Diesel fuel is essential to power generators, cars and other equipment to provide power, especially in remote locations. It is, therefore, reasonable to have an ample supply of the product in fuel storage tanks within the location so that it can be readily available. However, if diesel fuel is improperly stored, it can create a safety issue for people and the environment. Here are 7 safety tips on how to store diesel outdoors.
Storing Diesel Fuel Outdoors
Extra diesel fuel is often in a fuel storage tank in an outdoor location so that the product can be in an environment with slightly cooler temperatures to make the fuel more stable and less inflammable. When stored under an environmental temperature of about 20° Celsius, diesel fuel can remain in a useable condition for 12 months or more, but when the ambient temperature goes higher than 30° Celsius, the fuel will only remain useable for 6- 12 months (https://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp-country/en_au/media/fuel-news/long-term-storage-diesel.pdf). Storing diesel fuel outdoors has its own challenges.
Shield the Tank from Weather Elements
One of these challenges is exposure to the elements. The first tip is protection from weather elements. If the storage tank is above ground, it is advisable to build a canopy or some form of enclosure around the tank to shield it from the weather. The canopy will keep out the sun and prevent it from heating up and becoming inflammable.
Keep the Storage Tank Full
The presence of water allows the growth of bacteria and fungus which produce organic acids that render the fuel unstable. The tank breathes, so most of the water comes from condensation. It is advisable to keep the tanks full so as to reduce the space for water to condense and to prevent corrosion in the upper half of the tank that is empty.
Drain Storage Tank Regularly
Water should be drained from the storage tank at least once a month. If the storage tank shows an increased tendency to collect water, the exercise should be carried out more often, possibly on a weekly basis. The rate at which water collects will also depend on the climate in the locality but it tends to be higher in hot humid coastal areas.
Keep Out Dust and Dirt
Dust and dirt contain trace elements such as zinc and copper, so when diesel fuel is exposed to dust and dirt, these elements quickly react with the fuel to form unstable compounds that can make the fuel unstable. A regular maintenance programme should be established to make sure dirt is removed from the storage tanks.
Prevent Contact with Reactive Metals
For the same reason, it is essential to make sure that the fuel is not in contact with any surfaces which contain copper or zinc. If this happens to be so, a metal de-activator additive should be used to prevent the metals from reacting with the fuel.
Fuel Tank Hire
It may be advisable to hire a diesel fuel tank which comes with the necessary features required to ensure proper storage of extra fuel. Some storage tanks have a well-defined point down the tank where water can collect and be drained and there are tanks equipped with automatic filtering system which enables the removal of gums and sediment before they can cause problems.
Take Fuel Samples for Regular Testing
Buying in bulk can reduce the unit cost of your fuel, so if you use a bulk fuel tank to hold extra diesel for a long time, arrange for samples to be taken at regular intervals to monitor the fuel condition. Ensure that the fuel supplied conforms with the recognised specification in the first place so that the fuel can remain useable until it runs out.