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P. 56-61 /

Physical and chemical treatments 
to prevent the growth of microorganisms in diesel fuel storage tanks

LUIS FERNANDO BAUTISTA1*, CAROLINA VARGAS1, NATALIA GONZÁLEZ2, MARÍA DEL CARMEN MOLINA2, RAQUEL SIMARRO2, ARMANDO SALMERÓN3, YOLANDA MURILLO3
*Corresponding author
1. Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, ESCET, Department of Chemical and Environmental Technology, C/ Tulipán s/n, 28933, Móstoles, Madrid, Spain
2. Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, ESCET, Department of Biology and Geology. C/ Tulipán s/n, 28933, Móstoles, Madrid, Spain
3. Repsol, S.A., Technology Centre, Ctra. Extremadura, A-5, km 18, 28935 Móstoles, Madrid, Spain

Abstract

The use of petroleum fractions by some microorganisms as a food source has been known for years.
This property has been applied mainly in the bioremediation of soils contaminated with hydrocarbons. Nevertheless, this natural degradation of hydrocarbons by microorganisms, has become a serious problem for the oil industry, since it has been observed that microbial growth occurs inside the fuel storage tanks. This fact is causing problems such as corrosion, filter plugging or blockage of pipes. Ultraviolet radiation, sonication and biocides treatments are alternatives to solve the problem.


INTRODUCTION

The use of petroleum fractions by some microorganisms as a food source has been known for years. This property has been applied mainly in the bioremediation of soils contaminated with hydrocarbons. Nevertheless, this natural degradation of hydrocarbons by microorganisms, has become a serious problem for the oil industry, since it has been observed that microbial growth occurs inside the fuel storage tanks. This fact promotes problems such as corrosion, filter plugging or blockage of pipes (1). However, the presence of microorganisms in the storage tanks causes slight changes in the physicochemical properties of fuels (2).

FUEL CHARACTERISTICS
Table 1 shows the fractions of fuels derived from petroleum. Properties of