Future-proofing your assets

Consumers’ energy requirements are evolving, which is causing forecourts to evaluate their assets maintenance regimes. Mark Sluman, Head of Forecourt Services, Adler and Allan, discusses the environmental considerations for ensuring your operation remains safe and compliant through the energy transition.

Ensuring smooth transition with your grade changes

With the phasing out of new diesel and petrol cars approaching in 2030, the industry is seeing a shift in ownership from diesel to petrol vehicles. This shift is causing retailers to change the grade of fuel in their tanks, which requires preparation to ensure a smooth transition.

Changing diesel tanks to E10 will have a significant impact if they aren’t reconfigured properly. Issues could include complete fuel and tank contamination issues, blocked filters, and the tank may require re-lining before accepting the new fuel.

Before converting a fuel tank from diesel to petrol, it is recommended that you clean the tank. Diesel can contain a lot of sludge, which can come up into the petrol causing problems in your customers’ vehicles.

It is also recommended that you undertake a process of water-freeing your tanks. Petrol, with the increased volume of ethanol in the new E10 blends, is more hygroscopic, meaning it hangs on to water. This can be less efficient for your customers and can damage the environment if released, as traditional separators are not designed to filter these effectively.

A grade change is also an opportunity to consider re-lining your tanks. Tank lining replacement is a cost-effective solution to ensure fuel quality and environmental compliance.

Reducing the risk of failure with E10

In September 2021, the Government introduced E10 petrol across all UK forecourts.

E10 may not have caused any initial issues with assets, however longer-term, sites may experience problems with tank lids and pipework, seals, and gaskets, with potential failures on tank linings.

One thing is for certain, a greater percentage of ethanol in the fuel = a greater potential failure rate. Therefore, it is wise to ensure you have a robust maintenance contract in place with an experienced environmental partner, who can advise on any changes required to your maintenance schedules.

Protecting your assets with fuel sampling

All grades of fuel are open to deterioration, which can cause issues with your assets as well as your customers’ vehicles. Proactive and reactive fuel testing can identify problems before they arise, or isolate an issue following a query from a customer.

A specialist environmental partner will have the technology and expertise to take fuel samples. If identified as off spec, polish the fuel, clean, and inspect the tank, and undertake any remediation work on the asset to reduce the risk of further problems.

Ensuring a safe and compliant future

The forecourt is a logical place for EV charging points, as it is where drivers currently do their refuelling. Existing forecourts are accessible, visible, and already familiar to motorists; and operators are used to hosting infrastructure and providing a service to drivers.

However, there are certain technical challenges that need to be considered before installing EV charging equipment.

The APEA Electrical Sub-Group has identified a number of risks when installing EV chargepoints on a forecourt, which would need to be carefully considered. These include: locating the charger and vehicle outside the hazardous area, routing a supply cable around the hazardous area (not underneath) and interlocking the supply to the charger with the filling station electrical controls.

Specialist hazardous electrical contractors will be able to support you with your unique EV charging requirements, to ensure your forecourts stay safe and compliant.

Ensuring safety and compliance with a dedicated specialist

Our one-stop-shop of dedicated environmental specialists include: hazardous electrical contractors, experts in tank and pipework maintenance and inspection, specialist fuel services division, as well as a dedicated in-house fuel testing laboratory to ensure your sites remain operational, safe and compliant; future proofing your assets through the energy transition.


Adler & Allan
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