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The primary goal of a fuel handling system is the delivery of clean and dry fuel to the customer. Microbial growth has been implicated in a number of problems such as tank corrosion, filter plugging, and deactivation of filter/coalescers. Therefore, the identification and elimination of microbial growth in fuel handling systems is very important. This paper discusses, through the use of two examples, the identification of microbial growth in samples from fuel handling systems. A simple flow chart system for isolating and characterizing the particular microbial contaminants, bacteria, fungus, and sulfate reducing bacteria, is presented. The characterization of sediments by solvent separation is also discussed. Finally, the current techniques for prevention of microbial growth in fuel handling systems are discussed. The results of a field test of a water-bottoms biocide treatment of a fuel storage tank are presented.
distillate fuels, aviation fuel, microbial growth, sediments, identification, characterization, prevention, biocide
Senior research engineer, Exxon Research and Engineering Company, Linden, NJ