Fuel testing

The presence of contaminants, and the growth of microbes within fuels can lead to a number of issues including fuel tank corrosion, fuel spoilage, clogging of filters and under-performance of vehicles and machinery. At NCIMB we offer a fuel testing service that helps our customers identify issues and take timely remedial action.

Fuels tested

We test diesel and marine gas oil (MGO) at our analytical laboratories in Aberdeen.

Microbial contamination of fuels

Bacteria, yeasts and moulds can all be the source of contamination issues in diesel fuel and MGO. These microorganisms can proliferate, using the fuel as a food source, when water is present.

Microbial growth generally occurs at the fuel/water interface, or on the walls of tanks, and this growth can sometimes develop over quite a long period before any issues become noticeable. For example, problems may arise due to detachment of fungal biomass from the walls of tanks, and the buildup of the byproducts of microbial growth, as well as fuel degradation over time.

Sulphate reducing bacteria can be particularly troublesome in marine fuel tanks, and these microbes are often associated with corrosion.

Regular testing can help to identify potential problems before they make a serious impact. For example, determination of water content highlights the potential for microbial growth.

Testing undertaken

We can determine water content of fuels and assess the extent of bacterial and fungal growth in fuel samples. Our analytical chemists and microbiologists undertake the following analyses:

  • Determination of water content by Karl Fischer titration.
  • Particulate testing.
  • Total viable aerobic microbial counts.
  • Testing for the presence of,  and enumeration of, sulphate reducing bacteria. This can be undertaken by qPCR or the most probable number method.
  • Fungal fragments analysis: the appearance of fragments can provide additional information such as whether any fragments present are from an old, dying mycelium, or an actively growing one.

Customer-focused service

Our customers tell us they value our high levels of customer service.

NCIMB works to internationally recognised standards and offers expert advice on the most appropriate analytical techniques. We can tailor packages of testing to your needs. Please contact us to discuss any specific or additional requirements.

Easy sample submission

We can supply bottles for easy shipping of fuel samples to our analytical laboratory in Aberdeen. Please contact us for more information.