When you’re storing fuel on your worksite, you’re confronted by two fuel storage options for the material your fuel tank must be made from: Steel or plastic. The different materials offer their own advantages and challenges, and as such your decision will be influenced by the material which suits the demands of your operation.
Steel fuel tanks are made from multiple-layered walled designs.
BENEFITS OF STEEL FUEL STORAGE TANKS
- Steel is a highly durable material which ensures a long lifespan. This also makes steel fuel storage tanks ideal for above ground storage installation units as they can take more punishment from the elements and minor accidents on the worksite. This also makes fuel theft more difficult.
- The material is non-porous, which means the tank will not absorb fuel or other chemical contents and leaves your fuel free of any contaminants that can affect its integrity and function.
- Steel fuel tanks can be custom designed and made in a variety of complex designs to suit your location or wants.
- Due to the nature of the material being highly sturdy, steel tanks can have larger capacities than plastic tanks. This may be advantageous in terms of bulk purchases of fuel at lower costs
DISADVANTAGES OF STEEL FUEL STORAGE TANKS
- Steel is heavier than plastic, making it more challenging and expensive to transport and install.
- There is a high risk of creating sparks near fuel during theft, especially in the chance the thieves use drilling tools to attempt to siphon the fuel from the tank.
- The tanks are welded at production, creating seams around the tank. These seams are susceptible to cracking if not properly maintained. This may cause leakages which in turn can adversely affect the environment.
- Steel, over a period of time, may corrode. In this case, it needs specially trained personnel to maintain it.
Plastic fuel tanks are generally made from non-hygroscopic high density polyethylene material.
BENEFITS OF PLASTIC FUEL STORAGE TANKS
- Due to their lightweight nature, plastic fuel tanks are easier and cheaper to transport and install.
- Plastic tanks are generally safer because they tend to be seamless and not prone to failures which are found in steel tanks due to the seams.
- Plastic is less durable than steel. This pliable nature may result in shape deformity under certain stress or weather elements.
- Plastic is not susceptible to corrosion which greatly reduces the risk of contamination by the fuel tank.
DISADVANTAGES OF PLASTIC FUEL STORAGE TANKS
- The size of plastic storage tanks has a 6500 litre capacity limit. Anything above this limit may be deemed unsuitable as the integrity of the tank is compromised.
- Extended periods of exposure to direct sunlight may weaken plastic tanks, reducing their suitability for above ground storage operation.
- Plastic storage tanks are more prone to content theft as the material is “softer” than steel, making it easier to drill into and siphon fuel from.
Ultimately, the strength of steel fuel storage tanks have a variety of benefits to companies of various operation sizes. Businesses that need large storage installation would do well to make use of steel storage tanks.
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