Converting your vehicle or commercial fleet to biodiesel or another alternative fuel often requires that you purchase fuel tanks for storage. In addition, truck mounted fuel tanks are becoming more popular as extra storage for those who make their own fuels.
Before you purchase industrial fuel tanks for your business site or backyard, there are some things you should research:
1. Research environmental regulations, city and county ordinances. They will dictate tank placement, size, and any visual screens or safety precautions that you'll need, depending on the fuel you're storing.
2. Calculate your actual storage needs. A fleet of 10 tractor-trailer rigs with 90-gallon fuel tanks will require much larger, industrial fuel tanks than a fleet of five tow trucks.
3. Review your company's budget. It may mean the difference between custom collapsible fuel tanks and a good quality, used fuel storage tank.
Consider your fuel's storage requirementsBiodiesel and ethanol can't be stored in or dispensed from typical diesel fuel tanks without some modifications, according to experts at Fitzsimmons Systems. Aluminum nozzles, pumps, meters, drop tubes, and overfill valves should be nickel plated. The fill adaptor should be stainless steel, since nickel would wear excessively. Certain types of rubber seals and gaskets need replacing to handle alternative fuels. If your E85 fuel blend contains more than 15% alcohol, ask your local fire marshal for approval when you find a dispensing tank. The fuel's corrosive nature can compromise dispensing systems.
Calculate desired storage capacity and logistics before you buy fuel tanksTruck mounted storage tanks may serve your fleet well enough if you have onsite fuel production and just a few vehicles. Consider buying either collapsible fuel tanks or arranging for fuel transfer tanks rental when you need them.
Buy fuel storage tanks and dispensing systems within budgetTruck mounted fuel tanks and fuel transfer tanks are a thrifty storage solution, but not always practical. If you need a more permanent solution, custom alternative fuel storage systems will cost from $3,000 to $25,000, depending on the tank capacity. Used tanks may work for you if they've held the same type fuel previously.
- Biodiesel has a solvent effect and should not be stored in tanks previously used for long-term diesel storage, due to its tendency to release particulate matter into the fuel. When you buy used fuel tanks, ask what fuel -- and what formula of that fuel -- they've stored before.
- If you'll be storing biodiesel on your site in a large tank, factor a monthly biocide treatment into your budget, about $30 per 1,000 gallons. Large industrial gas tanks hold moist air and promote bacterial growth in biodiesel.