How to Manage the Fuel in Your Generator Engine


The phrase “one point in time saves nine” means solving a problem immediately to prevent more serious problems from arising later. Monitoring diesel fuel in a generator set or any power solution is a prime example – if contaminants, like bacteria in the engine, are not detected, it can seriously degrade engine performance down the road. Therefore, it pays to be proactive in fuel management. Here, Robert Hopton, depot manager at Energyst UK and Ireland, explains how generator set operators can monitor their diesel fuel and describes steps they can take to improve its quality.

Most construction, industrial and other sites will generally have a safety plan that protects employees, which will often include a risk assessment, an emergency evacuation plan, and any other site safety considerations. When sites depend on temporary power or the contingency plan depends on the use of back-up generators, it is essential to ensure that the quality and supply of fuel is maintained. While some businesses may choose to purchase their own generator set, when the need for electricity is temporary and short-term, it may be more beneficial to rent.

When renting a generator set or any power solution, several factors of care and maintenance must be taken into account. The condition of the fuel is one of the most important considerations. Concretely, it is important to know that there is sufficient fuel on site and that it is of high quality and standard. Having the necessary controls in place can give businesses confidence that their machines will perform as intended, meaning the site will continue to operate if there is a problem with the national grid.

The power of telemetry

The most effective way to monitor fuel is to track its performance and quality in real time. There have been significant developments in the use of telemetry systems and machine telematics to detect fuel pressure imbalances and monitor diesel performance at regular intervals. These systems can also be installed on the generator fuel tank, which means operators can receive live power while the machine is running.

Using the power of machine telematics, operators can track load, fuel consumption per minute, and various other performance-related characteristics. As this software and technology has evolved, operators can now receive this information in the form of email alerts and even on their smartphone as an SMS.

Shock and polish

Operators can maintain the quality of their fuel by cleaning it and removing harmful sediment in the generator fuel tank. Unless these contaminants are removed, they will negatively impact the standby power system as they can clog filters, which will starve the engine of fuel. Over time, bacteria and fungi can also damage fuel injectors, further impairing the generator’s ability to operate at optimum levels.

One solution is the shock treatment, where fungicidal additives are applied to the fuel all at once – for one customer we added three liters of a product once and bacterial growth was reduced by 82% in a short period of time. . This approach is beneficial when there is a need for continuous power, as the machine does not need to be out of service to be processed.

If short downtimes are possible, fuel polishing may be a more thorough alternative. This process involves removing the diesel or fuel from the storage tank, filtering it, and removing any redundant fuel before reintroducing the clean fuel remaining in the tank. For stationary generator sets and power generation equipment, we recommend polishing the fuel every three months to prevent the build-up of bacteria and other contaminants.

Regular monitoring and handling of fuel is just the “point in time” that businesses and operators need to prevent their generators from failing in the future. In addition to having a wide range of Cat® generator sets available for rental, Energyst can help customers manage their fuel to ensure these machines perform as intended.

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