Managing Your Fuel Farms and Diesel Storage Tanks

December 17, 2021

How to gain better control over your fuel stores and improve your business’s bottom line

If fuel management plays a large part in the day-to-day activities of your business, it is likely that you already know how important it is to your bottom line to ensure that your business has complete control over its fuel and other high-value service liquids. As one of your business’s valuable capital assets, much of your budget is likely to be tied up in the acquisition of fuels and the installation and maintenance of the engineered hydrocarbon infrastructure required to store, dispense, and control your fuels efficiently and effectively.

Operational certainty comes from infrastructure and fluid transfer hardware that is fit for purpose when deployed, and then inspected, maintained, refurbished, or replaced at the appropriate point in time. Effective management of fuel farms and diesel fuel storage infrastructure ensures fuel availability for approved machines, so your business can continue to function efficiently, undertake critical business activities, and meet organisational targets and objectives.

Managing your diesel storage tanks and other fuel storage tanks to realise a greater return on investment

The efficient and effective management of fuel stored in individual diesel storage tanks or on-site fuel farms can save your business money and enable you to realise a greater return on investment.

Self-bunded fuel tanks offer a convenient fuel storage solution that provides integrated tank overfill prevention and spill protection or containment. Installing modular aboveground self-bunded fuel storage tanks can allow your business to avoid the expensive excavation and construction work required to construct bulk fuel storage units and build bunds around fuel tanks and larger scale fuel storage facilities, to protect the environment from tank leaks and groundwater contamination.

What is a Fuel Farm?

The term ‘fuel farm’ refers to a collection of multiple fuel storage tanks that constitute the basis of an engineered diesel fuel storage infrastructure solution. For many organisations, the installation of multiple fuel storage tanks – self-bunded or otherwise – is one of the best ways to guarantee the secure storage and ready availability of diesel fuel to power business operations. Some businesses may elect to construct permanent fuel storage tanks while others may choose to install pre-fabricated, modular diesel storage and dispensing units.

Many fuel farms have five to ten fuel storage tanks with a capacity of 100,000 litres (approximately 26,417 gallons) each, equating to a fuel storage capability of 500,000 to 1 million litres (132,086-264,172 gallons). This degree of fuel availability allows businesses with high levels of fuel consumption to manage overheads by reducing fuel haulage expenses. Locating fuel storage and dispensing infrastructure close to work sites, and ensuring fuel dispensing equipment is high-quality and fit for purpose – whether for high-flow or low-flow applications – reduces refuelling time, which equates to significant cost and productivity savings.

The use of an advanced fuel management system – with fully integrated refuelling hardware, storage, infrastructure, and sophisticated software – enables businesses to keep tighter control over fuel, in terms of security of access to fuel, contamination control, automated fluid transfer for safe refuelling, tank monitoring, and produce accurate and insightful reports.

Effective Fuel Farm and Diesel Storage Tank Management

Effective Fuel Farm and Diesel Storage Tank Management

An advanced liquid resource management system enables businesses to save time and money through the greater efficiencies provided by automated fluid transfer capabilities, real-time tank monitoring and reconciliation, and data management processes. However, effective management of diesel storage tanks and fuel farms requires more than just investing in FMS software, hardware, and other components. It requires careful planning, a commitment to maintaining fuel tanks, dispensing equipment, and supporting fuel transfer infrastructure, and ….

Effective diesel storage tank and fuel farm management requires careful consideration of several factors, including:

  • Planning based on the required outcomes
  • Visibility and control technology
  • Receiving fluids
  • Storing fluids
  • Dispensing fluids
  • O4R / Maintenance

Fuel Farm and Diesel Storage Tank Management

Planning based on the required outcomes

Before you even think about purchasing a bulk diesel storage tank or investing in the installation of a fuel farm, to control all your high value fluids, it is critical you know what you are seeking to resolve or achieve with the investment. Starting with an understanding of the outcomes you wish to achieve allows you to select the most suitable fluid infrastructure solutions, fuel management system hardware and software, cleanliness controls, and lifecycle processes to facilitate rapid ROI, minimised risk, and the best possible total cost of ownership.

Visibility and control technology

Well-managed and maintained fuel farms and diesel fuel storage infrastructure ensures fuel availability for approved machines. An advanced Fuel Management System should increase visibility of fuel movements and consumption, allow you to control access to fuel, simplify and automate processes. Your fuel management system, and enable you to, and seamlessly manage data collection and reporting.

Receiving fluids

An effective, complete fuel management system provides an assurance that your business is ordering the right amount of fuel at the right time to ensure continuity of business operations, that you are able to receive the amount of fuel you ordered, and that you only pay for the amount of fuel you receive. A good system will:

  • manage bulk air elimination during receiving.
  • accurately meter the inward flow of fuel, for real-time tank monitoring and overfill protection.
  • collect reliable data, to ensure end-to-end reconciliation from buy to burn.
  • remove, or filter out, contaminants prior to depositing bulk diesel into your bulk storage tanks and fuel carts, ensuring fluids meet your fleet OEM requirements, avoiding breakdowns and protecting your equipment warranties.

Storing fluids

An effective fuel management system, with an enterprise-class fuel inventory management and tracking software suite and best in class refuelling hardware, provides critical support for managing the storage of fuels and service fluids, including:

  • filtering air as it enters bulk storage tanks to avoid particulate contaminants and remove moisture, ensuring fuel cleanliness.
  • accurately gauging tank levels and communicating this data to the fuel management system in real time, avoiding minop / maxop breaches, and ensuring you have optimal levels of fuel available. Maintaining optimal fuel levels for your business ensures sufficient fuel is available to your fleet and machinery when it is needed without tying up excessive amounts of money in stored diesel. This also enables vendor-managed stock arrangements.
  • ensuring your diesel fuel tank farm dispenses diesel on a “first in, first out” basis. A fuel management system that can manage automated stock rotation is especially important for larger facilities and fuel farms, as it helps avoid issues with ageing diesel that has been stored and stagnant too long, leading to fuel wastage due to spoilage (for example, through algal blooms) and other quality issues.
  • tracking and allowing the removal of bulk water from fuel tanks.
  • incorporating safety systems like visible/audible tank level alarms and tank overfill protection

Dispensing fluids

An effective fuel management system provides critical support for the dispensing of fuels and service fluids, helping to ensure all your diesel is used by authorised people, vehicles, and machinery to the benefit of your business, including:

  • providing access security that identifies the user and the receiving vehicles or machine, prior to starting the pumps.
  • using quality infrastructure, hoses, and diesel refuelling components to improve fuelling process efficiency, user ergonomics and safety, provide greater spill prevention, and minimise the risk of damage to diesel tanks, engines and other vehicle parts and components.
  • accurately metering the amount of fluid used by each fuel-consuming asset, and the frequency with which it requires refuelling, allowing the identification of opportunities for site productivity improvements and fleet optimisations.

O4R / Maintenance

An effective fuel management system provides critical support for the maintenance of diesel fuel storage tanks, piping, hoses and refuelling or fluid transfer hardware. Use of enterprise-class fuel management system software and best in class refuelling hardware, coupled with regular and pre-emptive servicing and preventative maintenance of tanks and refuelling equipment helps to ensure optimal functioning of storage tank and fuel farm components (such as piping, pumps, hoses, fuel loading arms and fuel nozzles or bulk fluid transfer couplings), vehicles, and machinery, and to safeguard fuel quality and safety.

Adhering to recommended maintenance schedules helps to ensure fuel storage infrastructure and refuelling equipment are always safe and in good working order, and helps businesses avoid unforeseen outages and downtime and unplanned maintenance and repairs that can hamper productivity and severely impact (or cease) business operations. Maintenance activities required to manage diesel storage tanks and fuel farms successfully include:

  • regular inspections of deliver / store / dispense components, to pre-emptively spot filter condition issues, corrosion and/or water in tanks, degraded fuel hoses, and small leaks, and to identify other indicators that prompt action is required before an adverse and/or expensive issue arises
  • regular flow meter calibration, to ensure the accuracy of receiving and dispensing data (that is, volumes measured and reported by your flow meter) collected by your fuel management system software.
  • ensuring critical spare parts are available on-site to allow for immediate component changeout, to avoid unplanned (and potentially-lengthy) facility and machine downtimes. This might include spare refuelling hoses, breakaway valves, fuelling nozzles and receivers, filter replacement kits, and more
  • scheduled refurbishment and replacement of batteries, hoses, and fuelling fittings. Set requirements for maintenance and replacement of parts and accessories after a specified length of time should be established to ensure no facility downtime is experienced. An initial investment in high-quality, engineer-designed, hard-wearing refuelling hardware and associated diesel refuelling products that are completely maintainable, rather than being disposable, assists businesses to save money and realise a greater ROI over time. For example, market leader Banlaw produces Auto ID Dry Break refuelling hardware and standard Quick Fill diesel refuelling products that, with regular refurbishment, can last for decades, representing significant cost savings and an attractive value proposition.

Choose Banlaw for best-in-class diesel storage tank and fuel farm management products and services

Choose Banlaw for best-in-class diesel storage tank and fuel farm management products and services

Mature Fluid Asset Management practices provide a roadmap for effective fuel farm and diesel storage tank management. The approach Banlaw takes is to work closely with clients to determine which outcomes are most critical to the success of your business, and then use that information to select or recommend appropriate processes, hardware, and technologies to ensure those results are delivered in the most cost-effective way. Wrapped around this is all-of-life-cycle OEM support to ensure the longevity of your investment, guarantee the quality of data being captured, and deliver operational certainty.

Contact Banlaw today if you would value a site inspection to ensure your site is compliant, or a discussion regarding your fuel farm or bulk diesel storage tanks.

For more information on how Banlaw can help your business improve fuel storage, fluid transfer, and system maintenance capabilities, and make significant savings on fuel, infrastructure, and maintenance costs, contact Banlaw today. Click here for Australian and international contact details, or to find a local distributor. Alternatively, click here to complete our online contact form and a Banlaw representative will contact you shortly.

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