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Wilks Enterprise has introduced a portable infrared analyser that determines the presence of biodiesel in diesel fuel deliveries for standby generators in less than a minute.

The company claims that its Infracal biodiesel blend analyser is compact, rugged and simple to use by non-technical personnel.

It weighs less than 5lb (2kg) and can be operated from a battery pack or a cigarette lighter adapter cable, making it suitable for use in a field environment.

Nuclear power plants are required to maintain a large quantity of stored fuel to ensure operation of standby diesel generators for more than a week and, according to Wilks, the presence of biodiesel in the fuel is a major concern.

Since the diesel fuel may be stored for long periods of time, the presence of biodiesel can cause degradation over time.

Emergency diesel generators (EDGs) supply electrical power to safely shut down the nuclear reactor in the event of a loss of normal offsite power and supply power to critical items such as cooling pumps for decay heat removal.

Biodiesel is a natural food source for microbial growth and, while biocides should prevent the growth of bacteria, fungi and mould, nuclear power plants cannot risk microbial growth that could clog filters and shut down the EDG.

In cold-weather areas, there is also concern that the cold flow properties of biodiesel blended fuel may cause it to gel and, again, clog filters.

The ASTM Method D 975 currently allows up to five per cent of biodiesel in diesel without the requirement for biodiesel content labelling.

Therefore, it has become necessary for many standby generator operators to determine whether their fuel delivery contains biodiesel.

The Infracal analyser provides blend ratio measurements on diesel fuel and will detect down to 0.2 per cent biodiesel in diesel.

An internal calibration table allows the Infracal analyser to read out directly in per cent biodiesel and provides the user with the capability to quickly measure the diesel fuel on site to ensure the purity of the fuel.

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