How Does Algae Grow In Diesel Fuel?

To adequately handle the issue of gasoline contamination, we must first comprehend what we are attempting to prevent and where it originates.

A Common Misnomer

It’s been a popular myth for decades that the dark sludge accumulating in your fuel tank is actually gasoline “algae As a result, many people still call it that. In truth, what you’re seeing is an over multiplication of bacteria in the fuel.

To begin with, your gasoline tank is far too dark to house any known algae species. To live, these plant species require a lot of sunlight.

On the other hand, it is well recognized that diesel fuel contains a large number of microorganisms.

When water in the diesel separates into a distinct layer below the fuel, the problem of microbial contamination arises. “Phase separation” is a term used to describe this phenomenon. You may observe a dark coating growing in the gasoline at this point in the process.

The term “fuel contamination” is also commonly used to describe this type of contamination “the “diesel bug”

The interaction between the diesel fuel and the water provides an ideal environment for bacteria and fungi to flourish. While devouring the hydrocarbons from the diesel fuel above, the bacteria will live and proliferate in the water.

Microbes will eventually create visible biomass (rag layer) between the water and the diesel fuel. By-products and dead cells from the microbial communities that are growing sink to the bottom of the tank, forming a thick sludge.

The Effects of Microbial Growth

The sludge by-product of microbial infection, when churned up, can easily clog any engine filter.

A clogged engine filter, particularly one that clogs at a critical period, might create major issues.

Data centers that rely on diesel generators for backup power, for example, may encounter unplanned downtime owing to clogged filters. While unplanned maintenance is being performed, this can result in expenses of hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars each minute.

Clogged filters on numerous maritime vehicles, such as boats and yachts, can frequently leave their operators stranded on the water.

“While the diesel bug may begin on a microscopic level, it is obvious that it can have macro-consequences.”

What’s the best way to extract algae out of diesel fuel?

It’s one thing to discover that your fuel contains algae. But getting rid of it and keeping it away is a very different story. If you don’t want a constant headache, you must win this game.

If you have the correct remedy, treating diesel fuel algae is rather straightforward. But what we truly mean by “easy” is “follow these few tips and you’ll have a good probability of resolving the problem.”

Get Rid Of The Water

This is the first stage in any endeavor to remove algae from the gasoline. Water is required for fuel microorganisms to survive and thrive. Drain the water out mechanically if you have more than half an inch of water (you should be measuring it with a tank stick and some water paste). After that, clean up the remaining with some form of water-absorbing chemical treatment. Everything else won’t work as well if you don’t get rid of the water first.

Apply A Biocide, Not Just A Generic “Water Treatment”

I know we just told you to use chemical treatment to clean up the rest of the water. That advice still holds true. However, the treatment isn’t meant to kill the bacteria; rather, it’s meant to improve the environment so that they can’t flourish in the water. No, you’ll need to kill the active microbial contamination in the tank with a specific biocide. Because fuel biocides kill active living organisms in any liquid they are employed in, they are extensively regulated and restricted. That’s a positive thing in this case. Something that will kill the fungus, mold, bacteria, and algae is ideal. Simply scavenging the water will not suffice.

Don’t Undertreat

When we speak with consumers, we advise them to use enough biocide to treat the maximum amount of fuel in the tank they’re considering, not simply the amount of fuel in it at the time.

Assume they have a 12,000 gallon fuel tank with 5,000 gallons of fuel. They will also fill the tank to a maximum of 10,000 gallons. The suggestion would be to add enough biocide to the 5,000 gallon tank to treat 10,000 gallons. That way, when they add gasoline later, they’ll have 10,000 gallons of fuel with just enough biocide to kill everything it comes into touch with.

Because there are usually latent bacteria residing on the tank walls above the gasoline line, this is critical. Using enough biocide to treat the maximum fuel level means that when more fuel is added, the fuel level rises and kills the microorganisms since the fuel contains enough biocide.

Circulate The Fuel To Ensure Best Mixing

This is quite significant. It’s not enough to simply dump biocide on top of current gasoline and leave it alone, thinking that the biocide will diffuse down and do its job. The biocide will be injected into the fuel line by industrial bulk fuel users. Why? Because this is the only way to ensure that the biocide is properly mixed in. A biocide won’t work until it comes into actual touch with the organism it’s designed to kill. So, if you want the biocide to work, make sure it’s thoroughly mixed into the fuel. That’s fantastic if you have the technology to inject it into the gasoline line. For many clients, the biocide will be added after the gasoline has been circulated for a length of time. That also works quite nicely. Those are the four most significant suggestions.

Other suggestions include allowing time for the dead germs to settle after they’ve been killed. Also, have spare gasoline filters on available to filter out any dead bacteria. You’ll have a far higher chance of solving the problem the first time if you follow these basic guidelines.

Is it possible for algae to grow in diesel?

Algae cannot thrive inside a diesel fuel tank, according to science. Algae cannot grow in the darkness of a diesel fuel tank because it requires sunlight to grow. Microbes such as mold, bacteria, and fungus, on the other hand, can find their way into your diesel fuel tank and cause havoc if you’re not careful. It is critical that you avoid allowing these bacteria to cause damage to your fuel and fuel tank at all costs.

When a large amount of free water is able to work its way into your diesel fuel tank, microbes can set up shop. To thrive, the microorganisms require both food and water, and the diesel fuel and water provide them with everything they require to expand their colonies. Microbe colonies can render your diesel fuel useless in a short amount of time, forcing you to pay for costly repairs.

While you can’t always observe microbial development in a diesel fuel tank, there are some pretty straightforward techniques to tell if you have “algae” growing in your tank. You can keep track of how often your fuel filters need to be replaced by keeping an eye on them. When bacteria are present in your fuel, your fuel filters may clog up more quickly than usual. You can also do frequent testing on your diesel fuel tank to detect if it contains bacteria. These tests will tell you if you need to be concerned about a microorganism problem.

If you discover that algal sludge has formed in your diesel fuel tank, the first thing you should do is drain the water and thoroughly clean the tank. Algae sludge must be broken up and removed from your tank. Initially, do not purchase a biocide; it will not address the problem until the water has been removed and the biomass has been dissolved.

Don’t use too many additives. Too much of anything is bad and will only lead to additional issues.

Have less than 100 gallons of fuel and need to get the water and big solids out quickly and easily?

How can I tell whether my diesel is contaminated with algae?

In the last 7-8 years, the number of occurrences of petroleum storage tanks contaminated with “algae” has increased dramatically across the country. We put that in quotes because we know it’s not truly “algae,” but rather mold, fungus, and bacteria that are responsible for the fuel. We call it algae because that’s what people assume it is (it’s not, because algae is a small plant creature that requires light to thrive, and gasoline tanks are too dark to provide that light), but we go with it. Whatever you call it, whether it’s algae, bacteria, or fungus, the problems remain the same.

Problems? That is the topic of discussion today. How to tell if you have an algae issue in your gasoline tank.

There’s a mountain of research and data that explains what causes diesel fuel algae to contaminate a tank. Due to the lack of sulfur in the gasoline (which prevents it from growing), any free water in the tank becomes a breeding ground for this fuel “algae.” But how do you determine if you have an issue with diesel fuel algae? Take a look at these red flags that could indicate a problem.

1. You insert the petrol tank in the ground and look for any substantial depth of water. Microbes and diesel fuel algae can grow and thrive in as little as a quarter-inch layer of water at the bottom of the container. Remember that a quarter inch can represent tens of gallons of water in a storage tank, depending on the size of the tank.

2. You go through filters more quickly than usual. Because the microbial bodies as well as the black, slimy biomass matrix that they make throughout the course of their lifespan get captured, diesel fuel algae clogs filters like crazy (s). Filters are also clogged when microbial activity causes the gasoline to lose its storage quality and degrade at a faster rate. The asphaltenes and heavy end fuel components that have stratified and come out of solution then cause filter blocking. Any unusually high incidence of filter plugging is a symptom that the tank needs to be checked for microorganisms.

3. You perform a microorganism test, which results in a positive result. Microbe test culture strips can be purchased for around $10 apiece. The test takes 3-4 days to create and will provide you with a qualitative (yes/no) rather than quantitative (yes and how much) response to your question.

4. The pH of your gasoline is lower than it should be. Algae in diesel fuel create acids, which gradually shift the pH of the fuel towards an acidic state. Because a pH of 7.0 is neutral, adding acid to the fuel will lower the pH. A fuel pH of less than 5.8 indicates a major problem in the tank and is strong evidence of a microbial problem. Of course, you’ll need a pH meter to figure this out, but if you have one, it’s another piece of data you may gather to see if you have a diesel fuel algae problem.

After you’ve confirmed that, you can move on to the next step in resolving the issue.

Is it possible for bacteria to grow in diesel fuel?

Why are microorganisms called diesel bugs found in diesel fuel? Bacteria, yeasts, and fungi are microbes that live all around us. They exist practically everywhere, including in fuels like diesel, because they only require a small amount of water and food to thrive.

How can bacterial development in diesel fuel be avoided?

The best strategy to avoid microbial growth in diesel fuel is to reduce its exposure to water. This can be accomplished through a variety of methods, including the recycling of fuel through water separations and the routine discharge of water bottoms where bacteria thrive. It’s also possible to employ gasoline tank insulation, which is a method of regulating fuel temperature.

If sludge has already formed, it should be removed as soon as possible and on a regular basis to prevent it from spreading. It’s also a good idea to schedule frequent tank inspections, cleaning, and treatments. When it comes to treatment, the EPA recommends using prophylactic doses of diesel fuel biocides. These compounds have the ability to extend the period between tank cleanings.

Why does diesel absorb water?

Water is without a doubt the most commonly reported issue with diesel fuel, which leads to microbial development and engine failure.

This water has the potential to cause a variety of issues, including freezing in cold conditions, providing a breeding ground for bacteria, speeding up the aging of the fuel, causing gums and shellacs to form, and causing injector tips to fail.

When hot fuel from the injectors is returned to the fuel tank, condensation forms under the fuel and creates water. Because engine performance needs are higher than ever before, injectors produce more heat than they did 20 years ago. These injectors must be kept cool at all times or they will self-destruct.

To dissipate part of the heat, diesel engine systems circulate fuel from the fuel tank across the injectors. This keeps the injectors cooler. The heated “return fuel” is then returned to the fuel tank in a cycle. The increased temperature causes more water from the air inside the tank to condense into the fuel when the hot return fuel is returned to the tank. Over time, this results in a continuous build-up of water in the bottom of the fuel tank.

Due to vented storage tanks and humid air, water is also produced from diesel fuel storage. All storage tanks are vented to the outside air, allowing humid air from the outside to circulate continuously. Condensation occurs if the temperature drops by 7 degrees. The air temperature drops at night, and water vapor condenses in the fuel and sinks to the bottom (because water is heavier than fuel).

Multiple surfactants in DEE-water ZOL’s control agent absorb water into the diesel fuel by spreading it in tiny packets. These packets are small enough to pass through injectors and burn in the combustion chamber, releasing steam. If ‘free’ water is sucked into a hot injector, it converts to steam, expands by 40 times its original volume, and can blow out the injector, rendering the vehicle useless.

Algae in diesel is what color?

How is it possible for something to grow in diesel fuel?

Technically, it doesn’t grow in the fuel; rather, it grows at the water-diesel fuel interface. Water is the only thing it needs to survive. Condensation can cause water to collect in your fuel tank. It can prematurely clog your filters if it gets bad enough. This problem is particularly common in older diesels that have been idle for long periods of time. Small black specks in your clear pre-filters will be the first sign. You’ll have to look inside your fuel tank to see how terrible it is. The best way to do this is to remove the gasoline sending unit. If your tank is completely black, as shown in this image, you most likely have algae growth.

What is the appearance of diesel fuel bacteria?

If you wish to prevent, or at the very least, limit the spread of diesel bug within your storage tanks, it’s important to check your own fuel supply from time to time.

There are certain things you can do to check your own fuel supply, as we’ll show you below, but for a more thorough examination, you should consider hiring a professional (such as to test the fuel for germs, bugs, and microbes that aren’t apparent to the naked eye.

  • In the glass ball on the tank, you might be able to see traces of black muck and water. If you can see a lot of water in the glass ball, the tank will need to be cleaned and emptied, since this could suggest that there is water in the tank. Diesel bacteria contamination will almost probably be indicated by black sludge.
  • When replacing the filters on the fuel tank, look for remnants of black sludge in the previous fuel filters.
  • Pour some into a glass or a clear plastic container if your fuel tank has a drain tap. Allow it to settle for a few minutes before inspecting the container for any signs of water or black muck.

What causes diesel to turn black?

Asphaltene, often known as black gasoline, is generated by hot fuel returning to the fuel tanks, and we recently had two vehicles in our shop that were suffering from it. The microscopic black particles in the fuel that make it appear black are actually the diesel fuel attempting to return to its original asphalt basis. Due to the low oxygen and nitrogen content of ultra low sulfur diesel fuel, problems with thermal stability arise when the hot fuel is returned to the fuel tank. The engine will lose power and/or shut down if the little black spots collect in the fuel filter.

We’ve been performing the MD Alignment at our shop for the past year, which aligns the rear axles with the steering axle. We’ve discovered that the way the spring is attached to the axle on the AirLiner rear suspensions on most Freightliners causes a shifting difficulty. It’s most common on the vehicles’ rear axle, and the effect is that the air bag isn’t aligned properly with its base (see photo). Our Cat technician and alignment expert, Jack, has devised a method of realigning the air bag’s base with the top mounting plate. The suspension must be aligned in order to function properly. The back of the truck will sway slightly if the air bags are out of alignment, causing the steer tires to wear down faster. This issue can be fixed in roughly two hours for a total cost of $120 in parts.

Let’s now shift gears to high-performance engine turbocharger failures. When you accelerate, keep your foot light on the throttle pedal to avoid burning through the small coating of oil on the thrust washer. When this happens, the small gap between the compressor wheel and the housing narrows even more, and the wheel collides with the housing. Your turbo is now broken, and you’re angry, and there’s nothing we can do about it. The turbo maker will disassemble the turbo, and it will be obvious to them that the turbo was over-sped.

Remember the analogy I used before about the “egg under your foot”? You must drive as if your right foot is stuck between the throttle pedal and the egg. I’ve owned the same Dodge Cummins pickup with the original turbo for 20 years, and yes, the vehicle is tuned (around 150 percent over stock), and I’ve never had to replace the turbo. I use a light touch with the throttle, and I have two different turbine housings on the turbo depending on the altitude at which the truck will be running. Because they flow more exhaust, the larger turbine housings slow down the turbo’s RPM and allow the engine to breathe easier. Now, I understand that you can’t continually changing the turbine housings on your semi, but you can be more conservative with the throttle.

The thrust washer, which holds the turbine wheel, shaft, and compressor wheel in place, acts like a vacuum cleaner sucking in air. The higher the rate of acceleration, the more pressure is applied to the thrust washer, which holds the turbine wheel, shaft, and compressor wheel in place. The oil layer on these components is only half a micron thick (very small). Excessive heat and pressure can cause the oil to burn through, which is when the damage begins. Years ago, every driver was trained to let their truck idle for about two minutes before turning it off to allow it to cool down. People today do not want to do that, and some have been assured by dealership salesmen that it is no longer essential because the computer would do it. The computer has nothing to do with the heat generated by a turbocharger, and YES, the turbo must be allowed to cool before the engine is turned off!