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Old 01-24-2017, 12:00 PM   #1
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Centrifuge separator

Hi everybody,

I have placed an order this morning to fit a centrifuge separator to make my diesel better. I tried to find infos about these products, not many on the internet.
For a small boat, under 65', Alfa Laval MIB 303 and Westfalia OTC 2 look to be a reliable and "affordable" product. The french division of Alfa Laval was not ok to give serious discount, Westfalia more fair and "locally" made, with a compact machine and footprint, I have made this choice.
The machine can clean max 1000 Liters/ hour, run with 230 or 400 V three phases.
I plan to integrate the centrifuge in my fuel polishing system ( Gulf coast filter F1 ) using the pump fitted with the F1. (I have also two F1 as primary filters). I know these products are well known in US. I am happy with it but I expect to have an "ultimate" filtration with centrifugal action ( last year in the Netherlands, we had a serious bug with diesel!)
I will appreciate any advice or recommandation about these centrifuge separator or puriefer!
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Old 01-24-2017, 12:54 PM   #2
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Alfa Laval is pretty nice. I've worked with them on much larger applications than yours. Key to success is the right filters and plumbing before and after the centrifuge. Gulf Coast is not included in my desires for the right filters. Kinda like a 1/2" anchor chain and 1/4" swivel. IMHO you should use Racors or spin ons in conjunction with the AL.

Rick B who used to be on this site is an expert to communicate with on how to do it right for boats. My experience was to "inherit" the right (yes, there is indeed right and wrong) centrifuge setup and be happy.
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Old 01-24-2017, 01:21 PM   #3
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I've also used the larger Alfa Laval centrifuges to make diesel from light crude oil, although I'm not familiar with that model. The ones I used separated and removed the heaviest 1-3% of components (depending on orifice size selected) so a waste tank was required rather than filters.
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Old 01-24-2017, 05:47 PM   #4
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We used Centrifuges to clean turbine lube oil in power plants. Real pia to disassemble clean and reassemble. If it malfunctions you can dump a lot of oil in a hurry! Got to where we only used them for water contamination. Filters for everything else.
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Old 01-24-2017, 08:01 PM   #5
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If youve placed the order its a bit late to ask!!
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Old 01-24-2017, 08:46 PM   #6
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That is a lot of machinery and effort and cost to do what a filter can do. And do you already have three phase power on board? Is this going to require running a genset just for filtration, an at how many kW?
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Old 01-25-2017, 01:43 AM   #7
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We have Alfa Laval and are very happy. I have never used GEA/Westfalia, but I'm not aware of any issues with them.
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Old 01-25-2017, 03:18 AM   #8
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@Band B,

Glad to have a positive report about these machines. I read differents comments on "Passagemaker magazine" about that and difference between spin on centrifuge with filters and real centrifugation. I know it is mostly used on commercial and fishing vessels but they have good reasons.I carry 8300 Liters aboard and sail oftenly offshore, that means 100% reliability concerning fuel quality.About the three phases, not a big deal and considering 400 L / hours. As well, here in Europe, diesel is expansive and we try to refill where it is cheaper ( Guernesey Channel islands, Gibraltar etc) so more risks to have problems because of the quantity of fuel aboard not immediatly burned.
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Old 01-25-2017, 11:15 AM   #9
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@Band B,

Glad to have a positive report about these machines. I read differents comments on "Passagemaker magazine" about that and difference between spin on centrifuge with filters and real centrifugation. I know it is mostly used on commercial and fishing vessels but they have good reasons.I carry 8300 Liters aboard and sail oftenly offshore, that means 100% reliability concerning fuel quality.About the three phases, not a big deal and considering 400 L / hours. As well, here in Europe, diesel is expansive and we try to refill where it is cheaper ( Guernesey Channel islands, Gibraltar etc) so more risks to have problems because of the quantity of fuel aboard not immediatly burned.
It only has to save you from a problem one time. If we were ICW boaters and always coastal cruisers we wouldn't see the need, although one time we saw bad fuel was on the coast. I would suggest one more thing since you are serious about your fuel and you have encountered issues. That is to check the fuel before filling. This is relatively inexpensive to do and takes less than five minutes when filling. It's saved us issues three times now as it did once on the loop too.

Here are examples:

Diesel Fuel Tests | Fleet Fuel Testing

Diesel Fuel Test Kit | Fast & easy test for Diesel contamination

Oh, and for those concerned about ethanol in gas, when you're told it's ethanol free:

Ethanol Fuel Testing | Ethanol in Gas
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Old 01-28-2017, 05:03 AM   #10
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It only has to save you from a problem one time. If we were ICW boaters and always coastal cruisers we wouldn't see the need, although one time we saw bad fuel was on the coast. I would suggest one more thing since you are serious about your fuel and you have encountered issues. That is to check the fuel before filling. This is relatively inexpensive to do and takes less than five minutes when filling. It's saved us issues three times now as it did once on the loop too.

Here are examples:

Diesel Fuel Tests | Fleet Fuel Testing

Diesel Fuel Test Kit | Fast & easy test for Diesel contamination

Oh, and for those concerned about ethanol in gas, when you're told it's ethanol free:

Ethanol Fuel Testing | Ethanol in Gas
Thanks for the links. The truth is that it is not always easy to ask to the driver of the truck who deliver the fuel to control before filling. I remember in Malta, a driver gave me a sample to give evidence that fuel was good quality, but everything is possible including fill with 10% of water!
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Old 01-28-2017, 06:12 AM   #11
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There is a sister ship to us that installed one and has had more problems with it than the fuel it's designed to clean.

The approach that has worked for us is fuel planning and prevention. We don't búnker more than 3 months worth of fuel on board. We can carry over 9000 liters in 5 tanks but we've only done that for a short periods of time. The one time we had a fuel quality issue our filtration system was able to deal with it underway while offshore.
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Old 01-28-2017, 06:18 AM   #12
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Very familiar with centrifugal purifiers. Standard equipment for ships...however I don't think they are suitable at all for leisure craft.
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Old 01-28-2017, 07:38 AM   #13
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The dichotomy I have with this thread is that the OP had difficulties with a fuel system that relied upon a Gulf Coast filter system of unknown to us design. Add to that buying fuel in far off ports where quality iffy. Tough to give absolute advice.
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Old 01-28-2017, 11:51 AM   #14
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Thanks for your comment Sunchaser. With my displacment yacht, one heavy duty engine and planning motoring offshore for several days and nights, I prefer 100% security. In french , we say "ceinture et bretelles!". I know that fishermen use it a lot 24h/ day with heavy fuel heated before coming to the centrifuge and the day tank. Modern engines on our leisure yachts do not let chances to hazardous treatments.( I have had a very bad experience in the Netherlands...)
I have not seen these "small" machines in real: weight is more or less 60 kg, footprint quite small for a leisure yacht engine room. Voltage is 230V or 400 V of course with three phases. My boat is " a copy" of Nordhavn design with manifolds design to transfer fuel from one tank to another ( 3) and recirculate through a fuel polishing system, in fact a fuel filter with a 120 US gal pump. I will integrate this centrifuge after the pump to have choice ( centrifuge puriefer/ separator or big filter).
Two small models are filling the "niche market" : Alfa Laval MIB 803 and Westfalia OTC 2.
I have also aboard an lube oil polisher connected directly to the engine, very efficient.
About centrifugal separator for leisure boats, there is a very instructive chronicle written by Steve d'Antonio ( Passage maker magazine) but I cannot manage the link!
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Old 01-28-2017, 01:08 PM   #15
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I use a centrifuge for engine oil. My engine drains are plumbed to a gear pump and holding tank. I do the oil in batches after a long run when the oil is hot. Them return it to the engine. My oil tests come out as near new oil.
In a lifetime around diesels I used many filtering methods to lengthen engine life. This has been the best. Oil come out transparent. I use a US Filtermax: https://usfiltermaxx.com/en/ Also on ebay.
Single phase, 120/240, about $1500-2500 depending on model. It cleans better in 30 minutes than the filter sized centrifuges do in days.
I don't do my fuel. My Detroit mains pump about 70 gallons an hour (engines burn 9). With proper biocide/conditioner and filters, the fuel is always clean. I use a 2 micron in the primary Racors and the 10 micron secondary never gets dirty. No sluge, I've been in the tanks.
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Old 01-28-2017, 01:20 PM   #16
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I use a centrifuge for engine oil. My engine drains are plumbed to a gear pump and holding tank. I do the oil in batches after a long run when the oil is hot. Them return it to the engine. My oil tests come out as near new oil.
In a lifetime around diesels I used many filtering methods to lengthen engine life. This has been the best. Oil come out transparent. I use a US Filtermax: https://usfiltermaxx.com/en/ Also on ebay.
Single phase, 120/240, about $1500-2500 depending on model. It cleans better in 30 minutes than the filter sized centrifuges do in days.
I don't do my fuel. My Detroit mains pump about 70 gallons an hour (engines burn 9). With proper biocide/conditioner and filters, the fuel is always clean. I use a 2 micron in the primary Racors and the 10 micron secondary never gets dirty. No sluge, I've been in the tanks.
How much do you see collected and removed as a result of using the centrifuge? I would think in some ways it's almost like having an onside oil test as you can quickly observe if anything is going on with your oil.
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Old 01-29-2017, 10:42 PM   #17
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Filtermax is a completely different thing to what the op is purchasing
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Old 01-30-2017, 01:07 AM   #18
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How much do you see collected and removed as a result of using the centrifuge? I would think in some ways it's almost like having an onside oil test as you can quickly observe if anything is going on with your oil.
When I bought my boat I knew the engines needed overhaul and hadn't had good care for a long time. The oil was thick, etc. I started using the centrifuge before overhauling to get as much crud out of the engines before new parts go in. Once the engine was clean, in 100 hours running time and 12 gallons of oil might fill a dixie cup with sludge and compressed dirt. With new parts, about a shot glass. Sludge is mostly a mix of water and soot and drains whenever the centrifuge is stopped. Dirt is impacted on the drum and has to be scraped off. When the engines were old, with lots of blowby, I'd get about a pint of sludge and 1/2 cup of scraped out dirt per Detroit 671. Blowby seems to put a lot of water in the oil.
Yes, it's like a oil test. The inside drum would show metal easily. Deposited dirt is like a very thick, gritty paste. I use to keep the oil separate but now drain and run all the engines oil together. I run the oil flow slow, to get a better clean. About 30 minutes to drain 2-3 engines and run 15 gallons. I only have the engine drains plumbed. As the oil comes out of the centrifuge I transfer it back manually. I didn't want to use the drain lines for clean oil.
Everything the centrifuge catches would still be passing through the engine and oil filter.
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Old 01-30-2017, 08:46 AM   #19
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I do not have any experience with the fuel centrifuges - when I was involved in commercial fuel tank cleaning the jobs were way to big to utilize those types of equipment. I do have a bunch of years of experience with centrifuges on our main boat engines which were used in conjunction with the oil filters. When I first bought the boat from the PO I would get at least 1/4" of crud off of the centrifuge drum that was about 3" tall and 2" in diameter - quite a lot of contaminants captured there. After a couple of oil changes that amount decreased to about 1/3 of the original. that to me was still surprising given the oil change intervals and the appearance and test results of the oil. Here is a diagram of the lube oil centrifuges I had in a few boats on the mains -wish I could get them on newer engines as well....


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Old 01-30-2017, 09:06 AM   #20
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Quote:
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We used Centrifuges to clean turbine lube oil in power plants. Real pia to disassemble clean and reassemble. If it malfunctions you can dump a lot of oil in a hurry! Got to where we only used them for water contamination. Filters for everything else.
Yes, those oil centrifuges are difficult to clean. Cummins Filtration now has a disposable replacement for some Alfa Laval/ Cummins engines. Fully disposable and can be incinerated.
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