How to Coordinate a Sub-base Day Tank System

SMT600 Fuel TankThe major components of a “sub-base day tank” design for a generator include a bulk fuel tank, transfer pump, control panel, and the sub-base tank installed directly beneath the generator.  While the components are simple enough, the procurement and installation responsibilities are often split between mechanical and electrical contractors, and this can result in coordination issues.

In a not-so-perfect world (with less than ideal specifications and plans), the generator vendor can sometimes supply a sub-base tank, completely unaware that it must tie into a bulk fuel source provided by the mechanical contractor.  Even when fully aware of each other, contractors and generator vendors will often struggle to coordinate the characteristics of the generator (fuel consumption), the transfer pump (flow rate, power supply) or the type of controls required.  If you are a generator vendor or contractor involved in selling or installing these systems, I am willing to bet that you have come across instances where a transfer pump was not furnished, or controls were not specified, or the sub-base tank is not able to accommodate the required sensors to measure fuel level.

There’s an easier way!

For single generator applications, where the fuel system is relatively simple, I would encourage the generator vendor to offer the complete fuel system package (including all of the components mentioned above).  When taking this approach, unexpected issues (and costs) can be minimized. can help generator vendors through the process of sourcing, submitting and installing a complete fuel system package.  This is an example of a bulk fuel storage tank, pre-engineered with a transfer pump and control panel, to provide fuel to a generator sub-base tank that installed some distance away.

Simplex Fuel Level Control Panel
Simplex Fuel Level Control Panel

By pre-engineered I mean to say that the tank, transfer pump, control panel, and all fuel level sensors are designed and provided by one manufacturer, with the entire system tested prior to shipment.

Once delivered to the job-site, the tank is installed in its concrete pad, and the electrician proceeds to wire electrical power and the pump’s start/stop signal from the level control panel.  At the sub-base tank’s location, a fuel level transmitter is installed in the tank, and subsequently wired to a wall-mounted level control panel (furnished with the package).  Once power is provided to the control panel, the system becomes operational.

And the mechanical work, piping, etc…  Who handles that? has close ties with licensed petroleum equipment installers, and we can offer to link generator vendors with installers to complete underground and/or above-ground piping between the bulk tank and the sub-base tank.  If you do not have a relationship with an installer that can complete the mechanical installation for you, call me and I will work to introduce you to qualified people in your market.

Save those margin points!
SMT600 Open
Built-in Fuel Transfer Pump to Serve a Day Tank

Can a generator vendor be competitive with this approach?  Yes, I would argue that this has worked, and with great success for all involved.  Lack of coordination with related trades is one of the main reasons why gross profit margins suffer after a project is sold.  Taking upfront steps to coordinate and offer a complete fuel system solution can be a way to protect and even improve your margins!

So, take the first step…  Call or write with details of your upcoming project and I will work to prepare a complete fuel supply system to fit your specific needs.  I look forward to helping you with your next project!

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