Vehicles with high tier engines are increasingly being used in the Australian coal mining industry. However, higher injector pressures used in these high tier rated engines are placing new demands on fuel cleanliness increasing the necessity of having clean and dry diesel fuel.
Haul trucks are, by far the largest consumer of diesel fuel in an open cut coal mining operation. Fuel consumption of these haul trucks is therefore considered by each mining operation as highly critical to overall profitability, requiring close monitoring.
This has led to investments by mining companies into diesel fuel filtration on bulk fuel. Instead of relying solely on the installed ‘on board diesel engine’ fuel filter, these companies have to also employ additional filtration processes before the fuel is dispensed into the diesel tank of the haul truck.
Additional filtration on bulk diesel installs takes place in the form of either particulate filtration or coalescing filtration. Coalescing filtration involves the removal of free water from diesel fuel. These bulk diesel fuel filtration solutions are intended to provide the client with clean dry diesel for dispensing into the vehicle.
Key problems arising out of this method include:
Water absorbing elements are often used to absorb water in diesel fuel in place of coalescing filters; this method may not be effective as they have limited capabilities in absorbing water in one pass filtration systems.
Incorrectly sized filter systems for particulates are often observed on mine sites, overriding the long term outlook on getting larger systems installed.
Filtering is too often installed only on the offloading side or dispensing side of the bulk fuel install. Filtration should, and has to be installed on both the offloading side and dispensing sides of bulk storage tanks.
The measurement of cleanliness of the diesel fuel is still done with traditional bottle sampling techniques. Online particle counters that offer greater accuracy in measuring cleanliness of diesel fuel and also deliver results immediately should be used.
Incorrectly sized desiccant breathers used on bulk diesel storage tanks are often found inadequate for the application.
Filtration of bulk diesel fuel and monitoring of cleanliness need not cost a fortune. There are great benefits for the end user if done correctly and with the right technical expertise.
Hydac has the local expertise to help mining companies achieve optimum fuel cleanliness in addition to providing specific products for filtration, dewatering and fuel condition monitoring for every step of the process, from production to consumption.