How to fight Fuel Tank Corrosion?​

In the ever-growing environmental awareness landscape, corrosion control for fuel storage tank systems has shifted its emphasis to environmental protection. It’s wise for businesses to include some corrosion control methods to extend the life of the tank in an attempt to protect the investment of building large fuel storage tanks. As such, corrosion control is now a major part of the requirements for underground and above-ground fuel storage tank systems.


WHAT IS CORROSION

Corrosion is a chemical reaction, which causes the degradation of metal with components of its environment. This includes “rusting steel,” but also metals and plastics that are incompatible with certain chemical compounds.

 

TYPES OF CORROSION

 
Galvanic

Galvanic corrosion occurs when two different metals are combined during installation and can cause degradation. This can cause damage to the weaker metal as ions are transferred from one metal to another. 


Stress-corrosion cracking

Stress-corrosion is usually a result of high pressure or fluctuating temperatures which results in the formation of tiny cracks which can go unnoticed on the metal. It then slowly begins to corrode causing severe structural damage which, if not attended to, will move beyond the point of being repairable. 


Microbial

This is commonly referred to as microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC). It’s caused by microorganisms when oxygen is absent, sulfate-reducing bacteria produce hydrogen sulfide which causes sulfide stress cracking.  When oxygen is present, the bacteria may directly oxidize iron and form iron oxides and hydroxides.  Concentration cells can form in the deposits of corrosion products, leading to localized corrosion.


Uniform Corrosion

Occurs when metal is exposed to water and the surface gets oxidized and forms a uniform layer of rust. This rust eats up the metal until the complete failure happens. uniform corrosion is rather easily measured and reduces disastrous failure of the tank or pipes, making total failure relatively rare.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUEL TANK (DIESEL TANKS) OWNERS

The following are tips on how you can Prevent Corrosion from affecting your Fuel Storage Tank and pipes

 

Area of Installation & Placement

When installing, it is important that the placement of the tank be in an area where it is sheltered from the elements and has minimal contact with other surfaces that may compromise its integrity. Also, keep the tank away from areas where it can be in constant exposure to caustic agents as these cause great damage to steel tanks.

For above-ground fuel tanks, placing your fuel storage tank on a concrete slab would be ideal as this will prevent contaminants such as dirt, biological material, and other harmful substances from making their home around the base of your tank.

 

Visual Inspections

Most tanks may show no major evidence of corrosion damage. The absence of discernible symptoms does not indicate a healthy tank. This makes visually inspecting your tanks at certain intervals very important. By checking filters, there may be sludge residue or particles, and this is an indication that there’s corrosive damage in the storage tank.

 

Filtering for Water and Contaminants

Underground and above-ground tanks must receive the best available fuel free of any particulates that may affect fuel quality and tank integrity. As such, it’s important to filter fuel for water and any undesirable debris or contaminants before it’s transferred into the tanks.

Filtering the fuel will ensure that any negative agents which can lead to fuel instability and tank corrosion are removed. No matter the reliability of suppliers, fuel tank owners must work under strict protocols to ensure their fuel is in its peak condition when they receive it, relying on the word of the supplier is never enough.

 

Partner with PetroEng to evaluate corrosion problems.

If you own a fuel storage tank, contact a company that can best service your equipment and evaluate the extent of corrosion in your system.

This is highly recommended as very few tank owners and operators may have the technical knowledge or resources to fully evaluate and address any corrosion problems. If wrongly attended to, they may further damage their tanks.

PetroEng has highly skilled experts in this field, and solving corrosion issues in your fuel storage tanks is a specialty.

If you suspect have a corrosion problem in your tank or pipework, contact PetroEng today.