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#1 Flummoxed

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 07:38 AM

What causes the discoloration/contamination of diesel on boats.

 

I filled my tank a few years ago with contaminated diesel from various places around the world.  

 

I emptied my diesel tank two years ago, and refilled with clean diesel. I changed the filters a year ago, and the diesel was still clean. I thought the problem had gone away Recently my engine failed leaving harbour in 20 knots of wind, so I sailed back into the harbour. On rectifying the problem, I noticed that once again my diesel is black/contaminated.

 

Does anyone know what is causing the diesel to become contaminated? Age/Water/condensation/bacteria perhaps. How can I stop this happening? 

 

My diesel tank when full holds 34 gallons enough to run for 72 hours. I do not use this amount of diesel in 2 years under normal conditions. Would I be better off just maintaining approx 5 gallons in the tank? or does running with an empty tank allow for more condensation inside the tank, and more water contamination.?

 

 



#2 exchemist

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 08:52 AM

What causes the discoloration/contamination of diesel on boats.

 

I filled my tank a few years ago with contaminated diesel from various places around the world.  

 

I emptied my diesel tank two years ago, and refilled with clean diesel. I changed the filters a year ago, and the diesel was still clean. I thought the problem had gone away Recently my engine failed leaving harbour in 20 knots of wind, so I sailed back into the harbour. On rectifying the problem, I noticed that once again my diesel is black/contaminated.

 

Does anyone know what is causing the diesel to become contaminated? Age/Water/condensation/bacteria perhaps. How can I stop this happening? 

 

My diesel tank when full holds 34 gallons enough to run for 72 hours. I do not use this amount of diesel in 2 years under normal conditions. Would I be better off just maintaining approx 5 gallons in the tank? or does running with an empty tank allow for more condensation inside the tank, and more water contamination.?

Gosh I am very rusty on all this now. But tell me, as it is fuel for a boat, is this ordinary road diesel, or is it MDF, i.e. marine diesel fuel? I think that sometimes MDF can be a blend including some heavier components, which can include aromatic species called asphaltenes that may become unstable over time and precipitate out. But if it is just road -type diesel fuel then the explanation must lie elsewhere.

 

I found this link: https://offers.bellp...5-ea2d6cf1b988 

 

which suggests that the ultra-low sulphur road diesel fuel used today has poorer oxidation stability (which certainly makes sense from what I remember from my years in the lubricants industry with Shell) and can be more prone to bacterial growth. These guys are in the business of selling chemicals to inhibit this sort of thing, so they may be talking it up but it does not look like snake oil to me. 


Edited by exchemist, 01 November 2019 - 08:52 AM.

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#3 Flummoxed

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Posted 02 November 2019 - 04:00 AM

Gosh I am very rusty on all this now. But tell me, as it is fuel for a boat, is this ordinary road diesel, or is it MDF, i.e. marine diesel fuel? I think that sometimes MDF can be a blend including some heavier components, which can include aromatic species called asphaltenes that may become unstable over time and precipitate out. But if it is just road -type diesel fuel then the explanation must lie elsewhere.

 

I found this link: https://offers.bellp...5-ea2d6cf1b988 

 

which suggests that the ultra-low sulphur road diesel fuel used today has poorer oxidation stability (which certainly makes sense from what I remember from my years in the lubricants industry with Shell) and can be more prone to bacterial growth. These guys are in the business of selling chemicals to inhibit this sort of thing, so they may be talking it up but it does not look like snake oil to me. 

 

Over the last few years I have filled my tank from various sources, from outside of Europe.  Marine diesel was banned a few years back in Europe in pleasure boats and also I think commercial fishing boats. I have filled everywhere from UK through southern Europe Carribean Panama Ecuador Peru Many Pacific islands New aealand Austrailia, Indonesia Malaysia Thailand Mauritius South Africa Brazil Caribean Atlantic Islands. Some of the fuel has been so bad in Indonesia that it was filtered before putting into tanks through nylon stockings. Fuel filter replacements were very regular.  Diesel in Brazil may have been bio diesel, from sugar cane.

 

I tried pumping the tank empty 2 years ago and refilling with clean European diesel, which is the same as is used in cars, and is no longer subsidized. 

 

I am torn two ways > water build up in diesel is due to condensation inside the tank, not break down of the diesel, so would it be better to keep the tank full to prevent humid air entering the tank?

OR

since fuel degrades and I use little fuel ie a full tank of fuel can last two years now. Would I be better off just putting a small amount in my tank rather than refilling to ensure I have fresh fuel?

 

Diesel floats on water, "normally". If it sits inside a stationary fuel tank. Is the bacterial growth in the water at the bottom of the tank or is it in the diesel. I have a tap at the bottom of my fuel tank that could be used to drain water theoretically, but when it is opened only diesel comes out suggesting that perhaps the water is well mixed with the diesel, assuming that water is the cause of the bacterial muck in my diesel.

 

ALSO

 

Last week I placed a chemical into my tank to fix bacterial problems, it is very toxic to marine life, and apparently very poisonous, I have not examined the diesel since I gave this treatment but assume it is still discolored. Since then I have managed to concern my self with another question, my diesel tank is fibre glass, and I have rubber seals around the fuel line joints. Can additives to treat diesel damage fibre glass or rubber joints, I note the chemical was contained in a plastic bottle, which eases my mind somewhat, BUT I recall some one speaking about chemicals eating his fibre glass fuel tank a few years back. I suspect my fuel tank is made of Polyester resin and not Epoxy resin. Would this make a difference.

 

Edit I thought I would do a quick wiki search this link appears to cover most of my dirty diesel questions https://en.wikipedia..._of_diesel_fuel. I dont think I will fill my tank again unless I am going long distance, or somewhere there is no wind.


Edited by Flummoxed, 02 November 2019 - 04:37 AM.


#4 VictorMedvil

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Posted 02 November 2019 - 05:58 AM

Here is my expert opinion about your diesel basically generally diesel will gel up during the winter time because of the cold weather and a additive must be added before usage the next year. You had said that it is discolored from year to year that could because during the winter the diesel has been made useable by this gelling process. Generally, diesel if it has gelled up will not be the same as before it had gelled up you may have to refill your tank from year to year if during the winter the diesel has been cold during the summer months this additive is not added to diesel fuel only during the winter. Basically, if you have diesel that has undergone this gelling process that you bought during the summer and kept there all year it may not combust the next summer after turning to its gel form during winter. Here is a link about it, https://fuelandfrict...l-fuel-gelling/


Edited by VictorMedvil, 02 November 2019 - 06:02 AM.

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#5 Flummoxed

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Posted 02 November 2019 - 09:39 AM

Here is my expert opinion about your diesel basically generally diesel will gel up during the winter time because of the cold weather and a additive must be added before usage the next year. You had said that it is discolored from year to year that could because during the winter the diesel has been made useable by this gelling process. Generally, diesel if it has gelled up will not be the same as before it had gelled up you may have to refill your tank from year to year if during the winter the diesel has been cold during the summer months this additive is not added to diesel fuel only during the winter. Basically, if you have diesel that has undergone this gelling process that you bought during the summer and kept there all year it may not combust the next summer after turning to its gel form during winter. Here is a link about it, https://fuelandfrict...l-fuel-gelling/

 

I have not been any where cold in the last 15 years on my boat. So I dont think icing up is the problem.

 

I have however sailed in the North sea in winter time when the temperature dropped to -14 and not only did the diesel freeze over but the sea froze over inside the harbour as well. Sails still work in freezing conditions when engines dont, as long as there is wind. The things we do for fun. 

 

A problem that some boaters do have in hot latitudes for year to year is due to evaporation of fuel, reducing its combustability. Many frugal yachts people dont like to buy new fuel for outboards and the fuel often sits around in lockers or outboards for months deteriorating. When the outboards dont start they loathe to empty un-used fuel to solve the problem. 

 

I think my conclusion on this is > do not by more fuel than can be used in a season, even though an partially fuel tank might allow moisture ingress due to condensation. Also pump out unused old fuel, if the boat is going to be laid up for a winter period.  

 

Edit I would tend to disagree with this statement in your link "Going on Engine Idle

Now if you go asking around, you will probably hear drivers suggesting to keep the engine running to keep the fuel from gelling. While this may work, it is not recommended at all for a couple of reasons. Not only does it negatively affect fuel use, it can also lead to engine wear, tear and excessive emissions."

Taxis which run day and night do more miles than normal cars. The expansion and contraction of engines and electronics is what ages them. Different metals warm and expand at different rates. Allowing an engine to cool down in freezing conditions and then reheat it again is going to cause more mechanical wear and tear than letting it stay warm.

It is the thermal cycling that kills electronic connections particularly in power electronics, where solder and copper meet with different expansion rates.


Edited by Flummoxed, 02 November 2019 - 09:50 AM.


#6 exchemist

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Posted 02 November 2019 - 11:14 AM

Over the last few years I have filled my tank from various sources, from outside of Europe.  Marine diesel was banned a few years back in Europe in pleasure boats and also I think commercial fishing boats. I have filled everywhere from UK through southern Europe Carribean Panama Ecuador Peru Many Pacific islands New aealand Austrailia, Indonesia Malaysia Thailand Mauritius South Africa Brazil Caribean Atlantic Islands. Some of the fuel has been so bad in Indonesia that it was filtered before putting into tanks through nylon stockings. Fuel filter replacements were very regular.  Diesel in Brazil may have been bio diesel, from sugar cane.

 

I tried pumping the tank empty 2 years ago and refilling with clean European diesel, which is the same as is used in cars, and is no longer subsidized. 

 

I am torn two ways > water build up in diesel is due to condensation inside the tank, not break down of the diesel, so would it be better to keep the tank full to prevent humid air entering the tank?

OR

since fuel degrades and I use little fuel ie a full tank of fuel can last two years now. Would I be better off just putting a small amount in my tank rather than refilling to ensure I have fresh fuel?

 

Diesel floats on water, "normally". If it sits inside a stationary fuel tank. Is the bacterial growth in the water at the bottom of the tank or is it in the diesel. I have a tap at the bottom of my fuel tank that could be used to drain water theoretically, but when it is opened only diesel comes out suggesting that perhaps the water is well mixed with the diesel, assuming that water is the cause of the bacterial muck in my diesel.

 

ALSO

 

Last week I placed a chemical into my tank to fix bacterial problems, it is very toxic to marine life, and apparently very poisonous, I have not examined the diesel since I gave this treatment but assume it is still discolored. Since then I have managed to concern my self with another question, my diesel tank is fibre glass, and I have rubber seals around the fuel line joints. Can additives to treat diesel damage fibre glass or rubber joints, I note the chemical was contained in a plastic bottle, which eases my mind somewhat, BUT I recall some one speaking about chemicals eating his fibre glass fuel tank a few years back. I suspect my fuel tank is made of Polyester resin and not Epoxy resin. Would this make a difference.

 

Edit I thought I would do a quick wiki search this link appears to cover most of my dirty diesel questions https://en.wikipedia..._of_diesel_fuel. I dont think I will fill my tank again unless I am going long distance, or somewhere there is no wind.

Hmm a lot of imponderables. Certainly the mixing of marine fuels of doubtful provenance is a known cause of sludging.  If there is MDF containing any aromatics (chemically speaking), then adding highly paraffinic good quality road diesel may cause them to precipitate sludge, since paraffinics do not always have enough good solubility for some heavy aromatics. But once the tank has only got road quality diesel in it that should not be an issue. 

 

Water should separate cleanly from diesel fuel, unless there is a lot of contamination with bacteria or something which may tend to make it emulsify it bit. If you can keep the water out I don't think you should have an issue with bacteria. But if the tank is breathing a lot (cycling in temperature and thus alternately drawing in and expelling potentially humid air) you will get condensation. If you keep the tank full, you have only a small air space above the fuel to expand and contract, which will reduce this, I should have thought. 

 

But I'm not an expert on small boats - all my experience was with lubricating ships with engines >1MW, from which I learnt a bit about the associated fuel issues. This sort of thing:

 


Wartsila-34G.jpeg

 

You may be better off talking to a guy at the boatyard. 



#7 Flummoxed

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Posted 02 November 2019 - 01:04 PM

I am used to engines you can hardly get near, not those you can climb inside. The principles are the same though. I talk about using litres or gallons of fuel not tons when I am filling up. :)

 

I have decided since I am currently not using much fuel I am not going to carry much fuel on board, ie run close to empty unless I go long distance.



#8 exchemist

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Posted 02 November 2019 - 03:56 PM

I am used to engines you can hardly get near, not those you can climb inside. The principles are the same though. I talk about using litres or gallons of fuel not tons when I am filling up. :)

 

I have decided since I am currently not using much fuel I am not going to carry much fuel on board, ie run close to empty unless I go long distance.

Yes that may make sense. But it might be worth operating the drain before you put more fuel in, to get out any condensation and deposits that have formed, so that you don't stir them up into the newly added fuel. 



#9 OverUnityDeviceUAP

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Posted 02 November 2019 - 06:05 PM

Alas, the age of fossil fuel dependence is coming to a close, along with capitalism, compliments of Dr Pais of the US navy. Both you and Dr pais have me to thank for insight.

Just as Edison and the us navy had Tesla and Einstein, respectively, to thank for the brains they lacked but wallets they had. Such is the devolution tool that is currency.

Edited by OverUnityDeviceUAP, 02 November 2019 - 06:07 PM.


#10 GAHD

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Posted 02 November 2019 - 06:13 PM

You could always do what some airplanes do and get a fitted bladder for the tank. That would keep it  free of air contamination, though it wouldn't do anything about bio contaminants or additive incompatibility between/from different types of fuel. 2 options for a bladder; one that contains the fuel and thus need to be connected to the fill up point and the pump point, or one that floats on top and only needs a bypass from your fill up point. Either way it would deal with salty humid air getting at the diesel.
 

 

Alas, the age of fossil fuel dependence is coming to a close, along with capitalism, compliments of Dr
Pais of the US navy. Both you and Dr pais have me to thank for insight.

That's a laugh. There's nothing shy of atomic batteries(which have other issues) that has anywhere near the energy storage portability of hydrocarbons, and nothing at all with the same price range even comparing expensive artificial hydrocarbons to the alternatives. Get informed before you spout DunningKruger levels of word salad please.

Edit: this is a forum, not a chatroom. Finish your thoughts in one post please. Post-spam falls under "annoying our members" rule violations, consider this a pre-suspension warning.

 



#11 OverUnityDeviceUAP

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Posted 02 November 2019 - 06:18 PM

You could always do what some airplanes do and get a fitted bladder for the tank. That would keep it  free of air contamination, though it wouldn't do anything about bio contaminants or additive incompatibility between/from different types of fuel. 2 options for a bladder; one that contains the fuel and thus need to be connected to the fill up point and the pump point, or one that floats on top and only needs a bypass from your fill up point. Either way it would deal with salty humid air getting at the diesel.
 
 

That's a laugh. There's nothing shy of atomic batteries(which have other issues) that has anywhere near the energy storage portability of hydrocarbons, and nothing at all with the same price range even comparing expensive artificial hydrocarbons to the alternatives. Get informed before you spout DunningKruger levels of word salad please.
Edit: this is a forum, not a chatroom. Finish your thoughts in one post please. Post-spam falls under "annoying our members" rule violations, consider this a pre-suspension warning.

Oh please, chemical reactions don't have nearly the energy output proposed by compact fusion reactions.

Before taking moderative action in suspending my account you may want to read-up on the subject.

#12 GAHD

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Posted 02 November 2019 - 06:27 PM

Oh please, chemical reactions don't have nearly the energy output proposed by compact fusion reactions.

Before taking moderative action in suspending my account you may want to read-up on the subject.

Action is related to spamming posts, not to your crackpot seeming word salad. If you insist you're not using word salad, take a look on the main page, and the rules page (conveniently linked bottom right of every single page under the scienceforums.com domain).

Just to make it easier for you and whoever else doesn't have the attention to detail needed to extract the relevant passages amongst the very confusing other words:
Main site reference:
 

 

What is Hypography?
Hypography?

Hypography [n.]: A combination of "hyperlink" and "bibliography" - ie, a list of links to electronic documents. Comparable to discography and bibliography, but not cartography.

Rules section:
 

 

  • Back up your claims by using links or references: that’s where our name Hypography comes from.

     
  • Do not assume your points are “obvious.” They many times are not, and simply insisting they are is not a valid argument.

 

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#13 OverUnityDeviceUAP

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Posted 02 November 2019 - 06:34 PM

Action is related to spamming posts, not to your crackpot seeming word salad. If you insist you're not using word salad, take a look on the main page, and the rules page (conveniently linked bottom right of every single page under the scienceforums.com domain).
Just to make it easier for you and whoever else doesn't have the attention to detail needed to extract the relevant passages amongst the very confusing other words:
Main site reference:



Rules section:

oh but, to prove my point, continue to ignore your own site's "latest post" function:

Also, while most proposed fusion reactors use magnetic confinement, the compact fusion reactor design by Dr. Pais is not only smaller but has a gain in energy output from energy input, and just like my miniblack hole Dyson nano swarm design, it uses an electromagnetic flux generated by a confined inertial vortex forcing two repulsive magnets to rub together:
https://www.extremet...ut-will-it-work
So my design utilizes two layers which offer greater energy output than input.

Idc if you're on the same page or not, truth is truth. Currency and fossil fuels, a type omega civilization does not make.

Just one more example of why the declined good of the one outways the good of the many adopted by "the Crossings" religious


Edited by OverUnityDeviceUAP, 02 November 2019 - 06:42 PM.


#14 GAHD

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Posted 02 November 2019 - 06:41 PM

oh but, to prove my point, continue to ignore your own site's "latest post" function:


Idc if you're on the same page or not, truth is truth. Currency and fossil fuels, a type omega civilization does not make.

z-pinch is old tech. I highly doubt this can provide what the other existing z-pinch stuff fails to, but heay I could be wrong. Thanks for following the rules and putting what you're talking about into your post. Good form.

Either way, I doubt it's anywhere near the price range of a hobbyest yacht, nor does it solve fuel contamination issues. Beyond that, it doesn't address the post-spam annoyance when you've proven you can use the edit button just fine. These are bad form. Warning stands.



#15 OverUnityDeviceUAP

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Posted 02 November 2019 - 06:43 PM

z-pinch is old tech. I highly doubt this can provide what the other existing z-pinch stuff fails to, but heay I could be wrong. Thanks for following the rules and putting what you're talking about into your post. Good form.
Either way, I doubt it's anywhere near the price range of a hobbyest yacht, nor does it solve fuel contamination issues. Beyond that, it doesn't address the post-spam annoyance when you've proven you can use the edit button just fine. These are bad form. Warning stands.

In either case my responses to your threats have been and continue to be "rather tame".

Edited by OverUnityDeviceUAP, 02 November 2019 - 06:43 PM.


#16 Flummoxed

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Posted 03 November 2019 - 12:34 AM

You could always do what some airplanes do and get a fitted bladder for the tank. That would keep it  free of air contamination, though it wouldn't do anything about bio contaminants or additive incompatibility between/from different types of fuel. 2 options for a bladder; one that contains the fuel and thus need to be connected to the fill up point and the pump point, or one that floats on top and only needs a bypass from your fill up point. Either way it would deal with salty humid air getting at the diesel.
 

 

Bladders are a backup idea I have in mind if the fuel additive damages my fibre glass fuel tank :(

 

 

Yes that may make sense. But it might be worth operating the drain before you put more fuel in, to get out any condensation and deposits that have formed, so that you don't stir them up into the newly added fuel. 

 

Edit "Water should separate cleanly from diesel fuel, unless there is a lot of contamination with bacteria or something which may tend to make it emulsify it bit. If you can keep the water out I don't think you should have an issue with bacteria."

 

I was considering if I get hauled out for any period, to remove the old diesel and put a very small amount of clean diesel in the tank, and operate the drain before the boat goes back in the water to remove any condensation that presumably settle under stable conditions to the bottom of the tank. 

 

How long does water take to settle out of diesel if it has or is being agitated by either surge in a marina/anchorage or even after a few days sailing on rough seas?

 

Edit How does sludge/bacteria affect the rate at which water will settle out ? By emulsify if I had clean diesel, this would give the diesel a creamy white appearance as with engine oil, is this the same with dark brown/black coloured diesel ? If so my diesel is not full of water as it is not creamy white and my engine when the filters are not blocked runs smoothly. 


Edited by Flummoxed, 03 November 2019 - 01:04 AM.


#17 Flummoxed

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Posted 03 November 2019 - 01:20 AM

Alas, the age of fossil fuel dependence is coming to a close, along with capitalism, compliments of Dr Pais of the US navy. Both you and Dr pais have me to thank for insight.

Just as Edison and the us navy had Tesla and Einstein, respectively, to thank for the brains they lacked but wallets they had. Such is the devolution tool that is currency.

 

Alas :) I have a sail boat, and use very little diesel. I am also well capable of sailing into and out of anchorages and many marinas/harbours, although that makes me nervous, and I do prefer the engine for manouvering in port especially where I have never been before. 

 

The average passenger airline uses 3 to 4 litres per 100km per passenger, my wife and I used maybe a litre of fuel sailing from cocos keeling to mauritius which is about 4300km just over 2000Nm. The diesel was used to leave the anchorage with lots of reefs and arrive in a port I had not been in before. 

 

I also think it is extremely doubtful, now or anytime in my lifetime, or yours, that a commercial fusion reactor will be built that will power a city never mind a sailboat. However :) having said that, the winds are ultimately driven by the sun, and the sun is a fusion reactor of sorts. So hey presto my sail boat is driven by fusion reactions already and they are free :)