Feb 1, 2006 12:00 PM
WITH mandatory requirements for ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD) about to impact every tank truck carrier in 2006, many questions remain unanswered.
However, some things are pretty clear: tank truck carriers may have to use dedicated trailers to transport the fuel, and even more loading/unloading responsibility will fall on the driver.
“This is a work in progress,” said John Conley, National Tank Truck Carriers president, directing comments at the many ULSD questions that continue to perplex carriers, suppliers, and manufacturers.
Conley, along with John O'Connell of Civacon and David Schaller of International Truck and Engine Corp, discussed the ramifications prompted by the Environmental Protection Agency's rules designed to reduce air pollution.
They discussed the ULSD issues November 7-9 at the National Tank Truck Carriers Cargo Tank Maintenance Seminar in Louisville, Kentucky.
A growing number of diesel terminal operators and marketers have now announced that they will require dedicated tank trailers for ULSD. Dedicated tankwagons also may be needed by marketers that distribute ULSD in addition to other fuels, such as heating oil and kerosene.
The federal agency apparently gave “no thought” to the problems that would impact the distribution system from pipeline to terminal to convenience store, Conley said.
“The tank truck industry is a small part in this, but we are in the middle of the issue,” he added.
O'Connell pointed out that carriers will have to train drivers, emphasizing the importance of avoiding cross-contamination at the loading rack, and during and after the unloading procedure.
“The cargo tank and associated equipment have to have integrity maintained,” O'Connell added.
He said that major oil companies are compiling lists of products that can be crossloaded.
Avoiding product cross-contamination in the tank trailer will require clean sump areas, no pockets in emergency valves, full drainage for API adapters, and less complexity with T-joints and pipe work, O'Connell pointed out.
In addition, meters, pumps, and air eliminators haven't been designed to remove product.
Other problems can arise from hoses that aren't fully drained, as well as where the drained product will be disposed.
“There may have to be some way of draining product before reloading, so that's going to create another problem,” O'Connell said.
O-rings, seals, and overfill devices will have to be ULSD- compatible.
“It is going to be essential going forward that the dispatch department have records of what has been previously loaded as there will be products that cannot even be reloaded into an empty compartment as the wall clingage will contaminate the ULSD,” O'Connell said.
Some carriers already have bottom wet sensor probes fitted to trailers. “If you are looking at buying new equipment and are considering hauling a lot of diesel you may want to consider adding bottom sensors to your specifications,” O'Connell said. “The advantages are that they tell you if you have retained product in the compartment from the previous load.
Trailers with wet dry valves, nose line for pump applications, and/or discharge pipes to the curbside could cause contamination because they retain product. He advised carriers to discuss the issue with their OEMs and determine if there are other options available such as self- draining manifolds that do not hold product and have sight glasses.
“We also need to learn the lingo,” O'Connell said, adding that carriers should be sure the new rules and their terms are familiar throughout the company. “Dialogue between oil companies, carriers, equipment suppliers, and end customers is essential.”
If problems are complicated for the tank trailer, the diesel tractor engines mandated for the 2007 model year bring similar concerns.
Depending on the individual engine, fuel economy may drop slightly and weight will increase roughly 60-100 pounds, Schaller said.
However, International is working on a fuel economy-neutral performance for Class 8 engines.
The big impact for 2007 is the new aftertreatment system that replaces the typical exhaust assembly. The new system has an active filter system that captures particulate matter. The particulate trap will have to be cleaned about once a year, and the cleaning will require the use of new equipment for the procedure.
Schaller also advised carriers to contact their fuel suppliers to insure that lubricity requirements are meeting specifications, and to work with their OEMs to insure specifications meet individual fleet requirements.
“Ultra-low-sulfur diesel is critical to us because we cannot meet the EPA mandates for 2007 without the new fuel,” Schaller said.
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