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Fuels Institute Launches Fuel Quality Council, Invites AEMP Members to Participate in Data Study

Wednesday, January 31, 2018   (0 Comments)
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As new high pressure common rail diesel engines have increased their share of the U.S. market, there has been an increase in reports of engine breakdowns and failures presumably related to diesel fuel quality. While some assert a causal versus a coincidental relationship between the two, there has yet to exist a conclusive answer to why diesel fuel injectors, filters, and other engine parts are breaking down with seemingly greater frequency. The Fuel Institute has formed the Fuel Quality Council (FQC), a non-biased, cross-industry collaborative initiative aimed at better understanding the issue and evaluating potential solutions.

“The Fuels Institute is designed to facilitate cross-industry collaboration to better understand what is happening in the fuels and vehicles market,” explained Fuels Institute Executive Director John Eichberger. “The concerns relating to engine performance and diesel fuel quality represent an opportunity for the industries – on the fuels, vehicles and engines sides – to come together to share knowledge, evaluate available data, and seek greater understanding of the existing challenges and possible solutions available in the heavy-duty market. The Fuel Quality Council provides the mechanism for such collaboration to be successful.” 

FQC will engage in engine maintenance data collection, fuel sampling analysis, and research initiatives to better understand the scope and nature of the issue. Amanda Appelbaum, Director of Research for the Fuels Institute says, “We are hoping to make real strides with this initiative, but of course can only be as powerful as our support-base. Therefore, we are really hoping to generate more participation, especially from fleet owners like AEMP members. 

“Our first study will be to collect and analyze engine maintenance and warranty claim data from fleets, OEMs, and retailers. We are working closely with counsel to assure our method of collecting data will be completely anonymous and it will be impossible for that data to be discoverable down the road. Once the data has been scrubbed of identifying information, it will be sent to NREL for analysis. NREL will be categorizing the data and looking for any trends. This is the first very important step in trying to “map the problem” between engine failures and fuel quality. NREL’s results will be used in comparison to the fuel quality benchmark we set through working with engine manufacturers to understand the optimum specifications for diesel fuel.

“We would greatly value any level of participation from AEMP members, whether it be an interest in joining our Fuel Quality Council to actively help us drive this initiative (and hopefully be a part of the solution), or to merely donate data for our engine maintenance study. We think it will be of great benefit to the industry for AEMP members to be a part of the discussion on fuel quality and on the forefront of trying to solve this very important issue.” 

FQC’s core mission includes:

•Eliminating silos by bringing together diverse stakeholders in the diesel fuel and engine supply chain and facilitating collaboration among these entities;

•Reviewing current research and literature to identify gaps in knowledge and develop a plan to contribute value to the knowledge base;

•Benchmarking fuel quality by working with engine manufacturers to understand the optimum specifications for diesel fuel and develop a model to compare diesel fuel quality in North America to that in other countries;

•Mapping the relationship between fuel quality and engine problems by comparing maintenance data with the fuel quality benchmark;

•Evaluating the entire fuel supply and distribution system, from nozzle to refiner, to identify potential sources of the problem; and

•Determining whether potential solutions to any diesel engine-fuel problems will yield a return on investment and the value of taking such steps to address the problem(s).

There are currently three levels of involvement in the Fuel Quality Council. General Council members are responsible for developing the research objectives of the FQC, serving on working groups, guiding and reviewing all findings and reports, and contributing market data for analysis in research projects. The Steering Committee is the governing body of the FQC which manages the budget, oversees all operations, contracts with outside research entities, and grants final approval to release findings and reports. Data contributors are those companies who do not wish to join the initiative, but who are willing to share valuable data sets (including engine maintenance data and/or fuel sampling data) in exchange for the rights to our reports. 

The founding members of the FQC include: Afton Chemical Company, Andeavor, Center for Quality Assurance, Detroit Diesel Corporation, Donaldson Company, ExxonMobil, Innospec Fuel Specialties, Kum & Go, Love's Travel Stops, Mansfield Oil Company, NATSO, NREL, Pilot Flying J, Seneca Companies, Vulcan Materials Company, National Biodiesel Board, and Steel Tank Institute. 

The Fuel Quality Council is currently seeking new participants for all three levels of engagement. The goals of the FQC cannot be achieved without diverse input from all stakeholders in the industry. Together, the FQC looks forward to delving deeper into the relationship between diesel fuel quality and engine performance than has ever been able to be achieved thus far. Details can be found at www.fuelsinstitute.org/fqc. 

To get involved, or for more information, please contact Amanda Appelbaum, Director of Research at 703-518-7974 or aappelbaum@fuelsinstitute.org 


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