Ethanol is on the rise, and subsequently so is phase separation
Over 90% of U.S. gas stations are blending their gasoline with ethanol, and the number is only rising.
Industry standard water floats operate under a principle of density. They are tuned to detect water at the bottom of a tank. However, the density of phase separation is lower than water, and thus traditional water floats will not reliably detect phase separation. Veeder-Root’s innovative Phase-Two Separation Float System uses multiple densities to detect both water and phase separation, making sure you are always protected.
When does phase separation occur?
When water enters a tank filled with a gasoline / ethanol mixture, the ethanol absorbs it, causing the ethanol to separate from the gasoline and sink toward the bottom of the tank mixed with water. This mixture has a lighter density than pure water, causing it to go undetected with a traditional water float.
Why is phase separation a problem?
Phase separation sinks to the bottom of your tank and, if undetected, can be pumped straight into your customers' vehicles, causing stall-outs at your site and costly repairs that you become liable for.
The corrosive nature of phase separation can result in the need for expensive tank repairs and remediation. The costs of purging your system, replacing dispenser filters, and disposing of contaminated fuel can easily run more than $10,000.
Ethanol boosts octane levels, but when ethanol mixes with water to create phase separation, the remaining gasoline is depleted of ethanol, lowering its octane level and making it ineligible for legal sale.
Detect Phase Separation before it impacts your business
No customers or fuel lines have been affected. The phase separation may be resolved with a normal delivery of fuel. The site operator will need to pump out phase separation from the bottom of the tank and check octane levels of the remaining fuel.
Cost: Lost gallons of fuel, service, and lost business
If phase separation has clogged the dispenser fuel filters, the remaining fuel is ethanol depleted and may be out of spec. The site operator may need to purge lines and change filters or possibly pump out the entire tank of fuel. The tank will be down for a few hours. Cost: Lost gallons of fuel, service, and lost business.
Cost: Lost tank of fuel, service & repairs, and lost business.
Cars stalled out at the station, resulting in legal liabilities and a damaged reputation. The site operator will need to purge lines, change filters, and pump out the entire tank of fuel. They will also need to repair damaged vehicles and begin damage control for their brand.
Cost: Lost tank of fuel, service & repairs, lost business, and damage to your reputation.
Tanks and piping not rated for E100 (pure ethanol fuel) start leaking with prolonged phase separation exposure. Now the site operator will need to extract underground tanks and piping, as well as, clean up leaking gas. Cost: Lost tank of fuel, service & repairs, lost business, and damage to your reputation.
Cost: Potential shutdown, fines and Notice of Violations, lost tank of fuel, service & repairs, lost business, and damage to your reputation.
What can you do about it?
The only way to combat phase separation is with continuous monitoring and early detection. The Veeder-Root Phase-Two Separation Float Kit replaces the traditional gasoline float kit, offering both a water float and a phase separation float that send alarms straight to your automatic tank gauge when tank contamination is suspected.