along the fuel/water interface and the resulting "bio-film" can be found along tank walls, baffles and eventually the entire fuel system leading to clogging of filters and small diameter orifices (injectors, injector pumps and carburetor jets). Diesel fuels are more susceptible than gasolines to bio-contamination due to their (relatively) lower toxicity. Most diesel fuels produced in the USA and other industrialized nations contain biocides, but cost issues make the addition of these additives less common in 3rd world environments.
The bottom line is, if you have clean "bright" diesel fuel fuel, purchased from a reputable dealer, stored in a clean tank and delivered through a proper filtration system, a few months storage without additional additives is.... (as stated in the short answer) No problem mon!
"If the wind will not serve, lay to the oars"
Onboard - Solitaire