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Fueling Solutions Blog

Phase Separation - What Are the Implications?

[fa icon="calendar"] Feb 7, 2017 9:00:00 AM / by Veeder-Root


Ethanol is on the rise, and subsequently so is phase separation. Over 90% of U.S. gas stations are blending their gasoline with ethanol, and the number is only rising. 

When does phase separation occur? Phase_Sep_Site_Diagram.png

When water enters a tank filled with a gasoline/ethanol mixture, the ethanol absorbs it, causing the ethanol to separate from the gasoline and sink toward the bottom of the tank mixed with water. This mixture has a lighter density than pure water, causing it to go undetected with a traditional water float.

Why is phase separation a problem?

- Phase separation sinks to the bottom of your tank and, if undetected, can be pumped straight into your customers' vehicles, causing stall-outs at your site and costly repairs that you become liable for.

- The corrosive nature of phase separation can result in the need for expensive tank repairs and remediation. The costs of purging your system, replacing dispenser filters, and disposing of contaminated fuel can easily run more than $10,000.

- Ethanol boost octane levels, but when ethanol mixes with water to create phase separation, the remaining gasoline is depleted of ethanol, lowering its octane level and making it ineligible for legal sale.

What can you do about it?

The only way to combat phase separation is with continuous monitoring and early detection. The Veeder-Root Phase-Two Water Detector replaces the traditional gasoline float kit, offering both a water float and a phase separation float that send alarms straight to your automatic tank gauge (ATG) when tank contamination is suspected.

As you decide whether a phase separation float is the best solution for you, read the infographic below to see the impact that undetected phase separation can have on your business.

Click here to enlarge.


Topics: Compliance, ATG


Written by Veeder-Root