Preparing your tanks for winter 2022/3

Published 2nd December 2022

As sure as night follows day there is nothing more certain than the fact that the UK will, at various points during a winter period, experience cold and sub-zero temperatures. Are your tanks winter ready and prepared for the months ahead?

Here are a couple of headline predictions about conditions this winter that are likely to affect generator fuel and its usage:

Forecast from The Met Office:

“November and December 2022 look more settled with high pressure likely to dominate our weather. Exact weather conditions will be dictated by where the high pressure settles over the Atlantic and the UK, but we are likely to see a higher incidence of northerly airflows, preventing mild, moist air flowing to the UK from the Atlantic Ocean and increasing the potential for cold snaps with some threat of snow and ice, mainly in northern areas.

“The most likely scenario as we head into 2023 is for the risk of high-pressure to decrease, and a return to more unsettled conditions with wet, windy, and mild spells possible. However, there is still a risk we could see a Sudden Stratospheric Warming. If this happens it could potentially lead to a cold spell for the UK and northern Europe, although the chances of a very cold winter, comparable to 2009/10, are still low this winter.”

Professor Paul Davies Met Office Fellow (Meteorology) and Chief Meteorologist 

Forecast from the National Grid

“Overall, this is likely to be a challenging winter for energy supply throughout Europe. We have taken extensive measures to try to mitigate the impacts for British consumers and expect that, under our base case, margins will be adequate. Nevertheless, there remain scenarios, driven principally by factors outside of Great Britain which could impact upon British electricity supplies. Plans are in place to ensure the impact is minimised and the overall security and integrity of Britain’s energy systems are protected.

Fintan Slye, Director, Electricity System Operator

Best practice for keeping your tanks in tip top condition this winter

Fuel tanks and more specifically the fuel they hold, can be affected by cold temperatures. As the temperature drops, the fuel “waxes”.

The colder it gets, the thicker and more difficult the oil will be to pump or use. Generators themselves will typically be in a pre-heated room, but if you need fuel from an external bulk tank, you may not be able to get it!

Here is a checklist of actions you can take:

  • CHECK all bulk tanks for accumulated water and sludge in the bottom
  • REMOVE immediately anything that is found other than good fuel
  • TAKE a fuel sample from the top and bottom of each tank
  • ENSURE the samples are lab analysed to identify any specific problems
  • POLISH or FILTER the fuel where necessary to get rid of any suspended water or contaminants
  • TREAT the tank with a winter fuel additive, which needs to be fully circulated in the tank

If you need help with any of the above Fuel Storage Solutions will support you with inspections and advice on any issues you face to ensure you are winter ready. Following an inspection, we offer a report on the condition of your tanks and the fuel they contain. We can then advise you fully on any remedial or preventative action that needs taking and undertake this for you.

Managing Diesel Waxing with a Winter Fuel Additive

Diesel fuel is prone to waxing or gelling in cold weather; both are terms for the solidification of diesel oil into a partially crystalline state. Below the Cloud Point the fuel begins to develop solid wax particles giving it a cloudy appearance. The presence of solidified waxes thickens the oil and clogs fuel filters and injectors in engines. The crystals build up in the fuel line (especially in fuel filters) until the engine is starved of fuel, causing it to stop running.

We provide a hydrocarbon based liquid which is added in advance to diesel fuels during the winter months at dosage rates as low as 1:1000.

We do not prevent the formation of wax crystals, and the cloud point of fuel is not lowered. However, the additive actually encourages the initial formation of wax crystals as the cloud point temperature is reached, controlling their formation so that the resultant crystals are much smaller in size than those in untreated fuel. Other components inhibit the further growth of wax crystals, which remain as long needle-like crystals which can pass through fuel filters. The viscosity of treated fuel does not increase substantially, unlike untreated fuel, another factor leading to fuel starvation at low temperature.

Dispersants maintain the fine wax crystals in suspension throughout the fuel, preventing separation and settling, which can block outflow pipes and filters. Treated fuel will continue to flow through fuel lines and filters down to temperatures below -22°C.

NOTE: Additives will not affect fuel that has already started to wax. They MUST be added before temperatures drop below 2°C

Book Your Winter Fuel Assessment

We strongly advise a winter fuel assessment and tank check to keep you fully operational during the winter months. To book yours, or to discuss any specific problems please call the sales team on 01274 813 003 or email