The Advantages of In-Line Fuel Polishing Systems


Learn What They Are and How They Work

In our last post, we discussed the importance of cleaning and maintaining your generator’s fuel on a regular basis. Today, we’re going to talk about a solution which greatly reduces or eliminates the need for regular fuel tank maintenance: in-line fuel polishing systems.

Basically, the way a fuel polishing system works is that it circulates fuel from the fuel tank, through filters, and back into the tank on a periodic basis. Most of the time, our fuel cleaning services are called into play about once a year. A fuel polishing system eliminates the need for annual fuel cleaning, and ensures that your diesel will be ready to go when you need it.

An in-line fuel polishing system works in three stages. In the first stage, the separator and coalescer removes water, large particulate and tank sludge, and drains the unwanted materials through a valve. In the second stage, a fuel conditioner reconditions and stabilizes the fuel, reversing the deterioration process, and halting the development of tank sludge. In the third stage, dispersed and emulsified water is removed, and filters remove very fine solids (sometimes down to 3 microns) using industrial waterblock fine filters.

The Difference Between Polishing and Filtration

That being said, there’s a difference between fuel polishing and fuel filtration. Filtration is generally defined as the process of separating suspended particles from a fluid by flowing both through a porous material in which the fluid can pass while the suspended particles are trapped. Some filter media will absorb water, and water blocking filters are generally more expensive than particulate-only filters. However, given the damage water causes to diesel fuel, we would posit that the extra cost is worth it.

Fuel polishing is defined as the removal of water, sediment, non-combustible, particulate matter and microbial contamination below levels stated in ASTM D975 (Standard Specification for Diesel Fuel Oils), while re-suspending combustible particulate matter to maintain ASTM standards for BTU value, lubricity, and cetane.

The primary difference between fuel polishing and fuel filtration is that fuel polishing acknowledges that fuel itself can degrade and cause solids. Fuel filters will extract the solids, whereas fuel polishers break down the combustible solids so that the fuel stays within industry specifications.

For more information about in-line fuel polishing systems, contact Clean Fuels Associates for a quote, or to set up an appointment to discuss your fuel-cleaning needs.