NPN Magazine April 2013

National Petroleum News (NPN) has been the independent voice of the petroleum industry since 1909 as the opposition to Rockefeller’s Standard Oil. So, motor fuels marketing and retail is not just a sideline for us, it’s our core competency.

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MARKETING & SUPPLY BY JOHNGAITHER, PetroClear® New report identifies probable causes of ULSD UST corrosion and indicates that proper dispenser filtering can help prevent damage to the vehicle's fueling system ADDRESSING CONCERNS OVER EXCESSIVE ULSD UST CORROSION T he acronyM ulsD, short for ultra-loWsulfur diesel, became a permanent part  of  the  motor-fuel  vernacular  in  the  United  States  in  June  2006.  It  was  at  that time that a new federal regulation  from  the  United  States  Environmental  Protection  Agency  (EPA)  went  into  effect.  Known  as  the  "Clean Air Highway Diesel" rule, it mandated a 97  percent reduction in the sulfur content of highway  diesel  fuel.  Accordingly,  refiners  were  required  to  alter  the  composition  of  the  diesel  fuel  that  they  produced so that it contained only 15 parts per million (ppm) of sulfur, which was a drastic reduction  from the previous 500-ppm threshold. Within the same time frame, the Energy Policy  Act of 2005's Renewable Fuel Standard, which was  amended by the Energy Independence and Security  Act of 2007, mandated a significant increase in the  production  and  use  of  biofuels  in  the  U.S.  This  included ethanol, which is now present at a level of  10 percent in more than 90 percent of the gasoline  that is sold in the United States. Since 2007, both ULSD and gasoline containing  ethanol  have  been  present  at  retail,  commercial  and fleet fueling sites across the country. Also present since that time are complaints that ULSD can  cause serious issues, mainly excessive corrosion of  the underground storage tanks (USTs) and in the  equipment that is used to dispense the fuel. Often  when  this  corrosion  is  found  the  dispenser  fuel  filter  is  being  blamed,  mainly  because  the filters are becoming fouled with what has been  termed  a  "metallic  coffee-ground-type  substance"  and need to be changed more frequently. However,  a September 2012 report from the Batelle Memorial  Institute,  commissioned  and  funded  by  the  Clean  20 APril 2013  Diesel  Fuel  Alliance  and  American  Petroleum  Institute,  shows that impurities in ULSD,  including the unexpected presence  of  trace  ethanol,  may  in  fact be causing the corrosion. This  means  that  the  dispenser fuel filter is performing  a  valuable  service  by  arresting  the  corrosive  particulates  before  they  can  reach  a  vehicle's fueling system. It was also  the  increasing  frequency  with  which  dispenser  filters  were  becoming  fouled  and  needing  to be changed that alerted fuelsite  operators  that  excessive  UST corrosion may be the root  cause  of  the  problem,  which  prompted further investigation. The  Batelle  report,  Corrosion  in  Systems  Storing  and  Dispensing  Ultra  Low  Sulfur  Diesel  (ULSD),  Hypothesis  Investigation,  highlights  the  results  of  tests  conducted  on  a  total  of  six  USTs  in  three  separate  regions  of  the  country—three  in California, two in New York and one in North  Carolina.  Fuel,  water  bottoms,  vapors,  bottom  sediments and scrape samples were taken from all  six  tanks  and  were  analyzed  for  genetic  material  and  chemical  characteristics.  Analysis  of  the  data  allowed  Batelle  to  draw  conclusions  with  respect  to three working hypotheses: • Aerobic and anaerobic microbes are producing  by-products that are establishing a corrosive  environment in ULSD systems • Aggressive chemical specie(s) (e.g., acetic  John Gaither, PE, is the Director of Engineering for PetroClear®, part of FRAM Filtration, which is a quality and technology leader and one of the world's largest manufacturers of filters, filtration products and related services to the automotive, retail, onhighway and off-highway fleet, heavy-duty and fuel-dispensing industries. PetroClear® is a leading global brand of fuel-dispenser filters from FRAM Filtration. To contact John Gaither, please email him at John. For more information on PetroClear® products, please visit www. NPN Magazine  n

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