Ensuring reliable back-up power supply this winter

With energy prices increasing and electricity becoming scarce, ensuring continuity of power is of critical importance to UK businesses this winter.

To reduce downtime, a focus on testing and fuel storage integrity is critical to ensure your back-up generators can keep you operational in the event of an outage.

Microbial contamination of new formulation biofuels occurs when water finds its way into a tank as a result of condensation, rainwater penetration or from the air. And, every time you put a new load of fuel through a tank, you are adding another contaminant.

This kind of contamination not only accelerates tank corrosion, it can block lines and filters and significantly reduce the performance of the fuel itself.

In the event of a power cut, many operations have the facility to switch over to oil. A full tank of diesel fuel can maintain power for about eight hours. But if that fuel has been left unchecked in the tank, when it is put it into use, it might not deliver the power your operation so critically needs.

Once microbial contamination starts it can grow very quickly. From one year to the next you can have a clean bill of health to heavily contaminated fuel.

Testing has therefore evolved from a best practice discipline to a critical part of the tank maintenance process.

If testing identifies that microbial contamination has occurred, experts can uplift the fuel, remove the residue from the tank and polish the fuel before returning it so that the generator will provide power when required.

With winter approaching you should also consider the status of other critical assets. Routine winter maintenance should include:

  • Check your separators for blockages which could cause flooding and a pollution risk
  • Protect tanks and pipes against corrosion and physical damage caused by freezing temperatures
  • Ensure all drainage on your sites is running clear and free
  • Check the integrity of your bunds for cracks in the lining which can cause hazardous materials to escape

We always advocate a preventative spend over a reactive one, and with the potential increased demand on energy capacity this winter, the best way to reduce the risk of downtime is preventative maintenance.