Notice Regarding Potential Bio Fuel Problems
5th September 2011
The EU has imposed a minimum percentage of 4.7% bio fuel in all road transport diesel and this is alleged to have led to a range of problems including corrosion of pipework and engine fuel components, blocked filters, wax formation in fuel and increased water absorption leading to greater water seposition on cooling. Softening of some rubber and synthetic fuel seals and hoses has also been reported. Marine diesel being used at this moment may conform to one of three common specifications:-
- BS ISO 8217 which is a 1000mg/kg sulphur but non bio fuel so should be satisfactory in all engines and is the accepted standard marine fuel for all seagoing small craft.
- BS 269 which is classed as non road use and inland waters: This is a fuel containing up to 10 mg/kg sulphur and up to 7% bio diesel.
- BS EN 590 which is road diesel which may contain a proportion of bio diesel.
Fuel with a bio diesel content is reported to go off spec after around six months in the tank so precautions such as a laying up tank clean and more regular draining of water from the bottoms plus a biannual fuel filter change may be merited.
Kip Marina and the Holt Marinas have a current contract with Highland Fuels and INEOS (Grangemouth Refinery) to supply them with BS ISO 8217 only and have installed a fuel polishing unit on the delivery system. Kip also advises that a new fuel storage tank is being considered.
RYA report that certain West Coast suppliers of marine fuel are supplying BS 590 with red dye being injected at the metering unit and in these locations some bio diesel may be supplied. RYA are taking up the issue and have been tasked with attempting to ensure a continued supply of the non bio fuel to as many marine fuelling stations as possible.