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Recently the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority issued an urgent safety warning to refuelers and operators concerning fuel contamination at three airports. The All Operators Letter released revealed over two months of likely contaminated fuel was being used. It disclosed serious water problems potentially associated with infrastructure and maintenance. Unfortunately, these problems are not single incidents. With the extreme weather events happening on a global scale, occurrences like these will become more frequent. Severe heat, temperature vacillations and water all contribute to the ongoing concerns with fuel contamination.

Three Common Contributors to Jet Fuel Contamination

  1. Water – Water is everywhere and happens to be the most prevalent and potentially damaging contaminant in jet fuel. There are three forms of water common to fuel systems:
    • Dissolved water in fuel appears clear.
    • Dispersed water in fuel appears hazy.
    • Free water in fuel accumulates on tank bottoms, walls and found emulsified in fuel.
  2. Particulates – Particulates are also everywhere, often found as sediment and suspended in fuel. There are three major sources of particulate contamination often found in jet fuel:
    • Foreign debris, including metal chips, coating materials and rubber components are common.
    • Fine particulates like clay, rust or dirt and CMAS (calcium, magnesium and alumino-silicate) are found in jet fuel.
    • Residuals and sludges in the form of degraded fuel components and biofilms are common in fuel stored for longer periods of time or when fuel is exposed to extreme weather events causing accelerated fuel degradation.
  3. Microbiological growth (MBG) – One of the most concerning contaminants in jet fuel is MBG. Responsible for operational problems, corrosion and flight safety, microbes are also everywhere. They are in the air we breath and in fuel systems. Two types of microbes are found, bacteria and fungi (includes molds and yeasts). Some require an oxygen environment to survive (aerobes) and some require an environment without oxygen (anaerobes), while others can live in both environments (facultative). Here are some interesting MBG factoids:
    • It is estimated that the earth contains over 1 trillion different microbes.
    • Around 1 billion species of microbes have been identified.
    • Around 1,000 species are known to live in fuel systems.
    • Around 100 species are known to cause serious fuel and fuel system damage.

Is there a way to circumvent fuel contamination issues?

The short answer is yes. Good housekeeping is essential to the solution. However, good housekeeping alone will not always keep you from having contamination issues. Hammond’s Test Treat Protect approach to fuel quality management is a good place to start.

What’s in YOUR TANK?

Research shows that over 75% of tanks sampled are contaminated and contain fuel that does not meet current engine specifications. Sampling and testing the fuel is the ONLY way to determine what is in your tank. Its as simple as Test, Treat and Protect.

Microbial growth and biomass are the leading causes of engine shutdown, engine failure, fuel filter plugging and fuel tank contamination in diesel and jet fuel. Today’s refined fuels create an environment even more conducive to microbiological growth, which will cause serious damage to engine and fuel systems.

Water is a contributing factor and it only takes a small amount to support microbial life. Fuel always has some level of water content. Biofuels are 85% more water soluble.

Sample and TEST fuel with Hum-Bug Detector Kit.

  1. Identify free water and remove immediately
  2. Visually inspect the fuel – if it looks bad, it is bad
  3. Test for microbial growth using Hum-Bug
  4. Look for corrosion – another sign of microbial contamination – if present, treat the fuel

Why TREAT the fuel?

The only way to kill microbiological growth or remediate degraded fuel is to treat the fuel with a quality additive. The most trusted and widely used biocide in the world for over 56 years is Biobor JF. Fuel and tank cleaning on its own will not kill microbes or remediate the fuel.

Whether you operate a recreational vehicle, a marine vessel, an aircraft or a million gallon storage facility, the proper and consistent use of a biocide is imperative to preventing microbial issues. Biobor JF provides a highly effective “shock dosage” (killing existing growth) to eradicate bacteria and fungi when issues arise or signs of contamination are evident. Regular use at the “maintenance dosage” of Biobor JF will prevent and maintain a sterile fuel system, protect the fuel system, extend the life of your equipment and reduce liability.

Clean, remediate and TREAT your fuel using Biobor Products

  1. Find microbes, corrosion or aged fuel – treat
  2. Treat with Biobor JF to kill microbial contamination and protect your fuel
  3. Remediate with Biobor fuel additives to improve fuel quality and operability

Want to PROTECT your investment?

Dirty fuel equals higher maintenance costs. If you do not have a fuel quality management program in place, then you are already seeing some of the major warning signs including:
    • Corroded and premature filter replacements
    • Fuel system failure
    • Microbial influenced corrosion
    • System leaks
    • Poor engine efficiency
    • Line and tank failure
    • Accelerated fuel aging
    • Engine and injector failure
    • Increased emissions

Monitor, maintain and PROTECT your Fuel with Biobor

  1. Perform monthly fuel sampling and biannual testing to identify changes in fuel quality
  2. Treat fuel with Biobor JF quarterly to reduce system corrosion and keep your fuel clean
  3. Use Biobor Fuel Additives for seasonal protection

If you want to know more about Hammond’s Test Treat Protect program, contact us.

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