Did you know that microbes grow in fuel? Are you already testing your fuel for microbial contamination? Can you do it “at the tank”?
If your answer is no to any of these questions, microbial contamination in the fuel you use can reach severe levels and pose a threat to your fuel system and engine.
FUELSTAT®, developed by Conidia Bioscience, is an easy-to-use, rapid and reliable test to detect microorganisms that thrive at the fuel/water interface and can damage fuel systems. The test uses immunoassay antibody technology to identify markers of key microorganisms known to contaminate fuel: bacteria, fungi and Hormoconis resinae, a filamentous fungus particularly prevalent and problematic in fuel.
How do microbes get in fuel and what are the risks?
Microorganisms can enter diesel fuel in multiple ways. During transfer between storage tanks or at the fuel pump, as well as through small leaks, fuel can be exposed to the atmosphere or water. Microbes and bacteria naturally found in water, even when formed through condensation, may proliferate by feeding on the hydrocarbons in the fuel.
If water is allowed to remain in fuel for a long period of time, microbial contamination can rise to levels that pose a serious threat to engines and machinery. The formation of a biofilm, a thin layer of slime, can cause issues ranging from loss in engine efficiency, increased fuel consumption and increased injector wear to corrosion, tank leakage, and ultimately engine failure.
Reducing the risks of fuel contamination requires the removal of water from tanks and the management of the fuel supply chain. Carrying out water separation can be very costly and time-consuming, furthermore the fuel supply chain can often be difficult to control. Therefore regular fuel testing becomes of paramount importance in monitoring bacterial growth.
Traditional lab testing already exists, so why use FUELSTAT®?
Current growth-based laboratory testing requires 48 to 72 hours and detects a wide range of bacteria, including those found on humans that could contaminate a test. FUELSTAT® testing can be performed at the tank, thus removing the need to transport samples to a lab, and only microbes that are known to degrade fuel are detected, therefore cross-contamination of tests is less of an issue than with traditional techniques.
With minimal training required, the test is carried out by means of a Lateral Flow Test with results back in just 15 minutes. This quick, simple and reliable test carried out directly at the tank removes the problems of handling and transporting fuel, as well as the time restraints on testing, thus enabling businesses to easily comply with ASTM D6469 Standard Guide for Microbial Contamination in Fuels.
FUELSTAT® is also supported by its own free App, available for all smartphones, which verifies the results instantly. Available in two versions, the full app includes a web portal that enables organisations to store test results and analyse growth trends worldwide.
What is the way forward?
In a world moving further and further away from using fossil fuels, the global demand for biofuels is set to grow across all industry sectors. The marine industry is increasingly turning to biofuels and biofuel blends to comply with the regulations introduced by IMO in their strategy on the reduction of Greenhouse Gases emissions from ships.
Biodiesel has a higher affinity towards moisture than petroleum diesel, and it shows a higher water retaining capacity too. Due to the higher water content in biofuels, regular and frequent testing for microbial growth is fundamental to keep contamination levels under control.
FUELSTAT® is the easiest, fastest and most cost-effective way to monitor microbial growth in fuels used across all industries. Simplex-Turbulo is Authorised Distributor for Conidia Bioscience, get in touch with us today for a quote or if you would like any further information.
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