Adding a fuel tank to your genset gives it the ability to operate at any time and run for extended periods. Choosing the right diesel storage tank will be based on the size you need (consider fuel consumption and desired runtime), available space and climate, as well as other factors.
Your decision may also be affected by state and local regulations. Some facilities, like hospitals, are required to have a fuel tank large enough to power the generator for a minimum number of hours. Other regulations address environmental concerns. Your fire marshal will likely review your plans before you install any type of fuel storage to ensure you comply with any relevant regulations.
Today’s diesel generator fuel tanks are equipped with details that make them both safer and more cost-effective. Look for tanks with leak detection, a fire safety valve and a double walled design.
Subbase Fuel Tanks for Generators
Subbase fuel tanks are mounted below the generator engine and can hold anywhere from 100 to 3,000 gallons. The height, length and width of base-mounted fuel tanks can be customized for a specific capacity or footprint. These fuel tanks can be protected from the elements by a generator enclosure; their steel walls are often powder-coated as well for extra protection.
Remote Generator Fuel Tanks
For a longer runtime, a genset (with or without a subbase fuel tank) can utilize a remote fuel tank. These tanks are generally larger, although they are available in sizes starting at 60 gallons. Remote fuel tanks are available in both underground and above ground varieties. Each has unique benefits.
Underground fuel storage tanks are constructed of a plastic-based material but may employ a secondary material, such as concrete, to protect the environment. Underground remote fuel tanks are costlier to install and maintain than above ground tanks. They are, however, protected from the elements, including cold and natural disasters.
Diesel stored remotely above ground is done so in steel tanks, just as with base-mounted tanks. This type of storage is less expensive to install and gives facilities more access for maintenance. It does require more real estate, at a specific distance from any buildings, in order to mitigate the risk of fire.