Product Spotlight: FTI-20 Fuel Maintenance System

Fuel Technologies International manufactures automated fuel filtration systems designed to maintain the quality of diesel fuel in large bulk storage tanks. The FTI-20 is their largest system offered, and it features an FM-Approved and NFPA-compliant design with an integral 20GPM circulation pump, and 5 stages of filtration.

The controller provides fully-automatic operation, and includes:

  1. a UL-listed assembly with Siemens PLC and input/outputs, to monitor for motor overload, all five stages of filtration, leak detection, water high-level sensor, system pressure, and low/no flow conditions.
  2. the user interface is based on a Siemens TP177 touch screen, with signal device for audible alarms.
  3. the controller is programmable to select between up to four (4) separate diesel fuel storage tanks (by signaling remote electrically-operated valves). This means that you can use a single fuel maintenance system to filter multiple fuel tanks in one location.
  4. the controller includes an audible alarm and visual description on the touch screen for each alarm condition, plus two dry contacts for remote general alarm indication, as well as Modbus/Ethernet RTU RS485 communications for interface with building automation systems.
  5. to protect against humid climates, the control section is furnished with a 50-watt strip heater.
  6. the electrical connections are simple and include:
    1. power input via a single-point connection: 208-230Vac, 1-Phase, 60 Hz (15 amp circuit)
    2. output connections to electrically-operated valves (if applicable), and
    3. output connections to remote monitoring devices or building automation systems.

Mechanical features include:

  1. five stages of filtration including a 100-mesh strainer, a 10-micron particulate filter, a 3-micron particulate filter, a water separation and removal element, and a 1-micron particulate removal element.
  2. heavy-duty 20GPM positive-displacement pump with cast-iron housing.
  3. a 2-door steel cabinet with zinc primer for corrosion protection, and powder-coat finish. Stainless steel construction is also available as an option.
  4. the cabinet is rated as a NEMA-3R enclosure, suitable for rack or wall mounting. Cabinet dimensions are: 48.0”W x 48.0”H x 16.5”D. The shipping weight is 550 lbs.

Piping connections for the FTI-20’s inlet and outlet connections are threaded, 1-1/2″NPT to the inlet connection, and 1-1/4″NPT to the outlet connection. At the tank, the filtration suction connection should be made at the low end of the diesel fuel storage tank, with a drop tube and foot valve reaching to 1” from the bottom of the tank. The return connection should be at the opposite end of the tank, to promote circulation when the system is operating, and should include a drop tube terminated with a diffuser.

An important note to installers: Caution should be taken not to exceed the 15-ft. lift capability of the fuel circulation pump. Should the required vertical suction lift exceed 15 ft., the circulation pump in the FTI cabinet should be deleted at time of order, and the installer should then provide a submersible pump integral to the tank. The fuel filtration system will then be equipped with a flow control valve and a flow meter to adjust the incoming flow to 20GPM (read more on this).

Once the system is installed, the controller may be set to the owner’s desired time schedule to conduct weekly filtration events. We recommend that a normal filtration event be set to circulate 25% of the tank’s volume, once every week. This cycle will allow sediments and water to settle to the bottom of the tank, where they can be removed during the next filtration event.

Why should you consider a Fuel Maintenance System?

“Today’s diesel injectors must develop very high injection pressures to function with modern high compression ratio engine designs. They must also control the start and duration of injection within milliseconds to perform at the level demanded by engine customers. These precision injectors require an adequate supply of clean, stable fuel for proper operation. This requirement in turn demands careful attention to the fuel storage and handling systems specified for each installation.” Source: Caterpillar Application and Installation Guide.

We encourage the use of an automated fuel filtration system for any site that stores a substantial amount of diesel fuel for an extended period of time (>4 months). Here’s why:

  • Long term fuel storage in vented tanks will accumulate water over time. This water contamination leads to bacterial growth that will clog engine filters and, if left unattended, will damage high-pressure fuel injection systems. The bacteria in the tank will also contribute to microbial-induced corrosion, and eventual tank or component failure (see “One side effect of microbiological contamination is severe corrosion to the metal components of a fuel system“).
  • A filtration system ensures the removal of water and contaminants, thereby protecting the engine from fuel quality failures. Most engine manufacturers will not honor warranty claims for engine damage resulting from poor fuel quality.
  • A fuel filtration system, FM-approved and NFPA-compliant, may reduce insurance costs and potential liability for owners of emergency generators.

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