Dirty Generator Fuel? You May Lose Your Data Center Backup Power

Posted by Kim Otte on Jul 29, 2011

Dirty fuel is a fact of life. Even with the development of cleaner burning fuels, contaminants are still a major concern when it comes to fuel systems. Micro-organisms can quickly become a major problem. Colonies of fungus and bacteria feed on your fuel.Sludge from a data center generatorCommonly known as algae, they spread rapidly in the presence of moisture. They easily spread from one tank to another by riding in the fuel. As these micro-organisms accumulate, they will spread through your data center's generator fuel system and quickly plug the fuel filter. Most end users will simply add a biocide to kill the fungus. While this does kill the bacteria, it does not remove the growth media from the tank. Biocides are also very toxic and cause chemical burns when they come in contact with the human skin.

The correct solution to the problem is to remove the water. This can be done by polishing the fuel in your generator fuel tank. Water is removed by three common methods:

  • Stripping-which is a silicon based medium that inhibits the passage of water but allows fuel to flow.
  • Coalescing-Gravity drags water droplets out of the slow-flowing fuel.
  • Absorption-A filter medium with a high affinity for water and a low affinity for fuel absorbs the water.
  • Algae-X in-line conditioner - by stabilizing and conditioning the fuel, reducing the size and mass of clusters of fuel molecules.

In addition to the above methods, particulate filtration is defined as passing a fluid through a filter media that has a specified micron rating. The fuel is allowed to pass and the particulate matter will be caught in the filter media. Bear in mind that the particulate matter that is smaller than the micron rating of the filter media will also be allowed to pass through the filter.  Because of this, it is important that your primary filter be of a higher micron rating for the primary fuel pump's protection and that your secondary filter be of a smaller micron rating to protect the fuel injection pump and injectors.


What is your plan for keeping your data center up and running 24x7? Make sure fuel cleaning/polishing is in that plan. To learn more contact us.

Tags: Data Center Maintenance, Data Center