How to store fuel safely for a generator
- 30 January 2020
Do you own a generator for your business? Renting one to power a large-scale event? Or are you looking to invest in a small diesel fuel generator for emergencies at home? The nature of owning a generator is that you can’t predict when disruptive power outages are due to strike. It could happen the next day or next year. So, what happens to all that fuel needed to power your generator? How do you maximise its shelf life? How old is “too old”? And how do you store it in safely on the property or site?
Safe fuel storage and keeping it fresh
Fuel spoils quickly in Australia thanks to our extreme weather conditions. It can easily evaporate, oxidate and become contaminated in poor storage conditions.
For smaller generators, store your fuel in clean containers with airtight caps. Australian-certified steel and plastic containers are ideal however steel can rust over time which may be something to consider. To minimise the exposure to air, keep the fuel close to full but allow enough space for the petrol to expand and contract with changes in temperature. Keep the fuel isolated from other fuels and do not store it in the house. It prefers cool, dark and ventilated areas such as the garage or an out building.
If you plan to store the fuel longer than 30 days, but less than six months, consider adding a fuel stabiliser to the jerry can before using in the generator. In cooler climates the fuel can last up to 12 months with the help of a fuel stabiliser. Ultimately it comes down to common sense and whether the conditions have been ideal for the fuel. If in doubt, don’t use it. Another option is to rotate your fuel by filling up your car with the remaining fuel in the container and refreshing the supply next time you’re at the pump.
For larger generators that provide backup power for large buildings or if you’re hiring out a generator for an event, it’s likely you’ll need generated power for an extended period of time. Most standard generators run for up to eight hours and you can extend the run time of your generator by hiring or purchasing a bulk fuel tank, preferably double skinned and self-bunded.
Determining fuel tank capacity
When you are choosing a fuel tank, calculate the minimum storage capacity by estimating the following parameters.
- Emergency stock: How much fuel would you require to allow for delays in supplies or excessive consumption needs?
- Lead-time for supply: What is the lead time required to purchase bulk fuel from the supplier to the generator site
- Lead time stock – How much fuel would you require to operate your generator during the lead time?
What to do with old fuel
There’s no simple way of getting rid of oil fuel. Some people use their older fuel in their lawnmower or machinery if it’s “not too old”. But if it’s too far gone it’s best to get in contact with your local council to see where you can responsibly dispose of it.
Bulk Fuel Australia supply generator diesel fuel for energy suppliers, government agencies, private businesses and homes, should the need arise for on-site emergency or temporary power generation.