Andrew Hargreaves, director of leading fuel storage equipment manufacturer Fuel Proof Ltd, discusses the benefits of storing and managing fuel in-house.
In an effort to reduce costs and improve efficiency, many UK based companies and organisations are investing in an in-house solution for their fuel storage and vehicle refuelling requirements. With so much money being invested in modern fleet vehicles and fuel, the importance of fuel storage and management equipment cannot be overestimated. So what are the main advantages of this approach – and what are the important things to consider beforehand?
Although there are many systems available for monitoring fuel purchased from filling stations, one of the key advantages of refuelling vehicles and machinery on site is that vehicle and driver fuel usage can be monitored more easily, quickly and accurately. Dispensing equipment can be linked to fuel management software, allowing transport managers instant access to detailed information – a real advantage in the super-competitive haulage and transport industries. Companies also benefit from having fail-safe, around-the-clock refuelling, which gives them more flexibility and peace-of-mind, and importantly can reduce refuelling during driver’s on-duty time.
Companies looking to install or improve their own fuel storage systems are, however, faced with some important decisions to ensure the solution they implement gives them the maximum possible benefit. Areas such as storage capacity, security, tank location and operator usability must be assessed to ensure that the customers individual requirements are met. Even though fleet vehicles and the fuel they run on are vital assets for any company, some make the mistake of cutting corners with the fuel storage and dispensing equipment which can prove costly long-term.
A strong, double skinned tank constructed from steel throughout, with dispensing equipment and inlets and outlets kept secure, is essential for above-ground installations. In most cases the cost of filling a diesel tank will be significantly more than the cost of the equipment itself, which highlights the importance of making tank security a top priority. Tanks should be fully lockable and with heavy duty lock bolts and internal hinges. Plastic tanks, although a cheap alternative to steel tanks, do not provide adequate security for a commodity as valuable as fuel, and can be easily breached by fuel thieves. Steel tanks also tend to last longer and hold on to their value better than plastic tanks, meaning that they are a better long term investment.
Specifying the right fuel dispensing equipment is another important decision: pumps must deliver high-flow rates and be reliable to reduce refuelling times and maintenance costs.
Unlike older diesel engines, the modern common rail diesel injection systems fitted to all new vehicles need to be better protected from contaminated fuel to prevent damage to expensive components. Fuel installations should include efficient and proven filtration equipment to remove both particulates and water – this small extra cost will help prevent unscheduled filter changes and reduce repair costs and vehicle downtime. This has become especially important in recent years due to the increasing percentage of biofuel in diesel, which can cause a bacterial ‘sludge’ to form inside tanks if left untreated.
The storage equipment must be built in accordance with the PPG2 environmental regulations, which requires the tank to be 110% bunded, with all dispensing equipment, valves and other outlets situated inside the bund area.
In summary, companies that manage to satisfy all the above requirements can find that their fuel storage and refuelling setup becomes a key part of their business – this really is an area that should never be overlooked.
Here's the latest fuel storage news, articles and info.