How can I protect stored fuel for a long time?

Written by Capt. Jeff Werner

Temperature, humidity and condensation are very important factors in managing fuel integrity. The presence of free water provides a medium for microbiological growth that result in the formation of slime and acids causing corrosion of metal surfaces such as storage tanks, pumps and injectors. Therefore, good housekeeping and purchasing clean, dry fuel from a reputable supplier are definitely the first steps.

It is recommended to start out protecting stored fuel with a chemical conditioner to stabilize the fuel in the tank. This chemical conditioner is a fuel catalyst that also contains corrosion inhibitors and lubricity enhancers to not only preserve fuel integrity, but also to protect your engine equipment. Periodically, additional chemical conditioner is added to keep the fuel stabilized.

You also need to remove water from storage tanks on a regular interval. This can be done with a mobile tank cleaning system. It is used to remove water from the tank bottom and works as a fuel polishing system. Storage tanks can also use a “water eliminator”. A “water eliminator” is a small nylon or larger stainless steel cylinder, containing a special polymer. The polymer will absorb the water, and not the fuel, for easy removal.

The use of an adequate fuel quality management program and service, regular fuel testing to monitor fuel integrity are an absolute necessity and will save money. In applications such as emergency power generation, installing a fully automated fuel recirculation and fuel filtration system is recommended.

Capt. Jeff Werner, a Licensed USCG Master, has sailed professionally throughout the world.  He is also the Diesel Doctor, helping to keep your boat’s fuel clean and bright.