What is Diesel Fuel `ALGAE`?

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Courtesy of AXI International

Algae are a life form found in water, similar to algae growing in an aquarium. However, for years, people have been referring to tank sludge and to the jelly, slime and other contaminants found in fuel filters as 'algae'. The colloquialism 'diesel fuel algae' is widely used and understood. However, there is no relationship between the 'algae' growing in your aquarium and the sludge 'growing' (forming) in your fuel tank and showing up on your filter elements.

There are three basic areas of concern in fuels and oil. They are: 1. water 2. in-organic debris (sand, dust, rust, etc.) and 3. organic debris (fuel breakdown products and waste products of fuel deterioration and re-polymerization). The organic debris represents more than 90% of all the contaminants found in fuels and oil. It is this organic debris, the sludgy, slimy, acidic material that people refer to as 'diesel fuel algae'. It could also be called polymer, tar or wax and asphalt!

In South America, people refer to the 'Algae' as 'mud'. In gasoline, the organic fuel breakdown products are often referred to as gum, varnish, or lacquer. Taken literally these words could be confusing too.

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