Marine Analysis Program


FAME  (Fatty Acid Methyl Esters) is the Bio element in Bio Fuel and largely produced from recycled cooking oils and renewable oil sources. Due to its hydroscopic nature and potential solvent properties it can have a very negative effect on diesel performance as well as encouraging dramatic microbial growth in fuel tanks. FAME has always been regarded as a contaminant in Marine Diesel and should be at a what is called a ‘de minimus’ level (0.5%) . However, stress on the supply chain of distillate since the advent of the MARPOL 2020 Sulphur initiative has caused increasing amounts of FAME to appear in distillate fuel specs where it should not be present.  Furthermore new Fuel grades are allowing up to 7% FAME ( in Asia this can be a mandatory 30%). Filter clogging, and severe microbial growth in fuel tanks are often the result of such unexpected FAME in fuel. Testing and analysis will allow recourse to the fuel supplier who may have inadvertently or wantonly provided the wrong spec fuel for which the yacht operator will bear the consequences. Advance knowledge of an erroneous fuel spec allows early treatment with biocide and the opportunity to de-bunker if necessary and have recourse with the supplier before the fuel purchase has become too much of a historical event. Biocide dosing after contamination is often only effective with a shock dose (high concentrate) and careful monitoring to ensure no contamination exists as the bacterial multiplication factor is high exponential.