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The Evolution of Fuel Filtration

Effective Fuel Filtration for Modern Engines

Diesel engine technology, for a variety of reasons, has evolved by leaps and bounds. And diesel fuel filtration has had to evolve right along with it.

Diesel fuel and diesel fuel systems each represent rapidly evolving technologies that work and evolve hand-in-hand. Ever-increasing engine emission standards and engineering achievements have resulted in the most advanced, clean and flexible engines ever.

In turn, fuel formulations from ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) to various biodiesel blends have continued to add a wide breadth of options to keep those engines running. When you factor in all the conditioners and additives that some of these fuels and fuel systems require, the diesel variations are virtually endless.

At the same time, the fuel systems on these engines feature nearly microscopic tolerances, meaning that no matter what kind of fuel is put into the system, that fuel has to be cleaner and drier than ever before because even contamination you can’t see with the naked eye can wreak havoc on injectors and fuel systems.

All this means that fuel filtration is vital in keeping heavy-duty vehicles and equipment not just running – but running cleanly and efficiently.

Filtration Performance

A well-designed fuel system takes contamination control into account from the beginning. Fuel filtration today is an integral part of a complete fuel system. Water separation and particulate and nontraditional contaminants all need to be controlled and managed, or damage can and will occur. Application engineers must be aware of the relationship between the fuel circuit design and overall system cleanliness.

Today, secondary filtration demands 4–5 µm absolute efficiency at 99.9 percent while matching with an upstream primary filter of 7–25 µm at 99 percent efficiency (per ISO 19438). These changes come with the expectation that water separation, filter efficiency and filter life remain constant or increase to meet new fuel cleanliness requirements. Donaldson application engineers have led many of the industry advancements that address these challenges, including advancements in filter configurations and media technology that deliver the cleaner and drier fuel needed by modern diesel engines.

Unique Testing Capabilities for the Real World

Because real-world environments and engine conditions are so varied and dynamic, Donaldson strives to offer unique fuel testing capabilities to simulate a range of real-word environments. While standard ISO tests can help define performance under static and measurable lab conditions, fuel systems need to perform under the dynamic operating conditions that engines experience every day.

To meet this need, we’ve led the industry in developing proprietary test standards and measurement capabilities that effectively simulate field conditions, including dynamic fuel forces that have traditionally been difficult to measure in labs. We’ve also developed fuel and water separation testing capabilities that duplicate field-testing parameters in the lab. These proprietary testing capabilities allow us to streamline the process of developing real-world performance more quickly and efficiently – with the assurance that these technologies will perform in real-world applications.

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