Why are Today’s Diesel Fuels so Sensitive?

Today’s Diesel Fuels are naturally unstable.  They are a blend of distilled crude oil and catalytically “cracked” crude oil.  The catalytic hydro-cracking process basically takes long carbon-chain molecules and breaks them apart, leaving a mixture of relatively unstable, electrically charged molecules that want to clump (agglomerate) back together.  From the moment the diesel fuel leaves the refinery, the fuel begins to degrade, and fuel that has been stored for a while will clog filters.  Several factors are at work to help degrade your fuel – time, temperature changes, humidity, external contaminants, and deliveries of less than optimal fuel. 

What?  Less than optimal fuel?  Yes.  The fuel supply industry is made up of many different large wholesalers, small independent distributors or jobbers, and independent delivery services.  No one tests the fuel they receive – they just assume that it meets all OEM specifications.  Even when fuel is still clear and bright, microscopic fuel components agglomerate to form larger clusters and organic compounds. Eventually, filters clog and sludge (algae, gum, tar, varnish, wax, etc.) accumulates in storage tanks. CriticalFuel.com can reverse the agglomeration process.

Most performance challenges and exhaust pollution are the result of agglomerated fuel that does not burn completely, thus producing weaker Cetane and Butane ratings.  Users experience frequent filter clogging, heavy carbon deposits on internal engine surfaces, smoke under load, soot deposits near exhaust pipes, and clogged catalytic converters.

“Any time a generator shut down, and the filters were clogged, we just changed the filters and blamed it on the fuel.” – AC Rison, Rental/Sales Manger, Cummins Bridgeway

People who operate and maintain Diesel Power Units are familiar with the black slimy material found in fuel filter elements.  Many people think this material is some sort of microbe, thus it is most commonly called "algae".  Diesel fuel agglomerates to form wax and asphaltenes, not "algae". 
Until the oil embargo in the 1970s, oil refineries provided primarily straight-run distillate products.  In fact, a tank of diesel fuel produced by straight distillation during World War II (1944) was discovered and examined after fifty years of storage and found to be in perfectly clear, usable condition.  Processing of crude oil into the light distillate products we all know as gasoline, Kerosene, home heating oil, jet fuel, and diesel was basically done through heating the crude oil.  At different boiling points, the various fractions of the crude were evaporated then condensed and sent to a storage tank for distribution. The distillate products, diesel fuel included, were fairly stable products with a much longer shelf life than today’s fuels. The residual oil left over after the distillation process, approximately 50% of the original barrel of crude, was used for large ships and power plants, and industrial applications like plastics, pharmaceuticals, nylon, asphalt, etc.
The refining process is dramatically different today.  The refiners had to find ways to create more of the lighter fuels from the crude oil.  Catalytic, or chemical hydro-cracking now allows a refinery to turn approximately 90% of each barrel of crude into the more valuable lighter distillates.  Also, environmental regulations have necesitated additional processing of diesel, for example to lower sulfur content.

Diesel fuel that is produced with these newer catalytic methods is far less stable than fuel that was refined using simple distillation.  Key fuel components such as paraffins and asphaltenes begin to oxidize and re-polymerize resulting in dark coloration, clogged filters and tank sludge.  The agglomerated paraffins and asphaltenes do not combust very rapidly causing a loss of engine efficiency.  When the exhaust ports open, still smoldering fuel clusters become smoke & soot, leaving carbon buildup in the engine and exhaust trunk.

Tank Sludge must be removed manually, or dissolved with chemicals and/or sophisticated electromagnetic processes.


In the past few years, engine technology has improved dramatically, especially in the injection systems.  To comply with the ever more stringent environmental regulations, today’s modern diesel engines are built to very exacting specifications.  Higher injection pressures and temperatures, and tighter tolerances do not welcome fuel sediments, or deposits of paraffin, asphaltene, and hard carbon.  Modern engines require optimal fuel quality to provide optimal performance. 

Engine manufacturers are building the best and most technically advanced machines ever.  However, they have absolutely no control over the condition and quality of the fuel.  It is up to the engine user to make sure his Fuel Management Protocols are up to the task.  CriticalFuel.com can offer solutions to help.


  1. Frequent Filter Replacements
  2. Fuel Line Clogging
  3. Low RPM at Full Throttle
  4. Dark Exhaust Smoke


  1. Dark Colored Fuel
  2. Slimy Mass on Filters or Tank Walls
  3. Water in Fuel
  4. Sediments


Providing Optimal Fuel Quality for your Mission-Critical Power Unit is your legal responsibility.  Protecting critical power systems in institutional and commercial facilities is essential for health, safety, data preservation, and business continuity.  As storage tanks increase in size to accommodate ever-increasing regulations, fuel degradation will become even more critical.  Today’s Diesel Power Units demand Optimal Fuel to run properly. 

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) maintains standards covering standby generators – NFPA 110, Standard for Emergency Power Supply Systems (EPSS).  The NFPA has specified the minimum number of hours the generator set can operate at its rated load without refueling.  NFPA also stipulates several different on-site tests which should be performed to ensure compliance.  All EPSS must be inspected weekly and exercised under load at least monthly for a minimum of 30 minutes.  For more information about NFPA 110, go to www.nfpa.com.

In the NFPA 110 section on Maintenance and Operational Testing, they recognize the fact that engine fuel problems are a leading cause of diesel generator failures.

A fuel quality test shall be performed at least annually using tests approved by ASTM standards”.  – NFPA 110-2005, section 8.3.8

The Joint Commission of Accreditation for Hospital Organizations (JCAHO), also known as "The Joint Commission", addresses emergency management of hospitals such as occur with loss of power.  JCAHO requires conformance to the NFPA 110 specifications for Emergency Power Supply Systems.  For more information, see www.JointCommission.org.

Continual Changes in Environmental Clean Air Regulations require that you maintain clean fuel.  The movement to show the public that your company is “green” lends itself to a program of fuel polishing.  You can issue a press release that you're refreshing your old fuel rather than discarding and replacing it.


“Use a fuel quality management service to regularly test the fuel, and as necessary, polish it – Chevron

“…diesel fuel can be stored 6 months to 1 year without significant degradation.  Storage for longer periods can be accomplished through use of periodic filtrations [polishing]” – EXXON

“As diesel gets older, a fine sediment and gum forms in the diesel…  The fine sediment and gum will block filters, leading to fuel starvation and engine stopping – BP

Fuel Deteriorates, and the Oil Companies Know It.  Modern refining techniques (Catalytic Cracking) have made the fuels less stable.  “Cracked” organic fuels naturally clump together – “agglomerate” or “re-polymerize” – and create sludge that can clog your filters and shut down your engine.  Also, as water condenses in the tank, microbial growth begins.  The results of the sludge, water and microbial growth are carbon deposits on injectors, incomplete combustion (loss of power/economy), and higher emissions.


Emergency power is one of the most critical lifelines in any facility, especially where today’s digital economy requires a reliable flow of power.  Accumulating sludge may sit quietly in the bottom of your fuel tank, but during an extended power outage, the agitation of the refueling process will disburse the sediments and clog the primary filters – so now you’ve lost power again!

“The blackout provided some surprises in cases where building operators failed to test or simulate the conditions of a blackout,” says Rob Friedel, Sr. V.P., Syska Hennessy Group.  The systems worked initially, but the duration of the blackout became the problem. 

“Regardless of how well maintained or how often tested your stand-by generators are, if you don’t maintain your stored fuel on a regular basis, YOUR GENERATORS WILL FAIL, and probably when you need them most – in a power failure.” - AT&T Texas, Hurricane Katrina

Clean fuel is necessary for optimum engine performance.  Giving your power unit the best fuel possible will increase Reliability and Safety.  Contaminated fuel can lead to expensive repairs and downtime.

Are you ready for an extended power-outage?


What are the reliability drivers for your facility?  For commercial and administrative facilities, data centers benefit most from critical power.  Often, reliability drivers extend far beyond the first point of focus.  It’s not just the computers that need critical power.  The cooling system for the room that houses the computers also requires critical power.

Here’s the scenario:  The power grid goes down in your area.  Your power unit fires up and provides emergency power.  But, the power grid is down long enough that you need to refill the tank.  The pick-up tube does not rest on the bottom of the tank – and that’s where all the sludge is.  When the delivery truck arrives, the introduction of the new fuel stirs up all the sludge that was lying on the bottom of the tank and clogs the filters.  Wham!  Now, you're without power again!  Management is looking to you as the expert to anticipate these situations.  What’s your answer?

What’s in jeopardy if you lose power because of clogged filters?
Management looks to you as the expert to avoid these situations.  What action have you taken?


In the past, the only way to assure that you had good fuel for your Mission Critical Power Unit was to periodically pay someone to extract the old fuel and discard it, power-wash and clean the interior tank and baffle surfaces (sometimes requiring manned-entry), pump out and discard the water from the cleaning operation, and refill the tank with new fuel.  That is an expensive way to go and not very environmentally friendly.

Now, there is a more cost-effective alternative.  


Today’s Diesel Power Units Demand Optimal Fuel To Run Properly.

What would a day of down-time cost you?

“Polishing” is a fuel industry term, and is recommended by fuel refiners to maintain the fuel’s viability.  CriticalFuel.com's cost effective and environmentally conscious Fuel Restoration and Polishing Technology can recondition, stabilize, decontaminate, and optimize your diesel fuel.  We employ a comprehensive, innovative process utilizing conditioning additives, specific gravity, filtration and inductive energy to efficiently remove free water, emulsified water, agglomerated fuel clusters (sludge), sediments, contaminants, and microbial growth that naturally accumulate in tanks.

Our specially formulated fuel conditioners and catalysts help stabilize your fuel, dissolve deposits from inaccessible tank walls and baffles, improve your fuel's lubricity and Cetane rating, and eliminiate microbial activity and the traditional need for expensive toxic chemicals.  Our technology breaks up the agglomerated molecules of fuel to allow them to pass through your power unit's primary filters and burn more efficiently.

In other words, we can restore your fuel to its original ‘Clear and Bright’ in-specification condition for peak performance and reliability.  You get to keep your own fuel – Just restore it! 

Schedule one of our specially trained crews to come to your location with one of our trailers, trucks, or vans full of equipment.  We’ll get your fuel cleaned ASAP.  CriticalFuel.com’s professional fuel and tank cleaning can reverse the degradation process, and restore and stabilize the overall quality of your diesel fuel.

To successfully and completely restore your fuel back to perfect health, CriticalFuel.com performs the following services:

1. On site fuel sampling and testing to analyze and confirm the nature of the problem – whether it is sludge, bugs, water, dirt, rust, scale, or other contamination.
2. Decontaminate the tank, removing and preventing microbial activity.
3. Remove water, sludge, bio-fouling and other contaminants from the fuel.
4. Restores fuel purity with 2 micron absolute filtration to specification for color, clarity, total contaminant, microbial contamination and water content, eliminating the habitat for bacteria and fungi
5. Add a specially formulated Fuel Catalyst to restore and optimize your fuel.

CriticalFuel.com’s Fuel Polishing is the best and most innovative fuel treatment process on the market.  We restore all elements of fuel quality to previously contaminated fuel tank systems.  The results are the cleanest tank with the cleanest possible fuel.

"It’s Almost Like Having a Mobile Refinery Right at Your Doorstep."


The movement to show the public that your company is “green” lends itself to a program of fuel polishing.  You could even issue a press release that you're refreshing your old fuel rather than discarding and replacing it.  Fuel polishing is a great alternative to discarding the degraded or contaminated fuel.  We’re not going to ‘sanitize’ the tank like power-washing might, but we can provide a much more economical way to restore your fuel to its “clear and bright” condition and a program to maintain it.  The only true solution for a contaminated fuel source is to discard the old fuel, power-wash the tank, and refill with new fuel.


After your stored fuel is professionally cleaned and polished by CriticalFuel.com, we recommend that you establish a periodic schedule for us to come out and perform a quick test on your fuel.

“Any time a generator shut down, and the filters were clogged, we just changed the filters and blamed it on the fuel.” – AC Rison, Rental/Sales Manger, Cummins Bridgeway

You may already have a Periodic Maintenance program in place for your Power Unit.  They may even “check” the fuel.  Why not implement a Fuel Quality Periodic Maintenance program?  Conscientious owners and facility operators implement a regularly scheduled fuel testing and polishing program in order to proactively detect problems and correct them before they impact their Critical Systems.

Sure, your Power Unit may run for 20-30 minutes a week and an hour or two once a month.  But, will it continue to run during an extended power outage when your refueling operation stirs up all the sludge on the bottom?  As Chief Engineer, it’s your responsibility to assure the Power Unit performance when needed.

 Contact us to arrange a site visit and detailed analysis of how we can help you successfully manage your fuel storage environment.


  1. More Reliable Power for Improved Safety
  2. Improved Engine Performance
  3. Reduced Smoke to Help Meet Emissions Requirements
  4. Reduced Maintenance, Down-Time, and Operating Costs
  5. Better Fuel Economy
  6. Keep Internal Engine Components Clean
  7. Fewer Injector Failures
  8. Extend the Engine’s Life
  9. Reduce Both Short-Term and Long-Term Expenses

It’s Time To Have Your Diesel Fuel Professionally Cleaned And Polished.

Call CriticalFuel.com to Optimize Your Fuel Today!

  • Environmentally conscious way to recondition your fuel, and avoid the necessity to rReplace It.
  • As Recommended by Refiners*, we will polish your fuel to restore its original Clear and Bright condition.
  • Improve your Fuel’s ability to perform when and how you need it.
  • Reduce Filter Changes and Downtime

Fuel Polishing will efficiently remove both free and emulsified water, sludge, and sediments that naturally accumulate in fuel tanks. CriticalFuel.com’s Polishing Service will provide Optimal Fuel Quality for Peak Engine Performance and Reliability in the times you need it the most!  Our service can eliminate fuel “algae” issues, clogged filters and tank sludge and restore your fuel to a “Clear & Bright” condition.

Don’t Gamble With Your Fuel’s Reliability. Test It Today!


- More Reliable Power
- Improve Safety and Reliability
- Improve Engine Performance
- Reduce Smoke to help Meet Emissions Requirements
- Reduce Maintenance, Down-Time, and Operating Costs
- Better Fuel Economy – Keep Engine Components Clean


It's YOUR Responsibility




You have a Periodic Maintenance program in place for your power unit.  Why not verify that your fuel is ready, also?  A focused Periodic Maintenance program can help avoid surprises, reduce the level of risk, and raise the uptime percentage of a facility’s critical power system.  Contact CriticalFuel.com to schedule a Periodic Maintenance fuel test and fuel polishing to give you the peace of mind that your power unit will have optimal fuel year-round. 

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