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Corn+Soybean Digest

Spring Cleaning And Maintenance For Soy Biodiesel Storage Systems

According to the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC), spring is a vital time for routine maintenance of soy biodiesel fuel storage systems. At this time of year, storage tanks are more susceptible to moisture contamination due to temperature fluctuations. So, it is essential that soy biodiesel fuel handlers monitor their storage systems and take steps to ensure fuel quality. "Anyone working with soy biodiesel needs to have a fuel tank maintenance program," says Tom Fontana of the OSC. "From the fuel distributors who handle large quantities of soy biodiesel to the farmers who often store their soy biodiesel in tanks, taking the right steps works to ensure fuel quality." According to the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), above-ground storage systems present their own contamination challenges. At this time of year, sunshine increases the temperature of the tank and forces air out of the tank throughout the day. Then, in the evening, as the tank cools air is drawn into the tank which leads to water accumulation. This phenomenon will result in higher than normal concentrations of moisture in above-ground storage tanks, compared to underground storage tanks where temperatures are more stable. To help combat the challenges of potential moisture contamination, the Steel Tank Institute recommends implementing a sound fuel quality management program. Additionally, the NBB offers several important tips, such as keeping tanks topped off whenever possible, regularly evaluating water accumulation in tanks, conducting a quarterly microbial evaluation, and asking for fuel specifications from suppliers.

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