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FPS warns of increased use of FAME in sulphur free gas oil

The Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS) has warned businesses that operate non-road mobile machinery (NRMM) of a potential increase in the use of FAME in sulphur-free gas oil (SFGO)

FAME is a biodiesel made in the UK from renewable and recycled matter including; cooking oils, animal fats and plant oils. The process converts these materials into Fatty Acid Methyl Esters (FAME) which form a powerful solvent which is not compatible with all materials.

In fact, FAME is corrosive to certain materials such as rubber, and during extended use can cause clogging of filters as well as increasing the risk of bacterial growth within fuels. FAME is also hydroscopic which means it attracts and retains water, unlike diesel.

The increase is due to a renewable fuels target from the Renewable Fuel Transport Obligation (RTFO) In April 2018 the legally required percentage of fuels derived from renewable sources increased to 7.25%, this will rise again in January 2019 to 8.5% with the overall target set at 12.4% by 2032.

Fuel suppliers are obligated to comply with the standards set by the RTFO and the most effective way of achieving this is by adding FAME to SFGO. However, this could impact on those using the fuel in their non-road mobile machinery which consists of vehicles including; tractors and other farming machinery, construction equipment, forestry equipment, portable generators, forklifts, inland waterway vessels, and many more.

It is also highly recommended that regular tank checks are implemented due to the heightened risk of microbial growth that comes with FAME’s strong detergency, solvent and hydroscopic properties.

Tanks should be checked for signs of degradation in structure, material and coating. Examine the tank for any signs of leakage - potential or actual - and take steps to rectify these immediately.

Users of biodegradable fuels are also advised to check the pipework, seals, pumps and all other tank components as well, taking up any repairs as and when necessary to prevent leakage.

If your tank is in need of extensive repairs it may be time to invest in a new tank so you don’t have to worry about leakage. AID stocks a range of tanks to suit all applications. Speak to our customer service team today to place your order.

To prepare for the change the FPS has issued the following advice;

“Before taking delivery of any biofuel, give the tank a specialist clean or check on the tank immediately after. Continue to carry out regular tank checks and take remedial action if you notice any water, dirt, mould or growth in the tank.

It’s worth examining filters, pipework and seals on a regular basis, and to replace filters after every 2 or 3 deliveries anyway.

Most NRMM engines are thankfully compatible with fuel containing FAME in the proportion found in fuel but farmers and businesses who own older equipment may need to make modifications such as the inclusion of a drain point in the tank to remove any water build-up.

As water is a big problem for SFGO containing FAME, it’s recommended to limit storage time of FAME blended fuels, and to keep the tanks topped up to reduce air which can draw moisture.

One of the biggest steps users can take is to ensure all fuel is bought from a reputable distributor, ideally from a member of the FPS”

For further fuel protection operators of NRMM can also use additives such as Exocet Anti Bug Kill - a fuel soluble biocide and preservative used to treat microbiological contamination, covering a variety of bacteria, viruses, fungi and yeasts. Additionally, Exocet Anti Wax can also be used to improve the cold flow and handling properties of diesel and gas oil, prevents fuel from freezing and waxing during temperatures of below -5°c.