Farm Ireland

Saturday 25 November 2017

Maintain quality of fuels

Keep your diesel clean with these filter and tank options

Bruce Lett

Most farmers and contractors were well aware that from the start of this year there would be a new cleaner diesel in town, ULSD -- Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel. This new fuel was developed to assist in the reduction of harmful diesel exhaust emissions and is part of the next round of engine exhaust emission controls.

As a result of these new emission controls, tractor manufacturers this year busied themselves launching next-generation models equipped with either selective catalytic reduction (SCR), requiring AdBlue, or exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), combined with a diesel particulate filter. There have been many claims and counter claims by manufacturers about the benefits of each system but the one thing they have in common is that they both use ULSD.

Even before this new 'clean' diesel was introduced, many were aware of potential problems with the new fuel. It may have seemed like scaremongering to some extent, but it did at least prepare everyone for the worst-case scenarios. In reality, many farmers and contractors were already up to speed with high specification fuel filtration systems.

To meet earlier emission regulations, manufacturers had already been using very high specification fuel injection systems, both in the mechanical injection and electronically controlled common rail fuel injection systems. These required very fine filtration of fuel, usually using two or more filters to achieve the desired fuel quality before it entered the engine's injection system.

Relative to fuel filters of old, these super fine filters are not cheap and if the quality of diesel in the tractor's tank is poor, it quickly becomes a very expensive exercise in changing fuel filters. This forced many higher volume users of fuel to put fuel filtration systems in place on their tanks.

Reducing the sulphur content in the new ULSD creates its own problems. Firstly, the sulphur is the major lubricant constituent of diesel and it oils the mechanical components of fuel injection systems, particularly mechanical fuel injection systems.

This had to be replaced with something and there were both synthetic and bio-oil options.

The latter is the preferable choice for most oil companies but is a bit of a water magnet in the fuel tank. This, plus the fact the new diesel is believed to be inclined to 'wash' or disturb existing sludge in the fuel tanks, means that tank filters are now more important than ever.

Also Read

In this fuel feature, we examine a number of options in relation to maintaining fuel quality, relying on the 30 years' experience of Rotech founder John Rowe.

We also look at a new product from Holland which has also been developed to address fuel problems.

Indo Farming