Fuel Testing

Our products are used to test fuel in a couple of ways. Fuel blending is the process of insuring a fuel has the desired composition in terms of relative concentration of components. Testing fuel for contamination ensures that the equipment that burns the fuel will not suffer damage from impurities in the fuel. 

Fuel Blending

Fuel blending is commonly used to produce diesel fuel and gasoline. As the global commitment to renewable energy sources grows, the importance of using biodiesel as a blending component with diesel fuel has increased. Biodiesel consists of fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) which are produced by the transesterification of certain feedstock oils, such as soy, rapeseed, canola, and others. The biodiesel is then blended with diesel fuel at amounts required by the regulatory agencies of different countries. It is important for fuel terminals and distributors, as well as regulatory agencies, to check the concentration of biodiesel in the diesel fuel in order to make sure it is within these allowable limits. Diesel fuel with too little biodiesel will not meet renewable fuel standards and fuel with too much biodiesel may cause engine failures.

The use of ethanol as a gasoline additive has increased dramatically over the past few years and will likely continue to increase. For fuel blenders, this means an added challenge to avoid an incorrect blend that could lead to regulatory fines, loss of customer confidence and damage to equipment. A quick on-site analysis with a portable mid-infrared based analyzer, such as the InfraCal 2 Ethanol Blend Analyzer can help fuel blenders quickly flag out-of-spec product and ensure the final blend meets specifications.

Fuel Contamination

Contamination levels of liquid fuel entering the combustor of a gas turbine or diesel engine must be low to avoid high temperature corrosion and fuel system fouling. Accordingly, each of the major gas turbine and diesel engine manufacturers has strict contamination limits that must be met in order to comply with the warranty requirements. The responsibility to assure compliance lies with the owner of the user and can only be guaranteed with on-site fuel analysis for contaminants and ash-forming metals.

Operating experience has shown that some of the ash-forming substances that may be present in a fuel can lead to corrosion and deposit problems. Ash-forming materials such as sodium. Potassium and vanadium may be in a fuel as oil-soluble organometallic compounds, as water soluble salts or as solid foreign contamination. Their presence and concentration varies with the geographical source of a crude oil and they are concentrated in the residual fractions during the refining process. Although the remaining distillates are typically contaminant free, ash-forming materials may be introduced later in the form of salt-bearing water or by mixture with other petroleum products during transportation or storage.

Fuel analysis is an integral part of a fuel quality management program. It is used first to determine need for treatment, the extent of treatment when required, and later, the effectiveness of the treatment. It starts with the delivery of the fuel, continues throughout fuel handling and ends only as the fuel is injected into the turbine or diesel engine.