Archive: May 2024

Water Contaminated Diesel In Marine Applications: Fix It With Filtration!

Leave a Comment


Engine Failures Spell Danger


One of the most debilitating problems a vessel can face at sea is an unexpected loss of control. In rough seas, working engines can mean weathering the storm or succumbing to it. Shipping delays due to engine failures and repairs can have a cascading impact on supply chains and result in major disruptions and financial loss. More importantly, loss of control can have devastating consequences on crew and bystander safety.

After losing control, a massive Singaporean cargo ship called the MV Dali collided with a pier supporting the Francis Scott Key Bridge over the Patapsco River while departing from port at Baltimore. While the cause is still under investigation, this tragedy reminds us of the long term impact and damage inflicted when a shipping vessel without control leads to a loss of lives.

When considering ways to prevent an unexpected loss of power for marine applications, controlling fuel contamination is a very effective way to eliminate one of the greatest factors affecting diesel engine reliability today.


What Causes Fuel Contamination in Marine Applications?


Fuel systems in marine applications are particularly vulnerable to water contamination due to the operating environment and vulnerabilities in the fuel supply chain.

  • By virtue of operating at sea, on the coast, or in rivers, ships are exposed to high levels of humidity and water, which is the most common type of contamination that sea-going fuel systems face.
  • Diesel fuel is transported through a long network of refineries, bulk fuel suppliers, and dispensing stations before reaching its destination. At every stage, water, humidity, bacteria, pollen, and other contaminants can enter through open breathers, improperly sealed vessels, and other points of ingress.
  • Fluctuations in temperature can result in high levels of free water in a fuel system, which is more damaging than water that has dissolved into the fuel.

How Can Fuel Contamination Cause Engine Failure?

Contamination can affect engine operations in a variety of ways:


  • Buildup of bacterial sludge in the fuel due to water and bacterial contamination, also called diesel bug, can plug the engine filtration system and starve it of fuel
  • Similar to diesel bug, chemical compounds called asphaltenes can build up and cause clogs and other issues in a fuel system. Asphaltenes are generated in high-pressure fuel systems due to a combination of pressure and heat.
  • Small amounts of particulates and water can wear out an engine’s components over time, reducing its overall efficiency and eventually causing the engine to fail.

What Other Impacts Can Contamination and Contamination-Related Damage Have?

Besides total engine failure and its potential consequences, contamination has a range of direct and indirect impacts on equipment and operations:

  • Costly maintenance and repair of engines and equipment
  • Increased fuel-related expenses between acquiring clean fuel, disposing of contaminated fuel, and remediating/polishing contaminated fuel
  • Reduced fuel economy due to inefficiencies in the engine/high pressure common rail injection systems caused by contamination
  • Reduced engine and equipment longevity
  • Overall reductions in vessel or fleet profitability due to compounding expenses and downtime for repairs

How Can I Control Diesel Contamination?

Having a system in place to proactively monitor and prevent contamination where possible, plus a solution to remediate whatever contamination occurs, is key for controlling fuel contamination and protecting your engine.


  • Obtain fuel from a reputable source. Fuel is often contaminated before it enters a ship’s fuel system, but reputable suppliers who are familiar with contamination and take fuel cleanliness into consideration will provide higher quality fuel and prevent large, immediate influxes of contamination.
  • Ensure storage/fuel tank cleanliness. Before filling a fuel tank or bulk storage tank, be sure the tank is clean and dry.
  • Take precautions when transferring fuel/filling your system. Water and other contaminants are most likely to ingress during fuel transfer, so ensure that your transfer system is properly sealed.
  • Monitor the fuel quality levels of your storage tanks to determine the condition of the fuel being delivered to your engine and remediate or replace contaminated fuel before it can affect your equipment. Test kits such as Schroeder’s Diesel Fuel Quality Analysis Kits can provide important insights into the condition of your fuel, especially if you’re experiencing issues consistent with fuel contamination.
  • Closely monitor your fuel water separators and engine filters and empty them as often as needed. But remember: don’t rely solely on these separators and filters to completely resolve your contamination issues!
  • Acquire a fuel polishing system. A fuel polishing system/kidney loop attached to your system or to your storage tanks can help address contamination in real time.

Some degree of water contamination is inevitable, especially in a marine setting. However, proactive maintenance and preventative measures will significantly reduce your chances of catastrophic contamination-related equipment failure!


Schroeder Solutions for Diesel Contamination Control

Schroeder Industries understands all too well the negative impacts of fuel contamination. Our fuel filtration experts have developed a range of filtration products and services to maintain diesel fuel quality, with proven success in the maritime industry and beyond.

Here are just a few of our featured solutions:


Image of BDFP Bulk Diesel Filtration Panel with diesel fuel splash in the background

BDFP: Exceptional Quality, Turn-Key Stationary Fuel Filtration System

This simple-but-mighty filtration panel combines the power of our particulate GHPF filter and the exceptional water removal capabilities of our coalescing GHCF filter to defend against particulate and water contamination.

With an integrated pump, the BDFP is ready to use without requiring a new pump purchase for the filter panel.

The streamlined BDFP design is easy to integrate into new and existing fuel storage systems, and the minimal element change clearance makes maintenance easy.

Flow Rating (Electric Motor Option):14 gpm or 25 gpm (53 or 95 L/min)
Flow Rating (Air-Operated Option):16 or 25 gpm (53 or 95 L/min)
Ambient Temperature Range:32°F to 104°F (0°C to 40°C) Standard; -20°F to 140°F (-29°C to 40°C) Heater Option
Weight:130 – 150 lbs. (59 – 68 kg)
Element Change Clearance:GHPF: 2″ (51mm)
GHCF: 4″ (102mm)


BDFP Prevents Water Contamination-Related Engine Failures in Workboat Fleet

When a fleet operator in the Mississippi River region launched a new pushboat with a brand new engine, the pushboat experienced sudden engine failure just a single mile into its maiden voyage.

Analysis revealed water contamination in the fuel source as the primary cause of this failure. When the customer approached Schroeder Industries for help, our experts recommended a kidney loop setup featuring the BDFP to ensure fuel quality, reduce engine maintenance, and protect against further costly, dangerous failures. Its performance was so outstanding that the customer implemented the BDFP across their three fleets.

Here’s how the BDFP helped this customer save money and protect their assets!
Reduced Downtime & Maintenance
Eliminated Contamination-Related Engine Failures
Prevented Major Engine Repairs (Saving Up To 100K+)


Image of BDF Bulk Diesel Filter with diesel fuel splash in the background

BDF: Powerful Particulate & Coalescing Filtration Combined

Schroeder’s particulate GHPF filter and coalescing GHCF filter combine for exceptional defense against particulate and water contamination. With the option of adding a second GHCF in parallel on the BDF, flow rate and coalescing capabilities can be doubled!

This compact filter excels in marine applications, fleet and mobile vehicle applications, railroad applications, and much more!

Flow Rating:BDF1: up to 25gpm (95 L/min)
BDF2: up to 50gpm (189 L/min)
Max Operating Pressure:150 psi (10 bar)
Temperature Range:w/ water sump heater: -20°F to 225°F (-29°C to 107°C); w/out heater: 32°F to 225°F (0°C to 107°C)
Weight:BDF1: 46.5 lbs
BDF2: 89 lbs
Element Change Clearance:GHPF: 2″ (51mm)
GHCF: 4.5″ (114mm)


BDF2 Allows Rail Operator to Recover Lost Revenue

Due to poor fuel quality, a Class 1 Rail Carrier was experiencing frequent in-field failures of their MOW (Maintenance-of-Way) equipment, including their Fuel & Lube Trucks.

This lack of fuel quality control was costing the customer thousands of dollars in parts and labor, downtime, and lost revenue overall. Schroeder’s experts retrofitted the customer’s MOW fleet with BDF2 filters (BDF with dual GHCF filters), providing immediate improvements.

Here’s how the BDF2 helped this customer save money and protect their assets!
57% Increase in Particulate Filtration Efficiency
19% Reduction in Absolute Water Content (52ppm Below World Wide Fuel Charter Maximum Water Content)
300k USD in Lost Revenue Recovered Daily


Image of BestFit Elements for diesel filtration with diesel fuel splash in the background

BestFit® Elements: Superior Coalescing & Particulate Filtration

With options for both coalescing and particulate filtration and all the advantages of Schroeder’s powerful filter element technology, the BestFit® series provides improved diesel filtration performance.

  • SBFC element uses patented, three stage coalescing filtration technology
  • Synthetic filtration media eliminates degradation due to high water content fuel
  • Use of stainless steel support structure and polymer components prevent corrosion from high water content exposure
  • Direct fitment into existing installations allow for immediate performance improvements with no modifications

Differential Pressure Rating:75 psid
Max. Operating Temperature Range:225°F (107°C)
Filtration Rating:225°F (-29°C to 107°C); w/out heater: 32°F to 225°F (0°C to 107°C)


BestFit® Elements Stabilize Inventory Crisis & Improve ROI

An oil & gas drilling contractor struggled to source a critical diesel fuel filter element required on all their job sites, resulting in company-wide operational impacts.

Not only was Schroeder Industries able to provide a seamless transition and stable supply of vital elements using our BestFit® Element series: The BestFit® Elements ended up outperforming the drilling company’s previous elements!

Here’s how BestFit® Elements improved ROI and helped this customer’s business return to smooth sailing!
Element Inventory & Supply Stabilized
Increased Service Life of Filter Elements vs. Previous Elements
Competitive Price Point & Improved Element Performance Provided Immediate ROI Increases


Damp, Dirty Diesel Deals Damage: Fix It with Fuel Filtration Solutions from Schroeder Industries!


Our experts can help you monitor and decontaminate your marine vessel fuel supply and prevent the costly, potentially dangerous effects of water contamination and more. Contact us for a consultation, quote, or more information!


Contact-Blog-Water Contaminated Diesel In Marine Applications: Fix It With Filtration!

  • Tell us about your application and the issues you’re facing
  • Max. file size: 256 MB.