Spotlight: Reformulated Cold-Weather Additive Bolsters BOSS Performance Diesel
June 17, 2022
Written By Adam Buckallew
Diesel gelling. Few phrases are more dreaded for anyone who runs a diesel-powered truck or equipment for a living throughout the winter months.
Gelling occurs when paraffin wax within diesel fuel solidifies and bonds together at extremely low temperatures. This is known as the fuel’s cloud point, which for No. 2 diesel is typically around 14°F. When fuel reaches its cloud point, it has a hazy appearance. As the wax particles grow larger and larger, they begin to restrict flow.
In an effort to reduce cold-weather issues faced in previous years, MFA Oil has reformulated the cold-weather additive in its BOSS™ Performance Diesel fuel.
Zach Studer, MFA Oil senior manager of distribution, procurement and quality control, said the cooperative worked with Mid-Continental Chemical (MCC) to evaluate more than 60 different formulations. The two companies began testing alternatives in 2019 and have completed hundreds of trials.
There are two essential components in the additive MCC has developed for MFA Oil: a cold flow improver (CFI) and a wax anti-settling agent (WASA). CFI works by changing the shape of the paraffin structure and breaking the waxy bonds into smaller particles, allowing them to pass through filters. When wax crystals begin to appear, they float around in the fuel, but as the temperature decreases, these crystals tend to sink to the bottom of the tank, forming a thick layer of dense wax. A WASA works by keeping these particles suspended in the fuel, prohibiting them from accumulating in the bottom of tanks. Fuels with high-quality cold-weather additives like BOSS can extend cold-weather operability down to around 0°F.
The new additive performed well this past winter, said Barry Oden, northeast and east central district manager for MFA Oil.
“The fuel performed as customers expected it would,” Oden said. “Customers don’t always tell us how good we’re doing, but they certainly will let us know if our products are not meeting their expectations. I’m proud to say we had zero complaints about the cold-weather performance of our diesel fuel in the first year after the reformulation.”
Studer said the goal of MFA Oil is to reduce and eventually eliminate the need to blend No. 2 diesel fuel with No. 1 diesel fuel at some of the co-op’s northern locations. Eliminating blends with No. 1 diesel fuel, which is more costly, would allow MFA Oil to pass fuel savings on to end-users.
“We are committed to working with MCC to proactively evaluate additive formulations that will best serve our members and customers,” Studer said. “We are always working on new formulations. As additive technology advances, we will continue to ensure we are at the forefront of the industry.”
While there are many diesel fuel options available to customers, Oden said it is hard to find a more complete fuel than BOSS. “We’ve got a high-quality fuel with the right combination of performance characteristics and protective additives that prevent downtime and costly repairs,” Oden said.