Storage Tank Corrosion And Prevention

The introduction of modern fuel refining techniques and other changes in diesel fuel have reduced the fuel’s shelf life. As a result, issues like fuel contamination and tank corrosion have increased. The demand for API tank inspection, tank cleaning, and fuel polishing has gone up, given the rise in the instances of oil tank corrosion and contamination.

For bulk storage of fuel, steel tanks are preferred as a robust storage tank as they are stronger than plastic tanks. Moreover, steel tanks are non-porous and do not absorb the fuel. However, steel tanks are susceptible to corrosion due to UV light, weather, and condensation. When the weather is warm, there are chances of water forming inside the tanks as a result of evaporation. This allows the water and bacteria to form and contaminate the fuel.

In this blog, we will look into some methods that can be deployed to prevent fuel tank corrosion and contamination.

According to the professionals from API inspection companies, some amount of fuel tank corrosion and contamination is unavoidable. However, some proactive measures can be implemented to maintain fuel quality.

  1. Use of double-skinned tanks to store fuel:

According to a report by the Environment Agency, over 180 fuel spills took place between 2002 and 2005. Out of these, 27% of fuel spills were caused by leaking tanks.

A double skinned tank offers two times of protection to the fuel from damage and temperature fluctuation. Double skin tanks work as leak detection and prevent the fuel from leaking. Since the outer layer of the tank creates a vacuum inside it, there is no risk of air or water entering and contaminating the fuel.

  1. Paint the tanks

Applying a layer of corrosion-resistant paint on the tanks is one of the easiest and effective corrosion-prevention methods. These paints can prevent the formation of rust by repelling water and moisture from the surface.

  1. Installation of secondary containment

Secondary containment or bund is a concrete enclosure made around the fuel tank. The bund is effective in preventing the oil spillage due to leakage in the tank. However, the bund should be large enough to hold 110% of its content. This ensures that in case of a leak or water formation, the structure can contain the fuel without spilling it.

  1. Installation of a valve and bung

Although bunds effectively contain leaked fuel preventing spillage, they are exposed to natural elements like rain. Rainwater can easily get collected inside the bund and cause the oil to seep out. Thus, putting robust measures to extract water is essential. Adding a valve to the bund is an excellent method to dewater it and prevent contaminated water from entering the tanks.

  1. Tank cleaning 

Tank cleaning is a method of draining the fuel from the tank and then cleaning and disinfecting it. The in-tank cleaning process, industrial vacuums are used to extract sludge, sediment build-up, and microbes from inside the tank. If the contaminated fuel is not severely degraded, it can be polished and filled back into the tank.