Diesel Fuel Polishing
There is More to Fuel Polishing
Then Adding Chemicals and
Filtering Your Fuel
Most diesel engine failures originate in the fuel tank. Many articles have been written, and many opinions are voiced about how to maintain diesel fuel quality, as well as what to do about diesel fuel that has "gone bad". Many companies offer a version of diesel fuel polishing with varying claims, but with little substance to these claims.
The importance of Diesel Fuel Management cannot be understated. Diesel fuel problems, causes and cures, are discussed elsewhere in this web site (click here to read and understand The Real Story of Bad Diesel Fuel). The problem addressed here is terminology! What is diesel fuel polishing, and what is not diesel fuel polishing?
The popular term for treating diesel fuel is Fuel Polishing. Many vendors hype their product or process that "polishes your fuel" and returns it to usable quality. Most all of these processes depends heavily on the addition of chemicals -- treating microbial contamination with biocides. They also make extensive use of filtration systems. Many mechanics that see fuel problems, however, just add another Racor (some installations have two or three lined up in series on the fuel line) and/or a series of finer fuel filters (starting off with 30-micron, and working down to 10-micron or 3-micron filters).
Others use novel filtering media, such as paper towels or some other "proprietary" means of removing solids from the fuel. But these approaches only treat the symptoms of the problem. Also, repeated use of biocides in the same fuel often exacerbates the problem, i.e.: further degrading the fuel at the molecular level.
Fuel that has been degraded with contamination from microbial infestation is a common problem and a well-known subject of discussion. This problem, however, is only part of what needs to be addressed, and really is a minor part of the overall problem. Chemicals do a pretty good job, but microbial growth comes back in time and the addition of these chemicals cause the organic matter to form solids that settle in your fuel tank. Having your fuel treated with any of these other pure filtration systems on the market do not eliminate the need for ongoing periodic chemical treatments.
The problem that chemicals and filtration does not solve is the agglomeration of asphaltines, the high carbon content, heavy end crude oil molecules. It leads to the formation of larger and larger clusters and solids, which are very difficult to completely combust. The presence of this degraded fuel may first be evident from the presence of black smoke from exhaust and less than acceptable engine performance. These solids may grow so large that they will not pass through the filter element and become part of the polymer and sludge build up plugging the filter (more information on this at The Real Story of Bad Diesel Fuel article). Short fuel filter life is the next sign of fuel degradation problems. Neither chemicals nor filtration will reverse this aspect of fuel degradation.
But the ALGAE-X unit, when installed in the fuel line or when incorporated as part of a fuel circulation system (either a manually controlled or automated system or a mobile maintenance cart), and used in conjunction with AFC-705 Diesel Fuel Catalyst, dissolves the clusters and solids, stabilizes the fuel, and eliminates the previously accumulated tank sludge. The results are "Clear & Bright Fuel", improved filterability, optimal combustion and clean fuel systems. Degraded fuel is quickly restored to usable condition. With regular fuel polishing utilizing the ALGAE-X MFC unit or one of our diesel fuel circulation systems, chemical treatments to rid the system of microbial contamination is no longer needed, further reducing costs and maintenance.