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fuel cleaning
Posted: Saturday, October 15, 2011 3:18 PM
Joined: 30/06/2008
Posts: 85

I have a fuel tank contaminated with engine coolant. The no. 10 cylinder head leaked coolant into the fuel return circuit and then into the starboard day tank. The coolant is lighter (floats on top off) the diesel. I have contacted a couple of local tank cleaners in Antibes, Blue Marine and Ecotank. Ecotank said they cant separate the coolant and allow me to re-use the 2000L of fuel. Blue marine said they will put it through the centrifuge but cant say what will happen. Any ideas to avoid losing 3000 euros of diesel?

Posted: Saturday, October 15, 2011 4:12 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1024

Dont know. Keep asking around then post your conclusion. Some years ago I was working in a shipyard. The yard naturally had several waste fuel,oil tanks. When the tanks were full they would filter, clean the watse fuel oil, then burn this oil in the shipyards heating system. On the side of all oil waste tanks was a prominent........NO CHEMICALS..ANTIFREEZE....WASTE OIL ONLY..... They were so serious about avoiding contamination that the tanks were locked and permission needed to be granted before you discharged your vessels waste oil.
Posted: Saturday, October 15, 2011 4:28 PM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 342

"Any ideas to avoid losing 3000 euros of diesel?"

Take the loss and move on. It really isn't worth the risk to try and salvage that fuel. How much would it cost to replace the fuel pumps and injectors on the main engine(s) and generators?

Posted: Monday, October 17, 2011 3:19 PM
Joined: 03/03/2011
Posts: 100

If you don't want to ditch the contaminated fuel and have an empty and clean tank then run it through your centrifuge as slowly as possible. Once the contaminated tank is empty, open her up and clean it out completely - then run the fuel back through your centrifuge into its original tank. Then, take a look in both tanks to see what residue is about. Could take a while, so if time is tight, you may have no option but to ditch it
Posted: Monday, October 17, 2011 10:37 PM
Joined: 30/06/2008
Posts: 85

Well, we put some coolant in to a sample of diesel and watched it sink. However, when we drain the primary fuel filters, fuel comes out first and then the coolant, go figure... Anyway, had the fuel centrifuged and put back in today after arranging a tow to suitable dock as the one we are on does not support the weight of anything bigger than a citroen 2CV. Did a see trial and the fuel filter alarms stayed silent so think we are sorted. Thanks AlFA Laval. Next stop Tunisia for the tax run, trial by fire...

Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 7:26 PM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 342

 "Thanks AlFA Laval."

Unless you changed the mode of your centrifuge it only removed the free water and liquid coolant. You first wrote that there was stuff floating on the top of the tank. If there is contamination that is lighter than fuel, it will not be removed by your centrifuge.

If there was liquid coolant on the bottom of the tank and some other contaminant floating on the top then unless you have the fuel tested spectroscopically, you cannot know what is in between and that is what you plan on sending to your engines. The chemicals used in coolant packages are deadly to engine parts other than the cooling system.

You may not lose an injection pump tomorrow but trying to save a few Euros by salvaging contaminated fuel is not in the owner's best interest.

I Spy.
Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 11:44 PM
Joined: 18/10/2010
Posts: 4

I can't see how coolant can float on fuel. Fresh water has a PG of 1. Fuel is lighter than water. Check bunker sheet and this will show the PG figure. Drain off what is floating on top and waste it. Check water drain on bottom of tank. Run thru purifier. Make sure purifier is set up correctly. Biggest Gravity dics and slow flow down. The thing to remember is 3 grand is bugger all compared to Injectors, Pumps etc. Find someone with a Boiler and give it to them. Cheers Nigel Brown
Posted: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 7:38 AM
Wouldn't bother whats 3 grand in the big scheme of things on some engines one injector alone is close to 2 500 euros. So if you have mtu and the big boys 4000 series your in for a lot more than just the measley 3 grand worth of juice.
Derek ince
Posted: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 1:00 PM
Joined: 05/10/2011
Posts: 1

hi guys find a algae x tank cleaner they can pump the fuel through a set of filters which will take out the water and any sedment and then return it to the tank you can find them on the web .
Chief Eng.
Posted: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 1:08 PM
Joined: 05/06/2008
Posts: 11

Capt Mark ! You will probably never hear the word "thank you for saving me money" If you screw up the fuel pumps, you will hear something else. Ditch the fuel, clean the tanks. If it is floating on top, or at the very bottom. In shitty weather and everything gets stirred up is NOT the time to figure out if your money saving works.