On-Demand Mobile Fueling: The Risk of Explosion
Atom Alloys
October 11, 2021
3 Mins Read Time

There has been an emergence of mobile fuel providers in recent years – Shell TapUp, Booster Fuels, Fuelster etc. Refueling your car or getting bulk backup fuel is no longer as difficult as it once was. You can now order gasoline and diesel right to your doorstep with mobile apps, just as you order food or grocery. You can specify the time and location of the service and in some cases, you don’t even need to be present so long as the fuel flap is open. 

This means driving fewer miles, less fuel stops and also reduced wait times at gas stations especially during peak hours, which is a major issue in countries that haven’t developed as many gas stations as needed for the number of automobiles on the road. Some companies even allow you to add on services such as tire pressure check, oil change, car washing, and detailing. Not to mention, it is less capital & time-intensive to operate mobile fueling services than to acquire property and operate a full-fledged fuel station.

Risks associated with Mobile Fueling

On-demand mobile fueling is extremely convenient and has a huge potential, but what about the associated risks?

While logistics are complex in almost every industry, special challenges are posed when liquid fuel is transported beyond designated hazardous zones and into community areas without proper safety procedures in place. Unlike delivery of other consumables (like food), there are risks to be considered when hundreds of gallons of flammable fuel are transported through densely populated areas to make deliveries to residential or corporate complexes.

A more serious concern is the lack of fire safety codes and regulations for fuel delivery worldwide. 

The Guardian writes, “Some of the [companies] are using 1,000-gallon tanks,” warned Greg Andersen, Division Chief of the California Office of the State Fire Marshal. “If they’re going into the basement parking lot of a high rise, that actually is a large concern.”

The article goes on to say, “Andersen suggests that the companies currently operating in California are exploiting a “grey area” in the fire code. There are regulations that allow for mobile fueling with diesel, but the code is silent on gasoline, presumably because no one was offering the service before last year.”

Similar distribution models are being emulated in countries like India. But it is imperative to note that in India the flashpoint for diesel is comparable or lower than that of ATF! Evidently, this makes the risk far greater.

In addition, NACS Magazine notes: “Early on-demand fueling adopters literally were putting large volumes of fuel in relatively unsecured gas cans in trunks of cars, an obvious red flag and extremely dangerous.”

In addition to the existing hazard, overfilling or unintentional spilling of fuel is another common and dangerous outcome of delivery guidelines negligence.

The general public is neither prepared nor equipped to mitigate accidents associated with fuel delivery before calamitous explosions occur. Some insurance companies, EMC insurances, for example, have had reports of incidents such as fuel misdelivery — delivering to a fuel inlet that is not connected to a fuel tank — or wrong fuel delivery. The potential for such incidents are more likely with on-demand services that operate outside the traditional HSE regulation-bound fuel sale/retail points.

Are you receiving these risks along with the fuel? What could we do to prevent these?

Safer Fuel Deliveries with Explosion-Resistant ATOM PROTECTOR

Perhaps the most exciting development that could have a major impact on fuel delivery is the use of explosion-resistant fuel trucks.

Advanced, patented technology — the ATOM Explosion Prevention System and a rigorous design and testing methodology have enabled team ATOM to produce the world’s first explosion-resistant trucks – ATOM PROTECTOR – on the market!

It is based on three principles – Thermal Conductance, Flame Quenching and Structured Packing. Within each ATOM fuel storage unit is a passive protection module that is made from patented intervolving of a reticulated alloy mesh. This module prevents fires from escalating to explosions merely by its physical presence, without the necessity of eliciting a chemical reaction or requiring human intervention, giving you ample time to implement fire mitigation measures.

ATOM is an internationally certified patented Explosion Prevention system that works across industries to deliver safety solutions for fuel storage, transportation and delivery. If you are seeking preventive solutions tailored to meet the industry’s complexities that secure your workplace and resources from fuel tank explosions, we can introduce you to high-quality solutions that are compliant with international regulation standards and will upgrade your fuel safety to the highest levels. To secure your fuel storage from explosion, get in touch with us today!

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