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Posted on: 15/06/2018

FAME in Gas Oil: What this means to Gas Oil users

FAME in Gas Oil:  What this means to Gas Oil users

Background and RTFO:

Twelve years ago, in 2006, the British Standard for non-road diesel (BS2869) was revised to allow the addition of FAME to both Gas Oil (Red Diesel) and Road Diesel (White Diesel). This was done to enable renewable fuels to be introduced into the UK under the Renewable Fuel Transport Obligation (RTFO). However this was rarely realised in UK Gas Oil supply chain, and to date most Gas Oil supplied by has been FAME free.

In January 2011 the EU Fuel Quality Directive was implemented in the UK which introduced changes to the composition of Gas Oil. Fuels intended for use in non-road mobile machinery (NRMM e.g. tractors) were required to have a sulphur content of 10ppm, and were known as ULSGO or Ultra Low Sulphur Gas Oil. Compliance was largely achieved through the “downgrading” of White (Road) Diesel and so the Gas Oil supplied did not need to contain FAME.

Changes to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) now mean that tougher new biofuel targets have come into force (effective 15th April 2018) which will compel all suppliers of fuel into the UK market to contain at least 12.4% biofuel by 2032. The scheme achieves this in stages, 7.25 % now, and 9.75 % from the 1st January 2019. With the new RTFO changes, none of our suppliers cannot now guarantee that their SFGO will be FAME free, so we must all take steps to minimise the disruption that the addition of FAME may cause.

What is FAME?

Biodiesel is a diesel replacement fuel, which in the UK is manufactured from mostly recycled cooking oils but may also be made of a variety of blends of renewable and recyclable material including tallow (animal) fats and plant oils. The biodiesel manufacturing process converts these oils and fats into long chain molecules. These molecules are also referred to as Fatty Acid Methyl Esters and are more commonly referred to as “FAME”. FAME has been blended into UK road fuel since 2004 in levels up to 7%, but was not blended into non-road fuel due to cost.

FAME is a powerful solvent, with good detergency properties – it is effectively a paint stripper! Unlike diesel, FAME is “hydroscopic” which means it attracts and holds onto water.

Red diesel to tank

Learn from CPS Fuels:

When FAME was introduced into Road Diesel the automotive sector and oil industry learnt very quickly how it impacted on the supply chain that distributed it and the vehicles running it. Much of this considerable experience will now have relevance to Gas Oil users.

The main issues to be aware of are:

  • Material incompatibility (many common rubbers, plastics and surface coatings will degrade from contact with fuels containing FAME) 
  • Residual deposits causing clogged filters
  • Water uptake - with enhanced potential for mould, bacteria and algae growth
  • Fuel stability (may degrade over time by oxidation and hydrolysis)
  • Cold flow waxing and precipitation problems   

These issues can affect storage tanks and pumps both on and off the machines using the fuel.

For further advice on being prepared for FAME please contact the CPS Fuels Commercial team who will be pleased to help. Click here for an information sheet explaining more.

To order Gas Oil and farm fuels in Bulk or Barrels click or call CPS Fuels now.

We’re local, we’re best, we’re CPS.

CPS Fuels, as a JET authorised distributor, supply marked EN590 grade diesel as Gas Oil so you have the highest quality Gas Oil available irrespective of use. CPS Fuels Gas Oil meets the same BS EN590 specifications as white road diesel and is therefore suitable for use in all farm machinery without the need for fuel treatments or additives. The fuel properties of Gas Oil are adjusted seasonally to maintain good low temperature performance and operability. 

For our CPS Gas Oil information sheet click here

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