British Standards Institute releases new BS 5410 standard for fuel cleanliness

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Recognising the vital importance of fuel cleanliness and quality, the British Standards Institute (BSI) has updated the BS 5410 standard for 2016

Recognising the vital importance of fuel cleanliness and quality, the British Standards Institute (BSI) has updated the BS 5410 standard for 2016. This comes about in response to concerns that failure of critical application standby generators could lead to loss of life.

Standby generators are used in hospitals, data centres and banks to provide back-up power to life support systems, emergency lighting, network infrastructure and other critical applications. Concerns surrounded the high consequential cost of failure of these systems due to the failure of generators as a result of fuel impurities or contaminants.

New guidance

The new BS 5410 Part 3 standard covering risk management for critical standby generators replaces the older 1976 release. Guidance notes state that the recent use of biofuel or fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) diesel in generators has adversely affected life expectancy and quality of the fuel.

This is because FAME fuel has hygroscopic properties, meaning that it can absorb moisture from the atmosphere. This moisture can lead to bacterial growth, which obstructs conventional filters, and may cause injector pump damage.

From BS 5410 Part 3: Filters "NOTE 2 Removing as much water as possible preserves the quality of the fuel and for critical standby generators only filters conforming to SAE J1488_201010 [N5] are to be used." Underlining added by author.


OTS can provide solutions for companies and institutions needing to bring their standby generators into conformity with the new BSI standards. The first step is to establish whether or not the standby generator is critical.

In critical standby generators, fuel should be tested by a UKAS-accredited lab for quality every six months if the generator is equipped with a fuel polishing system. These systems remove water suspended in the fuel. If no fuel polishing system is present, then a tri-monthly testing regime should be adopted.

Fuel polishing systems on storage tanks for critical standby generators, and inline filters, must comply with SAE J1488 2010_10 standards regarding fuel filters. This is particularly important because conventional basket filters are usually fitted with 80 mesh-sized filters. When used with FAME-containing fuels, such filters are likely to be ineffective and should be upgraded to the latest SAE J1488 2010_10 specification.

Given the propensity of FAME-containing fuels to accelerate internal corrosion of storage tanks and other downstream equipment, OTS advises clients to use the DieselPure fuel filtration system. This system is certified as exceeding SAE J1488 2010_10 criteria.

Use of this system combined with instituting tri-monthly sampling and testing and the replacement of 80 mesh filters with SAE J1488-compliant components, will provide full conformity with BS 5410 Part 3 and ensure that critical standby generators are protected against failure due to fuel.

For more information, contact OTS on 01386 853409 or sales(at)oiltanksupplies(dot)com.

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Steph Cowie
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Steve Gains