Diesel bug is a generic name for the microbial contamination that grows in diesel fuel. It has become an especially troublesome form of fuel contamination since we started using biodiesel.
Pages 12-15 of our Fuel Conditioning Handbook give a useful insight into why microbial contamination is increasingly becoming a threat to the quality of our stored fuel, and how to distinguish between the different categories of diesel bug. Click here to request your free copy
Diesel fuel now contains up to 7% biodiesel; this is great for the environment but not always good for organisations having to store fuel.
Biodiesel is hygroscopic; it holds and attracts water far more than petrochemical diesel. Attracting water is bad news for diesel fuel. It encourages the growth of diesel bug and leads to the formation of gums and resins which can stick to the side of fuel tanks and injectors. It can even cause layers of sediment to build up inside the tank.
This puts your critical power at risk.
When we used petrochemical diesel we had few problems with the diesel bug. It thrives where it finds both water and diesel; petrochemical diesel does not attract water the way biodiesel does.
The diesel bug is not a single type of organism. There are thousands of different types of bacteria, mould and yeast found inhabiting fuel systems. This kind of contamination is hard to predict as every system offers a unique environment.
There are broadly four categories of diesel bug:
Algae are a form of plant life that require light to grow. Although you find many types of microbial growth in biodiesel, it is very unusual to find algae inside a lightless tank.
Prevention is always best. The key to maintaining fuel quality is good housekeeping. IPU Group recommends following a comprehensive fuel conditioning programme to ensure that your diesel-powered equipment runs reliably and economically. Effective programmes include four stages: testing, cleaning, polishing and stabilisation.
We offer ClearTank, a comprehensive tank cleaning service that removes contamination that has grown beyond the level which polishing can clear.