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Remember last year’s issues? Fame hasn’t gone away

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Fuel Additive Science Technologies Limited (FAST) formulates, blends and distributes fuel additives under the exocet® brand and as own-brand products for a wide range of customers.

Our fuel additives use tried and tested chemistry and methodology from the world’s most reputable suppliers.

Our staff includes recognised oil and fuel industry professionals of long-standing, with experience in fuels science, refinery processes and chemicals manufacture.

For more information visit Exocet

What we offer – what are fuel additives?

Adding chemicals to fuel to achieve a “different” or “desired” performance is a branch of the oil industry that goes back 100 years. It is not a new concept and need not be viewed with the scepticism that it is in some quarters.

Only the very cheapest road fuels do not contain an additive “package” and, via the Worldwide Fuels Charter (see later), the majority of the world’s engine and vehicle manufacturers now prescribe the use of additives.

2019 and all that…

For many farmers and contractors in the UK, 2019 was a year you’d want to forget from a machinery operations standpoint.

The fuel filter blocking issues that started in July proliferated for the remainder of the year and continued into the early part of 2020.

This was particularly the case if fuel was stored for periods longer than a month. The cost to the industry was huge in terms of replacement filters and significant downtime.

To say nothing of ill-will between end users and fuel distributors.

The problem

The root causes were never properly established.

The extensive work carried out by FAST, however, analysing over one hundred fuel samples and around fifty fuel filters, clearly points to elements of the much-increased volume of biodiesel component (FAME) dropping out.

This was evident not only via blocked filters but also by the “scum” seen floating on the fuel surface within storage tanks.

Although probably likely to occur more readily at lower temperatures, the dropout can also occur at ambient summer temperatures.

Additional work carried out by FAST clearly demonstrates that dropout and particulate accumulation and agglomeration worsens over time.

The longer fuel is stored for, therefore, the more likely you are to experience a problem.

The invisible issue

A critical finding of our work was that the problems are not always (in fact, rarely) visible to the naked eye.

Even the poorest performing fuels in terms of filter blocking issues can look clear and bright.

So, what was – and are – the solutions?

There is a need to stop the agglomeration of the unstable biodiesel components or, in cases where the problem already exists, to re-disperse the components into the bulk fuel.

FAST initially utilised a high dispersancy/detergency product originally formulated for tank cleaning purposes.

This proved to be immediately successful and was adopted on a widespread basis throughout the fuel distribution industry.

Prevention is better than cure

With this knowledge we moved to look at prevention.

It became apparent that those farmers and contractors who had been using FAST’s regular use diesel and gas oil additives for several months prior to last year’s problems, did not experience any of the issues.

Exocet® Gas Oil Supreme, Exocet® Gas Oil Conditioner and Exocet® Diesel Supreme all contain sufficient quantities of the dispersant and detergent chemistries to hold the biodiesel in solution, or at least to keep it sufficiently dispersed so as not to result in filter blocking and fuel starvation issues.

The World Wide Fuels Charter

It is worth here a quick reference to the Word Wide Fuels Charter.

This is the alternative fuel standard proposed by the world’s leading engine manufacturers and vehicle suppliers and represents their ‘ideal’ in terms of engine performance and emissions control.

Most engine suppliers and agricultural equipment suppliers are signatories to the Charter.

A key element of the Charter is the need to control fuel injector cleanliness and the need, therefore, for fuel to contain a deposit control additive (detergent).

The three FAST additives listed above for the agricultural market comply with this requirement, which is now reinforced by technical bulletins from the major OEMs.

The required fuel additives are now recommended, if not expected.

FAME is not going away

FAST continues to supply these products to those fuel users keen to eliminate the potential for future problems, which we know still exist.

FAME has NOT gone away and already this summer we have seen and have dealt with sporadic repeats of last year’s filter blocking issues. Please don’t get caught out.

Act to protect your fuel NOW.