Winter is coming!
With all the changes in fuel, it has become critical to check fuel performance. Low temperatures can cause dissolved waxes in fuel to crystalize leading to clogged fuel filters, loss of engine power leading to catastrophic failure. If your generator fuel has not recently been tested, please do not wait till your generator fails. This can be prevented by a testing schedule. Fuel manufacturers strongly recommend testing stored fuel bi-annually. Make sure your generator maintenance includes fuel testing.
There are three basic cold property tests for generator fuel – cloud point, cold filter plugging point (CFFP), and pour point. Each of these tests provides important information how your fuel will perform in cold weather. Cloud point is the temperature that dissolved wax in the fuel begins to crystallize and should be monitored closely. With the introduction of more efficient fuel filters (i.e. small nominal pore size), know the Cloud Point of your fuel can help prevent poor filter performance. CFFP is the temperature where there is enough crystallized wax in the fuel to plug a 0.45 micron filter. Most fuel filters will completely plug at this temperature. Pour point is the temperature at which fuel will no longer flow, and is essentially frozen.
Your fuel should meet these three basic requirements for the regional climate of your operation. You will need to use additives if the expected cold temperatures of your region are below the fuel cold properties. There are many anti-gel and deicers that can effectively lower the fuel cold properties. Determine the correct mixing rates for your region. After adding additives, fuel should be retested to ensure that the expected cold properties are obtained. The incorrect use and quantities of additives can create other problems.