Best Diesel Additive for Algae: How To Remove Algae

Diesel Additive for Algae

There are several reputable brands that offer diesel additives specifically designed to combat microbial growth, often referred to as “algae” in diesel fuel. Some of these brands include:

  1. Biobor JF:
    • Effectiveness: It’s a powerful biocide that specifically targets and kills bacteria and fungi in fuel systems. Its formulation is designed to penetrate and break down microbial cells, effectively eliminating them from the fuel.
  2. Power Service Diesel Kleen +Cetane Boost:
    • Effectiveness: While primarily focused on cleaning and boosting engine performance, its formulation also includes components that inhibit microbial growth, thereby preventing the buildup of harmful microorganisms.
  3. Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment:
    • Effectiveness: This additive uses a unique enzyme technology that breaks down sludge and microbial byproducts. Enzymes disrupt the life cycle of microbes, preventing their proliferation in the fuel tank.
  4. Stanadyne Performance Formula:
    • Effectiveness: Known for its comprehensive approach to fuel treatment, it improves fuel quality which indirectly helps in reducing conditions favorable for microbial growth. Some formulations may include specific biocidal agents.
  5. Lucas Fuel Treatment:
    • Effectiveness: By cleaning and lubricating the fuel system, it reduces moisture and deposits where microbes might thrive. Though not a primary biocide, it creates conditions less favorable for microbial life.
  6. Sea Foam Motor Treatment:
    • Effectiveness: It’s primarily a cleaning agent, but its ability to control moisture in the fuel system is crucial. By reducing water content, it lowers the risk of microbial growth, as these organisms need water to thrive.
  7. Archoil AR6200:
    • Effectiveness: While focusing on fuel quality and engine performance, it also helps in keeping the fuel system clean and free of deposits that could harbor microbial growth. The improved combustion and reduced emissions indirectly reduce conditions conducive to microbial proliferation.

Remember, the effectiveness of these additives can vary based on your specific diesel engine and the severity of the microbial contamination. It’s always a good idea to refer to your engine’s manual or consult with a professional mechanic for the best choice for your needs.

Read related article: DPF Cleaner Additive: Choosing the Right One for Your Diesel

How Do You Choose The Best Additives

Choosing the best diesel additive to combat algae (more accurately, microbial contamination like bacteria and fungi) in your fuel system involves several considerations. Here’s a guide to help you select the most effective additive for your needs:

  1. Identify the Problem:
    • Determine Contamination Level: First, assess the level of microbial contamination in your fuel. If you’re experiencing frequent filter clogging, sludge formation, or fuel discoloration, these are signs of significant microbial growth.
    • Lab Testing: For a precise assessment, consider sending a fuel sample to a laboratory for microbial testing.
  2. Type of Biocide:
    • Water-soluble vs. Oil-soluble: Choose between water-soluble and oil-soluble biocides based on where the contamination is most prevalent. Water-soluble biocides are effective against microbes in the water phase, while oil-soluble biocides target those in the fuel.
    • Active Ingredients: Look for active ingredients known for their efficacy, such as isothiazolinones, glutaraldehyde, or thiadiazine compounds.
  3. Compatibility with Your Fuel and Engine:
    • Ensure that the additive is compatible with the type of diesel fuel you are using and is safe for your specific engine model.
    • Some additives may have additional benefits, like cetane boosters or corrosion inhibitors, which might be beneficial depending on your engine’s requirements.
  4. Concentration and Dosage:
    • Check the recommended concentration and dosage of the additive. It’s crucial to use the correct amount for it to be effective without causing any harm to the fuel system.
    • The severity of the contamination will dictate the necessary concentration.
  5. Safety and Handling:
    • Consider the safety and environmental impact of the biocide. Ensure you can handle and store it safely, following the manufacturer’s guidelines.
    • Look for products with clear instructions and safety warnings.
  6. Brand Reputation and Reviews:
    • Research different brands and read customer reviews and testimonials. Well-established brands with positive reviews are often a safer choice.
    • Seek recommendations from industry professionals or peers who have faced similar issues.
  7. Cost vs. Benefit Analysis:
    • While cost is a factor, the cheapest option may not always be the most effective. Consider the long-term benefits of effectively treating the contamination versus the initial cost of the additive.

Remember, preventing microbial growth is also about regular maintenance, including keeping water out of your fuel system, regular fuel filtering, and tank cleaning. Regular use of an effective diesel additive as part of your maintenance routine can help in managing microbial contamination effectively.

What Additives Can Stop Algae in Diesel Fuel?

To effectively combat microbial growth in diesel fuel, often referred to as “algae,” specific additives are used. These additives typically contain biocides or other chemical agents that inhibit or eliminate microbial life. The effectiveness of these additives is often measured and quantified in technical terms, which include:

  1. Biocide Concentration: The concentration of biocidal chemicals is key. It’s usually measured in parts per million (ppm). Effective treatments might range from 200 to 1000 ppm, depending on the severity of the microbial contamination and the specific biocide used.
  2. Minimum Inhibitory Concentration (MIC): This is the lowest concentration of an antimicrobial agent that will inhibit the visible growth of a microorganism after overnight incubation. MIC values are crucial for determining the effectiveness of a biocide.
  3. Water Dispersible Formulations: Since water in diesel fuel is a breeding ground for microbes, additives that are water dispersible are effective in reaching the microbe-water interface. Their efficiency is often measured by their solubility or dispersibility in water, ensuring they target the microbes effectively.
  4. pH Stability: The pH level at which an additive is effective is also important. Most biocides are effective within a certain pH range, and their performance can be measured by how well they maintain their biocidal properties across different pH levels.
  5. Flash Point: This refers to the lowest temperature at which the vapors of the additive ignite when given an ignition source. It’s crucial for safety and handling purposes, especially in volatile environments.
  6. Compatibility with Fuel Specifications: Additives should not adversely affect the fuel’s properties, such as cetane number, viscosity, and sulfur content. Their compatibility is measured by assessing these properties before and after additive treatment.
  7. Dosage and Treatment Frequency: The amount of additive required per volume of fuel, often given in ml per liter or gallon, and the frequency of treatment, are critical for ongoing algae control.

Common biocidal chemicals used in these additives include Isothiazolinones, Quaternary Ammonium Compounds, and various Oxazolidines. It’s important to follow manufacturer guidelines and safety data sheets for proper usage and handling.

How Do You Remove Algae from Diesel?

Removing algae from diesel fuel involves a multi-step process, often requiring both chemical treatment and mechanical action. Here’s a technical breakdown of the steps involved:

  1. Identification and Assessment:
    • First, it’s essential to confirm the presence of microbial contamination (often referred to as “algae”) in the diesel fuel.
    • This can be done through visual inspection (looking for sludge or discoloration) and laboratory testing to measure microbial counts.
  2. Water Removal:
    • Since water in fuel is a primary factor in microbial growth, the initial step is to eliminate as much water as possible from the fuel system.
    • This can be done using water separators or fuel coalescers. The efficiency of water removal is often measured in ppm (parts per million).
  3. Chemical Treatment with Biocides:
    • After water removal, the next step is to add a biocidal diesel additive. These additives kill the existing microbes in the fuel.
    • The concentration of biocide is critical and is typically measured in ppm. The exact concentration and treatment duration depend on the severity of the contamination and the specific product used.
  4. Fuel Polishing:
    • This process involves circulating the fuel through a series of filters to remove contaminants, including dead microbes and any residual water.
    • The effectiveness of fuel polishing is often gauged by the cleanliness level of the fuel, which can be assessed by particle count or ISO cleanliness codes.
  5. Fuel System Cleaning:
    • It’s also necessary to clean the entire fuel system, including tanks, lines, and filters, to remove any residual sludge and biofilm.
    • This may involve mechanical scrubbing or the use of specialized cleaning agents.
  6. Regular Monitoring and Maintenance:
    • After treatment, regular monitoring of fuel and fuel system for water content and microbial growth is crucial.
    • Scheduled maintenance, including regular checks and additive treatments, can prevent future microbial growth.
  7. Safety and Environmental Considerations:
    • It’s important to handle biocides and cleaning agents safely, following manufacturer guidelines and environmental regulations.
    • Proper disposal of contaminated filters and fluids should be ensured to prevent environmental contamination.

Each step in this process plays a crucial role in effectively removing algae from diesel fuel. The choice of biocides and the methods used for water removal and fuel polishing should be tailored to the specific type of fuel system and the extent of contamination.

What Kills Bacteria in Diesel Fuel?

To kill bacteria in diesel fuel, specialized chemical agents known as biocides are used. These biocides are specifically formulated to target and eliminate microbial life, including bacteria and fungi, in fuel systems. Here are some key aspects and examples of biocides used for this purpose:

  1. Types of Biocides:
    • Soluble Biocides: These are water-soluble and are effective in targeting bacteria and fungi that thrive in the water-fuel interface. Examples include isothiazolinones and glutaraldehyde.
    • Insoluble Biocides: These are oil-soluble and are used to treat bacteria and fungi present in the fuel phase. An example is the thiadiazine compound.
  2. Mode of Action:
    • Biocides work by disrupting the cell walls of the microorganisms or interfering with their metabolic processes, leading to their death.
    • The effectiveness of a biocide is determined by its concentration (usually in ppm – parts per million), contact time with the microbes, and the specific type of microorganism present.
  3. Dosage and Application:
    • The dosage of biocide depends on the severity of the bacterial contamination and the volume of the fuel to be treated.
    • It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for the correct dosage to ensure effectiveness and prevent any potential damage to the fuel system.
  4. Safety and Environmental Considerations:
    • Handling biocides requires safety precautions as they can be hazardous to human health and the environment.
    • Proper storage and disposal according to regulatory guidelines are essential to minimize environmental impact.
  5. Regular Monitoring and Maintenance:
    • Regular testing of fuel for microbial contamination is crucial to detect and address bacterial growth early.
    • Continuous monitoring helps in determining the appropriate time for biocide application.

Using biocides is a common and effective method to control bacterial growth in diesel fuel. However, it’s part of a broader approach that includes maintaining fuel quality, managing water contamination, and regular fuel system maintenance.

How Long Does Diesel Biocide Take To Work?

The effectiveness and the time it takes for a diesel biocide to work can vary depending on several factors. Generally, most diesel biocides start to act against bacteria and fungi in the fuel system within 24 to 48 hours after being added. However, several key factors can influence this timeframe:

  1. Type of Biocide: Different biocides have different mechanisms of action. Some may act more quickly than others. Soluble biocides typically act faster as they can more readily come into contact with the microbes.
  2. Concentration of Biocide: The effectiveness is also dependent on the concentration used. Higher concentrations may work faster, but it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s recommended dosages to avoid potential fuel system damage.
  3. Level of Contamination: The severity of the microbial contamination in the diesel fuel can affect how long the biocide takes to work. Heavy contamination may require more time or a higher concentration of biocide.
  4. Fuel System Size and Complexity: In larger or more complex fuel systems, it might take longer for the biocide to circulate and come into contact with all the contaminated areas.
  5. Temperature and Storage Conditions: The temperature and conditions under which the fuel is stored can also impact the efficacy of the biocide. Some biocides are more effective at higher temperatures.
  6. Mixing and Distribution: Proper mixing and distribution of the biocide in the fuel are crucial for its effectiveness. Incomplete mixing might result in longer times for the biocide to act uniformly throughout the system.
  7. Microbial Species Present: Different species of bacteria and fungi may have varying levels of susceptibility to a particular biocide. Some hardy strains might take longer to be fully eradicated.

In practice, while initial effects can be seen within a day or two, a full treatment cycle, including subsequent fuel filtration and system checks, might extend over a week or more. It’s also important to retest the fuel after treatment to ensure that the microbial contamination has been effectively controlled.


Choosing the right diesel additive for combating algae, or more accurately microbial contamination, is a crucial aspect of maintaining the health and efficiency of your diesel engine. The key lies in understanding the nature of the contamination, selecting an appropriate biocide type, ensuring compatibility with your specific fuel and engine, and adhering to the recommended concentrations and safety guidelines.

With the wide range of products available, prioritizing reputable brands and considering the long-term benefits over immediate costs will lead to more effective results.

Regular maintenance, including diligent water management and fuel system care, in conjunction with the use of a suitable diesel additive, is the best strategy to keep your diesel engine free from harmful microbial growth and operating at its best.

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