From the 1st of January 2011 all gas oil (red diesel) for use in off road machinery and boats will contain no more than 10mgs of sulphur per kilo of fuel (current level is 1000mgs/kg). The changes are to reduce burned sulphur from entering the atmosphere. The Department of Transport are advising all gas oil users of the following precautions when storing and using red diesel for off road and recreational boat use:
Increased care when storing: The oxidation stability of this fuel will be poorer than that of current gas oil. This can cause solids to form in the gas oil. This will cause increased contamination that will require filtering from the gas oil. Suitable and regular filtration of the fuel will help prevent wear and tear on transfer pumps or off road engines.
Water removal: Water in fuel encourages bacterial growth which can block fuel systems and damage engines. Increased use of bio fuel as an additive to modern gas oils means that there is an increased risk of bacterial growth where water is present. Ensuring that suitable water separators are fitted can help reduce bacterial growth and reduce down time from breakdowns.
Solvent characteristic of the low sulphur fuel: The new sulphur free gas oil has a more solvent characteristic than current gas oil and will potentially remove any deposits within the storage tank. It is advised that fuel tanks are cleaned and equipment filters be replaced after the initial 2-3 tank fills of sulphur free gas oil and then be maintained and serviced regularly. If ever in doubt, change your fuel tank filters.
The cost of regular filter servicing is much lower and cost effective than the cost of even one single pump or engine fuel system replacement.
Further information and advice can be found on the Department for Transport web site by following the following link: