Diesel Tanks: Material of Construction

Plastic, Steel and Hybrid Diesel Tanks

Until recently, a Diesel Tank typically comprised a steel tank, raised from the ground and equipped with a gravity fed delivery nozzle. And all too often, there was a puddle of Diesel underneath. However thanks to evermore stringent British, Irish and European fuel storage requirements, today’s Diesel tanks are almost unrecognisable from those of yesteryear.

Modern Diesel Storage and Dispensing Tanks are almost always positioned at ground level. Gravity fed delivery systems are rarely found and indeed are today unlawful at many installations. A new generation of portable Diesel storage tanks has transformed how we store and deliver. And integral bunding has helped to stop spills before they begin.

Another significant change is that whilst historically, almost every Diesel Tank was manufactured from steel, today many are made from plastic. Steel tanks of course, continue to remain available and are especially popular at outsize and specialist Diesel storage installations. And hybrid tanks are available too, which typically comprise a plastic inner tank, surrounded by a steel outer.

Plastic Diesel Tanks

Most Diesel Tanks supplied in Great Britain and Ireland today are rotationally moulded from a specialist grade of Medium Density Polyethylene (MDPE). Characterised by excellent fuel and impact resistance properties, MDPE is ideal for the long term storage of Diesel, together with a wide range of other fuels. The rotational moulding process creates a single piece and largely unstressed container - properties which help provide a firm foundation for a long and useful service life. Ultraviolet (UV) stabilising agents are added during the production process, to protect against the potentially damaging effects of sunlight.

Steel Diesel Tanks

In a process which would dates back decades, steel tanks can be fabricated by welding strips of mild steel together, forming a large hollow container. Such tanks are typically square or rectangular in form. Alternatively, a steel strip can be rolled, before being welded to 2 pre-manufactured ‘dished’ ends, creating a tank which will have a circular or ovoid cross section.

Hybrid Diesel Tanks

Hybrid tanks are storage tanks manufactured from more than one material. They usually comprise a plastic inner tank, surrounded by a steel outer. The plastic inner tank is the primary storage vessel, whilst the outer tank acts as a bund, providing protection against leaks, drips and spills. Manufacturers of such Hybrid Tanks claim they combine the benefits of steel, with the advantages of plastic. Hybrid tanks are frequently found on construction sites and in other specialist environments.

Material Selection

Our Customer Support Team is frequently asked by Diesel users, which the best choice of material is. The simple answer is that the ideal material will be site and application specific. Each material has advantages and drawbacks:

  • Plastic tanks are lighter than steel tanks, making them easier to transport, position and install than steel tanks. This can be an especially important consideration when choosing a Portable Diesel Tank;

  • Whilst most Steel Tanks will need to be painted and repainted periodically to protect against corrosion, plastic tanks are corrosion resistant and do not require painting;

  • Steel tanks will corrode from the inside, so that you cannot easily tell its condition on the inside.

  • Steel tanks are usually available in a much greater range of sizes and capacities than plastic tanks. Some steel tank manufacturers also offer a bespoke build process, allowing you to effectively design your own tank - a service not available from most plastic tank manufacturers;

  • Due to the flexibility of the rotational moulding process, plastic tanks are available in a wider range of shapes and designs than steel tanks.

  • Plastic tanks are manufactured from a specialist polymet, with excellent fuel and chemical resistance properties. By contrast, steel tanks can react with the liquids stored inside them, creating a toxic sludge, which should be removed periodically;

  • Because steel tanks can be easily painted, they can be colour matched them to the environment in which they’re installed. By contrast, plastic tanks are usually green in colour and cannot be easily painted;

  • Whilst steel tanks may deter the opportunist thief, modern, cordless power tools can provide a determined thief with quick access to many tank - irrespective of material of construction.

Queries? Questions?

Choosing a Diesel Tank isn’t always simple or straightforward. That’s why our Customer Support Team is here to help. Working in partnership with leading manufacturers, they can help you select the ideal tank for almost any application. For free advice and guidance, why not call today? You can speak with them on 01789 632 151 in the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man, 01 5268 642 in the Republic of Ireland or e-mail hello@fueltank.store. We’re open 9am to 5pm weekdays, excluding Bank and Public Holidays.