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How to "Spec" Premium Diesel Fuel Additives - PART 4

4/4/2012
PART 4 ? WINTERIZATION

Introduction

              The best time and place to sell a diesel fuel designated as a ?Premium Diesel Fuel? is on the coldest day of winter in the climates farthest from the equator.  As the ambient air temperature around the world drops, all distillate (diesel) fuels undergo substantial physical changes.  These changes are based on (1) the chemical make up as determined by the crude source, (2) the refinery processes used to distill the diesel product, (3) the general condition of the fuel product as it relates to age of the fuel and its cleanliness, and (4) the chemical additives which may or may not have been added to the fuel product to enhance and protect its value.  The most readily noticed change in distillate fuels during the wintertime is a direct result of the paraffin type and content present in the diesel fuel.

             Wintertime also brings with it the time for some very important choices to be made by the diesel fuel producer, supplier, and user.  Each of them must decide if ?enhancement? of the base diesel fuel product (1) is needed, and if so, to what degree it should be done at their particular point in the petroleum distribution network, (2) can be cost justified based on the additional benefits provided so that those extra costs can be passed on to the next marketing sector, and (3) can it be easily accomplished and easily acquired within the current market system at a reasonable cost.

             These are only a sampling of the many considerations to be evaluated when making a ?Premium Grade Diesel Fuel? that will solve (eliminate) the wintertime operating problems associated with distillate fuel.  But, if each of these alterations is made and if the ultimate purchaser of the fuel is willing to pay extra for the elimination of wintertime operating problems, then the fuel producer, marketer, and supplier will all share in the benefits of these decisions.

             The author of this report strongly believes that diesel fuels (and fuel oils) labeled as ?Premium Grade? should in fact be ?Premium? in every respect including winterization -- not just the 2 of 5 parameters adopted by NCWM (a).  Accordingly, all distillate fuels classified as ?Premium? should have performance parameters that are substantially above average.  Generally, this results in products with manufacturing specifications that are noticeably well above typical.

 This article is a continuation of a series on The Making Of Premium Diesel Fuel and will attempt to answer various questions regarding the proper winterization of distillate fuels.  The specific areas of discussion include (1) a review of the different testing methods currently used in the marketplace to define ?winterization? and (2) the particular value of these analytical procedures for the fuel users and the petroleum industry. 

 (a) The NWCM - National Conference on Weights and Measures has adopted a ?2 of 5 Rule? for defining Premium Diesel Fuel.  See author?s original article ?The Making Of Premium Diesel Fuel?.

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