Introduction to Phase Separation and Density Measurement

Why install density measurement and phase separation detection on biofuel tanks? What is Phase Separation?
Phase separation occurs when water enters a tank that contains an ethanol/gasoline blended fuel. Ethanol absorbs water, so when gasoline becomes saturated a layer of ethanol and water, known as phase separation, can form. Depending on the fuel blend, up to 100% of the ethanol can be pulled out of the gasoline and settle with the water at the bottom of the tank. Since the density of this layer is less than water, typical water floats may not detect its presence.

What is Density Measurement?
Density measurement is based on the distance between the calibrated product and density floats. As the density of the fuel changes, the gap between the floats will increase or decrease in proportion to the change. The tank gauge receives this information from the probe and uses it to calculate and display the current density of the fuel.

Why is it important?
If the water/ethanol phase is not discovered in time, phase separated product may be pumped into a customer’s vehicle instead of fuel. This can cause engine stalling and result in  costly damage to customer vehicles.

What can you do about it?
Thankfully, there are solutions for phase separation and density measurement that can help protect your customers and your site.

To find out more, download our Ask A Product Manager .pdf here, or check out our website to see how our probes and float kits can help you.