Marine Fuel Changes for Boats In January 2011 a brand new grade of diesel was introduced across the UK for use by marine vessels such as canal boats. This fuel is known as ULSD and was designed to replace FAME free red diesel. However, ULSD has substantially less sulphur contents than the traditional Red Diesel fuel at only 10 parts per million. This can mean bad new for many older boat vessels that rely on the sulphur in red diesel to provide lubrication and prevent bugs in the fuel.
You will need to make sure you check with your boat engine manufacturer to find out if your engine requires additional lubrication from it’s fuel. Newer engines are designed to operate without additional sulphur in the fuel however older vessels will require an additive to be used in the fuel to replace the sulphur content. You may already know whether or not your boat engine requires sulphur but if you are unsure always check with your manufacturer beforehand as using the wrong type of fuel in your tank can cause devastating problems.
Can I still Use FAME free Red Diesel?
Unfortunately the supply of FAME free red diesel is now limited with many suppliers switching to ULSD instead. However Birmingham Fuel Oils do still offer FAME free red diesel supplies for those that cannot use ULSD in their tanks. For areas where FAME free red diesel is no longer available, older marine vessels will need to purchase an additive for the ULSD to act as a sulphur replacement. Remember that ULSD does not come with a replacement for the sulphur as standard.
It is also important to note that this new ULSD fuel may not be entirely FAME free. FAME, which stands for Fatty Acid Methyl Ester, is a type of bio-fuel that can be obtained from renewable sources. The addition of FAME into ULSD is intended reduce fuel consumption and alleviate demand on natural oil supplies. This contamination can actually be harmful for some marine engines so you are sure your engine can handle FAME before you use ULSD. That means that even with an additive some vessels will simply be unable to use ULSD at all. In these cases it is vital you find a local FAME free red diesel supplier for your vessel or you will risk irreparable damage to your tank and engine.
It is proving to be quite a challenge to find and obtain FAME free red diesel in some areas however Birmingham Fuel Oils can provide FAME free red diesel for those who are unable to use the new ULSD fuel. The cruising association has become increasingly concerned with the problem surrounding ULSD for marine vessels putting forth a request to ban FAME in ULSD to prevent engine failure at sea for those caught unaware. It is thought that at least clear notification for this fuel is required to educate customers before a purchase about the risks involved with using non FAME free fuel. This education on marine fuels could be life saving for those who would otherwise be unaware that using ULSD could harm their engine.