Fuel storage – HVO and Diesel in Steel tanks

This week we take a look at steel tanks, and what their advantages might be over against plastic for fuel storage. Although they may cost a little more than plastic tanks, they are more rigid and durable, especially for challenging environments.

Tanks-UK’s steel tanks all comply with BS799 Part 5 regulation, and Oil Pollution Prevention Guidelines (England & Wales) (2002) PPG2 & PPG26, to give you assurance of regulatory compliance.

The paint coatings on steel tanks are designed to protect them from corrosion.  All our steel fuel storage tanks are vented, as required, to prevent pressure build up.

What are the main advantages of steel over against plastic?

  • Durability – the tanks that Tanks-UK supply have a 10 year warranty, and an expected 20 to 30 year service life, depending on location.
  • Resistance to damage – steel tanks are more resistant to puncture in the event of accidental impact damage.
  • Better security – they are harder to ‘break into’ than plastic tanks and have lockable lids.
  • Fire resistance – steel tanks will not melt in the event of a fire in the area, but for extra peace of mind Tanks-UK offer the Firecheck range of fire resistant steel bunded tanks, with options of tested to 30 minute or 60 minute protection. These can be used in areas close to buildings where you might otherwise need a fire-rated wall.
  • Bigger range of sizes – steel tanks can be manufactured to take much a larger capacity of liquid than the plastic fuel storage tanks.
  • Flexibility on size – because steel tanks are generally made to order, you aren’t constrained by the standard dimensions. If you need a tank to fit a particular base size or space, then it can be made to suit.
  • Colour of your choice – steel tanks can be coated to a colour of your choice. Not just green!

Steel tanks, do, however, require more in the way of regular inspection and maintenance than plastic tanks. Well-constructed steel tanks such as Tanks-UK supply should only require minimal maintenance in most environments.

What are the requirements for siting a steel tank?

Fuel tanks must normally be bunded, to prevent pollution in the (rare) event of leakage. However if you are replacing an existing tank into a concrete or brick bund then a single skin tank may be permissible. Otherwise look at the steel bunded tank range, which is effectively a ‘tank within a tank’.

Tanks need to be positioned where they are not likely to be accidentally damaged by vehicle impact, including forklift trucks. If using integrally bunded tanks, you may need to provide impact barriers in traffic routes, but in many cases they should only need a firm, level base such as a concrete pad.

The HSE’s guidance document HSG176 Storage of Flammable Liquids in Tanks is a useful read in relation to siting of tanks and what may need to be considered: https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg176.htm .

What about red diesel – can it still be stored and used?

Red diesel is still available but its use is much more limited. Obviously our tanks can be used for either normal ‘white’ diesel or red diesel but it is not recommended to re-use an empty diesel tank for ‘white’ diesel when it has previously contained red diesel without a complete clean through.

The use of red diesel now is limited to certain categories of vehicle, equipment and usage, which are:

  • Mowing machines (i.e. ride-on mowers) being used on agricultural or horticultural land, on a golf course or ‘community amateur sports club’ land.
  • Boats used for marine transport, but NOT private pleasure craft.
  • Fixed winches or other appliances on boats used for marine transport.
  • Agricultural-type machinery when used for agricultural, horticultural, forestry or arboricultural use – or even aquaculture (fish farms). This includes tractors, combine harvesters, quad bikes (only for the uses mentioned above) and similar. Please check with the relevant authorities if there is any doubt.
  • Tractors being used for hedge or verge cutting
  • Trains
  • Heating systems
  • Power generators

There is also a limit on how far an agricultural machine/vehicle can travel on a public road whilst using red diesel – i.e. between fields or farmyard to field.

For full details see the Government website page: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/using-rebated-fuels-in-vehicles-and-machines-excise-notice-75

Can I use a steel tank for HVO?

Steel tanks are equally suitable for use with HVO, but do check with us first, as some of the fittings or filters may need to be different with HVO fuel.

The good news for storage of HVO fuels is that they are biodegradable and therefore control of pollution is not so serious an issue – a slight spillage should cause no environmental damage.

Just give us a call on 01953 665940 or email info@tanks-uk.com with your requirements and we’ll send you a quote.