Recently, a school district in Indiana had to start school late. Normally, that’s not news for Indiana in the wintertime. But the weather was not to blame this time. Officials with the Maconaquah School Corporation in Bunker Hill, IN say some of their buses would not start earlier this month because of a sludge that was clogging the fuel filters. In an article in the Kokoma (IN) Tribune, it was described as the color and consistency of caramel. The problem was traced back to a biodiesel fuel tank where a fungus had grown. That led some media to speculate that the biological products in biodiesel were more susceptible to fungal growth. But Hoon Ge, a contract expert for the National Biodiesel Board from the MEG Corp. in Wayzata, MN, says it’s not the bio part that caused the fungus.
“Microbial fungus problems will happen in ANY diesel fuel, especially with ultra-low sulfur diesel” Ge says. “Sulfur actually inhibits [the growth of microbial fungi].” Ge says it is usually the presence of water that really gets the “bugs” growing.
He says it is an easy problem to fix and prevent. “The first thing is good housekeeping: eliminate any water. If you still see fungal growth [treat it with a biocicde].”
A specialist in Indiana did just that and had the problem cleared up in no time.
Check out my entire interview with Hoon Ge: Interview with Hoon
Ge. (6 min MP3)