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storage of diesel fuel

Discussion in 'Home Power and Microgeneration' started by Robert Morein, Sep 2, 2004.

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  1. The problem for those of us scared of Osama Bin Laden is we're preparing for
    an event that hopefully will never happen.
    This causes the dilemma of having a large stock of diesel fuel, say 1000
    gallons, which after some time becomes completely unusable.
    Assuming the use of a biocide, and whatever other additives are suggested,
    how many years can diesel be stored?
    And if it gels, is it restored to the orginal state when the tank warms up?
  2. Steve Spence

    Steve Spence Guest

    If I had 1000 gallons of diesel on hand, I would use it, and replace it as
    it gets used, constantly cycling through oldest to newest, so it would never
    go old. Since my gen uses 1/2 gallon per hour, about 12 hours / day, that's
    6 gallons / day. I would cycle through the original 1000 gallons in 166
    days, nowhere near long enough for it to go bad.

    See the VeggieGen at
  3. I understand that.
    However, I'm on the grid 100% of the time.
    The purpose of the diesel is backup in case of a terrorist attack.
    Since terrorist attacks are not scheduled (by us), it's likely the diesel
    will never be used.
  4. Just gotta love Robert: Totally incapable of using google. Next he'll
    ask about what permits, where to get a 1000 gallon storage tank,
    etc...although we know he doesn't want to build a storage shed and his
    garage is filled with his battery box.
  5. Richard

    Richard Guest

    I forgot where I read it, but supposedly diesel has a "shelf life" of
    approximately 6 months without any anti-biological additives. I Googled
    "diesel fuel shelf life" and came up with many hits that say a similar
    thing. Just recently the store I work at has several hundred litres of it
    in an emergency backup generator tank that is over 4 years old. It still
    fired up ok, however I brought up contamination concerns and they are trying
    to decide how to dispose of it by either paying to have it pumped out
    commercially or blending it with fresh fuel and put into our diesel delivery
  6. Guest

    I used to work for a marine construction firm on Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.
    The fuel in one of our tugboats was fouling the filters, seriously reducing
    engine power. There was a commercial outfit came with a truckful of
    equipment, pumped out the fuel and cleaned it, returned it to the boat. I
    was working elsewhere, have no details.

    Tom Willmon
    Mountainair, (mid) New Mexico, USA

    Net-Tamer V 1.12.0 - Registered
  7. Then don't buy it, or fill the tank with water (or sand), and you'll
    never have a problem. 8*)

    If you never run the diesel generator ever, you'll not make any
    particulates, the fuel will never run out, and it's guaranteed that
    it'll fail to start during a power failure.

    I realize that this is just a thought experiment for you, but if you
    have a generator, make sure you use it (kill the main breaker and run
    your house off it) for a 24-hour period once a year just so you will
    know it works in an emergency. Weekly or monthly starts aren't a bad
    idea either to confirm that everything works and your battery stays
    charged, though as you know, lightly loaded diesels will get carbon

    Other maintenance items (change oil and filter, check air filters,
    etc) shoud not be omitted.
  8. I'm in complete agreement with you :).
    However, it doesn't address the fuel storage problem, except
  9. OK, why not listen to Steve Spence's suggestion, and _USE_ the fuel on
    a regular basis, refilling your tank on a regular basis to keep it
    topped off, rotated, and fresh?
  10. I assume you mean put the diesel in a diesel Mercedes.
    If I had a diesel car, the solution would be in hand. Unfortunately, my
    personal Mercedes, a 1969 280S, is a gas model.

    For a typical diesel, 1000 gallons might be on the order of 2000 operating
    I can't see the point in using up engine lifetime hours just to burn fuel.
    It may as well be incinerated.
  11. Gary

    Gary Guest

    I suppose its a bit late for this, but propane keeps forever.
  12. Me

    Me Guest

    What fuel storage problem? Diesel #2 will store very safely
    down to 0F with no problems. Winter Mix #2 will go down to -15F
    with no problems. If you don't get any bugs in it, you don't need a
    Biocide. (Actually very few bugs actually can eat diesel) Storing
    Diesel is many times easier than Gasoline. So what's your problem?

  13. Me

    Me Guest

    What you read is Fancifull BS, if you take care not to contaminate your
    fuel. I have burned diesel #2 and #1 that I retrieved from storage
    tanks that were DECADES old, with no problems at all. Some of the stuff
    was Military Surplus from Dew Line Emergency Tanks that were sealed up
    back in the 60's and never rotated, used or refilled. Very good stuff
    with a very low sulfur content. Diesel is VERY Stable fuel, and five
    years isn't out of the question for storage lifetimes, if you don't
    contaminate it.

  14. Me

    Me Guest

    Commercial Fuel Polishe. Pump the stuff out, filter it, treat it with
    Biocide to kill the bugs that were clogging the filters, clean the tank,
    treat it to kill the rest of the bugs, and pump the polished fuel back
    in. Takes about two hours/1000USG, but the service is a bit spendy.

  15. My understanding is, eventually the stuff goes bad.
    That's the problem.
    How long before this happens?
    Assume I use a biocide (cheap) and whatever else I should throw in there.
  16. Very interesting.
    I have 20 gallons in jerry cans, about 15 years old. The cans have good
    If I pull some out with a dipper, is there anything I should look for?
  17. What fuel storage problem. There's no way in hell you will get
    permission to install a 1000 gallon tank on your property.
  18. It isn't really too late. I got the generator on a no-reserve auction for
    $910 + $200 shipping, an all time bargain (assuming it works).
    The supplier has apparently delayed my delivery to satisfy customers who
    actually paid more than their cost. They have offered me a refund due to the
    delay but I don't mind, I got a great deal.

    Propane is the ultimate no maintenance fuel. I'm just scared of it. Having a
    tank or two around is OK, but a large quantity amounts to an impromptu
    fuel-air bomb. Heck, 25 years ago a forklift in a Kmart ran over a little
    cylinder and the entire warehouse burnt to the ground.

    Diesel is the safest fuel, and has the highest energy content.
  19. Gee a match could burn down a warehouse. I'd sure like to see the cite
    for this wondrous new weapon of war (the little cylinder(?) of
    propane) could sell it to the Pentagon.
  20. No, I mean burn the virtual fuel in your mythical generator. I doubt
    you need to store three months (24x7 operation, as per your previous
    notes) of fuel for your generator, FWIW.
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