Diesel bug: a European speciality?

Anchorite

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Just been hit with both tanks contaminated. My brother lives/sails in Connecticut asks - diesel bug, wtf is that? Is this a weapon devised by the eco-warriors to limit CO2 emissions - or is he out of touch with similar problems with septic tanks...?
Just asking
 

prv

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I'm sure I've read American articles discussing the same phenomenon. They probably just have a different name for it, like calling osmosis "pox" or "blistering".

Pete
 

Fendant

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Well, for once the Yankees are right. The diesel bug is in fact a European speciality. It originates from Germany where the left green government in the 1990 had the desastreous idea to pass a law requiring taxed diesel fuel to have a "bio" content. Chemically this is called FAME , fatty methylester. For mere mortals this is rape seed oil. The hidden bomb with this stupid law remained undetected for quite some time, it is the sharply shortened shelf life life for this diesel "Quality" which is maximum 3 months, which does not matter in car or truck operations. FAME has a tendency to produce heavy microbe growth in the boundary layer between the "real" diesel and water. This is the diesel bug or the diesel pest, as these microbes have the tendency to clog the filters in the fuel system unpredictably.
As a result of this stupid bio fuel decision several emergency power generators in hospitals in Germany failed catastropically causing multi million Euro damages. The German government panicked and allowed within weeks the use of untaxed heating fuel in stationary generators. Commercial maritime operations were not affected, as they were also allowed to use untaxed diesel, which does not contain the darned FAME. However in the boating community the diesel bug became famous, there are numerous reports, where the engines stopped suddenly in wrong moments. This requires a complete cleaning operation of tank and fuel systems and some diesel mechanic shops invested and continue to make good money out of it.

There are 3 legal solutions to mitigate the danger from the crappy "bio" fuel:
a) you only fill up with pure synthetic fuel ( Aral Ultimate or Shell V-Power )
b) You add a additive to prevent microbe growth ( Grotamar or similar products from the yacht chandlers )
c) You only fill your tank in countries not having have the legal equirement for biologically flawed diesel ( Keep the receipt ! )
 

vyv_cox

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prv

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Well, for once the Yankees are right. The diesel bug is in fact a European speciality. It originates from Germany where the left green government in the 1990 had the desastreous idea to pass a law requiring taxed diesel fuel to have a "bio" content.

The problem with that theory is that UK marine diesel doesn't contain FAME, and yet we still get diesel bug occasionally. FAME may well make it worse, but dino-diesel is far from immune.

Pete
 

sailorman

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vyv_cox

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They also have very large stocks of fuel. Reuters mentioned new low price of Crude

Around twelve years ago I was told of huge stocks of imported crude in underground caverns somewhere in USA. At the time there was no viable method of extracting it. Submersible pump technology has improved a lot since then but I guess that now it makes more sense to just leave it there.
 

Dougal

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Never experienced it in 9 years of motor/sailing in France! Changed our filters this year for the FIRST time in 7 years - no water and spotless! Lucky? Others here have had HUGE problems.
 

theoldsalt

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The "bug" isn't a new phenomenon nor restricted to Europe. Some 35 years ago I worked in the defence inductry and we imported some new American tracked vehicles from the US that had been in storage for some time.. All the fuel tanks had the "bug" so all the fuel systems needed to be cleaned. This was before FAME was being added to diesel.
 

Colvic Watson

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Around twelve years ago I was told of huge stocks of imported crude in underground caverns somewhere in USA. At the time there was no viable method of extracting it. Submersible pump technology has improved a lot since then but I guess that now it makes more sense to just leave it there.

It was put there during the Reagan administration. There was concern that a dominant Iran could turn off the OPEC tap, I think the idea was to put about six months supply in there.
 

Bru

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The problem with that theory is that UK marine diesel doesn't contain FAME, and yet we still get diesel bug occasionally. FAME may well make it worse, but dino-diesel is far from immune.

MDO (Marine Diesel Oil) doesn't contain FAME however most (?) marinas don't sell MDO*, they sell red diesel a.k.a. gas oil or agri-diesel etc. which, unless explicitly stated as being FAME free, almost certainly will contain FAME.

* I've only seen it on sale on the South Coast presumably because its readily obtainable ex-Fawley where it's produced.
 

macd

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It was put there during the Reagan administration. There was concern that a dominant Iran could turn off the OPEC tap, I think the idea was to put about six months supply in there.

A similar strategic plan was proposed for the UK, using Cheshire's old salt mines. Then someone pointed out that the UK was always likely to be self-sufficient in crudeness...
 

Freebee

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Diesel bugs have got little to with Fame they are a group of bacteria and other bugs that live in water and eat the carbon from hydrocarbon.some bugs have mutated from living on pine trees and things like creosotfencing.travelling by windblown spores they soon found their way into fuel tanks via tank breathers. Get rid of the water and the bugs die ..sadly they then choke filters.
 

Fendant

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Sorry to correct you:

Ethanol is only used in Petrol ( Yankee speak gasoline ) never ever in Diesel / Kerosine. Never heard about a petrol bug / petrol pest.
Diesel/Kerosine in Europe is using the rapeseed oil, which is causing the problem. The USA never got themselves into the "bio" problem for Diesel fuel.
 
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