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February 18 2014

Overcoming diesel-supply challenges

Kelvin Emtech



diesel equipment solutions for your server room


Marc Bachkongi, Senior Mechanical Engineer, Assistant Director of Engineering at Kelvin Emtech and specialist in diesel products, tells us about the three most frequently encountered challenges for the maintenance of diesel facilities (generators) powering server rooms and data centres.

1.    Stay abreast of changing standards to obtain RBQ certification

Staying informed is key to meeting standards and reducing the risk of non-compliance. Standards on day tank ventilation and emergency ventilation of main storage tanks have changed significantly. These changes can be cause for confusion for owners and businesspeople alike. It is also important to choose diesel equipment carefully. If equipment does not meet CSA and/or API standards, the RBQ may not certify the facility. In uncertified facilities, substandard equipment could require unforeseen repairs and authorities could even shut down your operations.

2.    CSA B139 or C282? Make life easier and save fees!

First, determine the type of generator you need: Is it for emergency or back-up power?

Fire pumps, emergency lighting, elevators and smoke exhaust systems are examples of emergency equipment regulated by specific standards. A generator is considered emergency equipment if it must supply power to these life safety systems. In this case, generator specifications, details for installation and required maintenance are set out in CSA C282. This standard is stricter than B139.

For example, the day tank must be installed in the same room as the generator and have a minimum autonomy of two hours. The tank must supply only the generator.

In other cases, only B139 applies. This standard is more flexible and usually less costly than C282.

3.    Choosing your diesel carefully: The first step in quality maintenance

Diesel is the generator’s blood. Bad cholesterol can be harmful. Diesel is an organic matter that can even be considered to be alive up to certain point. Storing diesel in a tank for long periods (more than 12 months at 20° Celsius) quickly compromises the quality and allows sediment to form that damages the generator and can even cause it to stop functioning. Diesel quality can also vary depending on current demand. During the 1998 ice storm, for instance, the demand was so great that quality suffered and there were many deliveries of poor quality diesel. 

Another point to consider is that an increasing amount of plant-based ethanol is found in fuel as a result of changes to pollution control standards. Ethanol’s greater susceptibility to bacteria increases its rate of contamination.

For all these reasons, the technology behind fuel filtration systems (5‑micron filtration) has evolved remarkably.

It is best to install this system in a new facility, but you can also add it to an existing one.

How can we help you?

An engineering firm specialized in critical infrastructure, such as Kelvin Emtech, can help you with installing your new diesel facilities or updating existing ones to comply with new RBQ, CSA B139, CSA C282 and NFC requirements.

Kelvin Emtech offers the following services:

  • Auditing of existing facilities
  • Action plans for bringing facilities up to standard
  • Annual inspections
  • Guidance in selecting filtration systems
  • Plans and estimates for a new or replacement tank or generator
  • Maintenance management

For further information, contact Bruno Hébert, assistant director of engineering.


Information collected by Daniel Laurin, Eng., data centre consultant for Kelvin Emtech and founder of Siteplus, Inc.


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