Deck Fill Protection Device
Manufactured by Marsh Marine...Tank Cleaning Professionals         “Our experience is your protection since 1966”
Diesel Fuel...Continued: A rmed   with   these   facts,   let’s   explore   some   of   the   myths   about   diesel   fuel:      It   is   commonly   believed   that   diesel   fuel is   stable;   pour   it   into   your   tank   and   forget   about   it.      Bad   mistake!     As   I   mentioned   earlier,   today’s   diesel   fuel   is   not what   it   used   to   be   and   in   fact   it   begins   to   deteriorate   after   only   three   months   in   calm   storage   (typical   situation   of most   boats).      Heat,   oxidation,   the   pressure   of   fuel   pumps   and   injectors   all   begin   to   affect   quality.   Little   by   little   the chemistry   of   the   fuel   begins   to   deteriorate   at   the   molecular   level.      Minute   particles   form   and   much   like   magnets they   attract   one   another,   forming   an   ever   larger   mass.     This   process   is   called   agglomeration   which   is   really   the   fuel returning   to   its   natural   state.      Over   time   the   mass   appears   to   grow   and   forms   a   heavy   gooey   sludge.      It   clings   to tank   walls   and   settles   to   the   tank   bottom.     Your   first   indication   might   be   dirty   fuel   filters.     You   may   think   you   have algae   growing   in   your   tank.      Tain’t   so.      It   is   a   misconception   that   algae   grow   in   diesel   fuel.      Algae   are   a   green plant   whose   life   process   requires   chlorophyll.      Green   plants   must   have   sunlight   to   produce   chlorophyll.      Algae cannot   survive   let   alone   grow   in   the   light-less   recess   of   your   fuel   tank.      Though   the   dark   brown   to   black   deposits may   seem   to   be   alive   because   they   increase   in   mass,   they   are   actually   inert,   totally   dead.      So   what   are   they?      This goop   is   collectively   called Asphaltenes.      It   is   one   of   the   two   major   enemies   of   your   fuel.     The   other   is   water   which we   will   discuss   next.      Before   someone   sends   me   nasty   emails,   let   me   clarify   that   though   algae   cannot   live   in   diesel fuel,   some   forms   of   bacteria   and   fungi   can,   but   these   are   very,   very   seldom   the   cause   of   major   fuel   problems.      In short,   if   you   leave   your   diesel   fuel   stored   for   long,   idle   periods,   it   is   going   to   breakdown   forming   asphaltene sludge. T he   second   fuel   culprit   is   water   contamination.     Water   in   diesel   is   death   to   your   engine,   make   no   mistake   about   it!     If   it   gets   past   the   filters   it   will   certainly   cause   engine   damage.      If   you   are   lucky,   just   your   injectors   will   be   ruined since   water   will   destroy   their   hot   spray   tips.      Left   untreated   in   the   tank,   bacteria   and   fungi   can   grow   in   there.      In combination   with   the   sulphur   naturally   found   in   diesel   fuel,   water   will   form   sulphuric   acid   and   corrode   aluminum and   especially   black   iron   tanks.      In   virtually   every   older Taiwanese   trawler   (which   typically   have   black   iron   tanks) I’ve   worked   on,   there   has   been   iron   scale   caused   by   acid   fuel   corrosion.      You   may   feel   adding   one   of   the   biocide chemicals   to   your   fuel   will   protect   against   microbial   contamination,   but   these   additives   actually   cause   more   harm than   they   cure.      Even   if   the   product   does   kill   the   microbes,   it   does   not   remove   the   dead   growth   which   tends   to cause even more clogging problems by sinking to the tank bottom. S o   where   does   water   come   from?      Some   of   you   are   not   going   to   like   the   answers,   but   stay   with   me.      Water   enters your   tank   in   only   three   significant   ways:      fuel   you   take   on,   a   leak,   or   a   poorly   installed   vent.      First   let’s   deal   with the   one   you   feel   I   failed   to   list,   condensation.      This   old   myth   dies   very   slowly,   but   studies   have   shown   that   very, very   little   condensation   will   ever   enter   a   boat’s   fuel   tanks.      I   like   to   prove   this   one   with   a   demonstration   and   you might   too.      Take   a   cold   drink   can,   a   beer   works   great!      Notice   how   the   sides   sweat.      This   is   water   vapor   from   the warmer   ambient   air   condensing   on   the   cold   sides   of   the   can.      Next,   take   a   hot   cup   of   coffee,   notice   no   sweating. Condensation   will   only   accumulate   on   the   walls   of   a   container   that   is   colder   than   the   outside   air.      This   is   a situation   that   is   very   difficult   to   encounter   in   the   real   world.      Fuel   tanks   are   nearly   always   inside   the   boat   where they   are   sheltered   from   the   colder   outside   air,   even   if   only   a   bit.      Okay,   you   say,   but   how   about   if   the   day   suddenly heats   up   quicker   than   the   tank   and   fuel   within?      This   situation   would   be   rare,   but   even   if   it   did   occur,   the   moist outside air can only enter the tank via the vent.  Here is where science and math prevail. 
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