Marine Fuel Testing: How to Test Marine Fuel

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Written by: Renee Chambers
Marine Fuel Testing: How to Test Marine Fuel

It’s important to have an accurate fuel testing system in place in order to avoid marine fuel contamination. You will know the condition of your fuel, and you’ll be able to take preventative measures to ensure that your engine will last.

This guide provides important information about marine fuel testing and how you can ensure your engine is running on cleaner fuel.

Importance of Marine Fuel Oil Testing

Regular testing is important since its an assurance that the fuel oil you are using in your banker is fit for the purpose. There are a variety of challenges that can affect your fuel, both from modern low Sulphur fuels to traditional heavy fuel oil.

If the fuel is not checked, it can result in major problems with your fuel system and engine. For a few dollars, you can reduce the operational risks significantly while using these fuels.

Can Your On-Spec Fuel Be Having Problems?

Marine fuel is often delivered to the specifications of the client. However, not all challenges with fuels are taken care of within the specifications.

For instance, the marine fuel report compiled by DNV in 2015 shows an increase biocomponent when it comes to marine diesel fuels. For this reason, there is an increase in microbial contamination.

Moreover, the DNV 2015 reports also reveals that the biocomponent increases annually and today, approximately 11% of the marine diesel fuel contains this.

Also, mixing existing fuels with new fuels results to instability of the fuels in the tank.

To highlight such issues, MARPOL testing is one of the best ways. However, not many people are carrying out this testing. Approximately 20-25% of people do this testing.

Sometimes, when carrying out MARPOL testing, it can take roughly six days to get back these results. By then, you might be sailing for like a week.

What Can Go Wrong With Fuel?

Various established issues are known to affect the fuel banker. The issues with diesel and heavy fuels are very different.

With heavy fuels, most problems are experienced with stability and the ominous catalytic fines that tend to wear down the engines despite the fuels being within specifications.

For marine diesel fuels, there are more problems experienced with biofouling that results to a high risk of microbial contamination. There are also challenges with long term storage as well as lubricity.

Also, water tends to be a major obstacle with both heavy fuels and marine diesel fuels. The good thing is that most of these problems are avoidable. You can detect them and treat them before they bring about any kind of harm to your engine or fuel system.

Bunker Fuel Testing and Inspection Services

The basic ISO 8217 slate can be included in the fuel quality analysis. It can also be extended to incorporate additional tests such as blending assessments and fuel compatibility.

It is necessary to conduct fuel testing as it will help you avoid expensive fuel system and engine problems resulting from mixing incompatible fuels.

When you blend together incompatible fuels, they can lead to filter plugging, precipitates and other major problems.

Quantity and quality testing services will enable you to comply with several of the regulations such as; Marpol Annex VI, ISO 8217 as well as bunker delivery requirements.

Services Offered by ISO 8217 Bunker Fuel Testing and Inspection

  • Fuel compatibility assessments
  • Sludge disposal survey
  • Inspection and testing
  • On board quantity survey
  • Fuel additive treatments
  • Sampling documentation photographs as permitted or requested
  • Annex VI, among other specifications

Capabilities of ISO 8217 Bunker Fuel Testing

  • Cloud point
  • Flash point
  • Density
  • Water content
  • Ash content
  • Acidity
  • Lubricity
  • Viscosity
  • Pour point
  • Sulfur content
  • Total sediments
  • Oxidation stability
  • Carbon residue
  • Calcium
  • Nickel
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Fatty acid methyl ester content
  • Biodiesel fuel blend stock
  • In-depth forensic analysis

Benefits of Bunker Fuel Testing

  • Identifies smoking problems
  • Identifies poor injector performance
  • Monitor emissions
  • Monitors the cause of high fuel consumption
  • Identifies fuel failures and issues

Bunker Fuel Testing Progress

  • Technical advise regarding the reports
  • Laboratory testing of sample
  • Transporting the samples to the laboratories
  • Collecting representative fuel samples
  • Supplying bunker fuel sampling kits