Purifier problem in a new compliant fuel

Does anyone here encounter problems with low sulfur fuel? Our purifier is always alarming and when we open it up there’s a larger amount of dirt and slugde. In a very short time after cleaning the problem is still exist. Can you suggest a solution for this problem? Thank you make and have a safe voyage

We had a slug of fuel like this once, bunkered God knows where but it was light brown and formed sludge like clay, we had to rod out the shoot ports down into the tank every day until we were through it, it was clogging up the unit itself because it was basically unable to make it the last mile into the sludge tank. Made it through the bowl just fine as long as it had somewhere to go.

Check your purification temps too there was a lot of this in the early days of the ECAs when guys were treating ULSFO like MDO out of unfamiliarity

Even low sulfur & ultra low sulfur fuel can have algae in it. Maybe you need algae treatment? Also, how clean/dirty are your tanks. No matter how clean the fuel oil the purifier is going to catch hell if the tanks are in bad shape.

It sounds like your purifier is doing its job. Sounds like a dirty fuel problem to me. You’ll probably need to work through the bad batch that you have unless you can switch to cleaner tanks & find a way to get rid of the dirty fuel. From my experience, the man hours required to clean the purifier is cheaper than filters & injectors.

@Sand_Pebble beat me to the punch. I’ve been running ultra low sulfur for years and haven’t noticed a difference in purifier operation. But a bad batch is a bad batch. And once you start getting micro-bio growth it can cause hell on filters and purifiers until you can open and clean out the tanks if its gotten that bad. I’ve seen some tanks bad enough you almost need a shovel.

You might consider pulling a few samples from within the tanks and before the purifier and checking for bacteria or growth.

@whizbang what is your experience with an optimal temp, out of curiosity?

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The ULSFO that burns in the 90s C seems to purify well at 80C. The problem with all of this is that first the ECA fuels and now the 2020 fuels it’s so hard to get a consistent product for long enough to send in fuel system samples and really see what you’re accomplishing!

You will probably have to clean your tanks from contamination with the various grades of MDO, MGO being lighter will clean the crap from the tank surfaces.

sounds like crude from fracked oil

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There has been a real issue with bad bunkers the past few years. I have been involved in a few claims because of it. They can be a real mess. . . .

You need to specify whether it is ULS MGO or ULS HF…

That stuff is crap.

Hopefully OP solved this by now, but in case they’re still browsing… Is it plugging up everything or is it just the purifiers. Does the problem exist with every purifier or is it just the one?

That ULSFO is bad when it gets cold. I would make sure all your temp controllers are working before tearing into a purifier.

Thread is well past now, but Ill throw in for any curious lurkers.

February of this year we took on some VLSFO in Antwerp and began burning it during our crossing back to the states. Our tanks had been cleaned prior to the fuel switch for 2020 and in preparation for this new fuel but nonetheless our purifier would constantly shutdown from heavy sludge build-up. We were at one point tearing apart, cleaning, and re-assembling the purifier 5-6 times a day just to keep up with consumption. We got so good at it we began referring to ourselves as a nascar pit crew. No matter the temperature and experimentation it would still plug up. We were chiseling a waxy solid brick like material out of the purifier during cleaning, and when it came time to get inside the service and settling tanks we were met with a 6inch solid carpet of this waxy shit to mine and scrape out.

When we would have to switch over to MDO we would inevitably plug our filters with this wax and have to race to change them out as well. All in all it was kind of shit show. We dealt with this for a few crossings until we got a different batch in Charleston and that new batch gave us no issues at all. Even more recently we got another batch in Jebel-Ali and that too has been fine.

Though at the beginning of all this we were blaming the new fuel type - in the end it was just a bad batch.