Until recently Cardiff Bus used legacy underground storage tanks to provide fuel for their fleet of 300 buses. There was 320,000 litres of fuel storage capacity and the diesel was dispensed from three fuel islands each equipped with a forecourt pump. All fuel records were kept manually and fuel stock was managed with dipsticks.
This existing arrangement generated a great deal of clerical work in order to keep up with fuel duty rebates and provide management information. There were concerns about the condition of the below ground fuel tanks and pipes because of the age of the installation and fears that biofuel contamination would be difficult to deal with.
An opportunity to resolve these issues arose in 2010 when the garage was being reorganised. Cardiff Bus called in Vectec Ltd to come up with a solution.
There was an area of dead space at the back of the site. Vectec Ltd designed two bespoke bunded fuel tanks with a footprint that allowed 250,000 litres of fuel to be stored. These new tanks are fitted with a suction manifold arrangement enabling any fuel pump to draw from any tank. This suction manifold incorporates large Purefuel magnetic conditioners to treat the fuel against microbiological contamination before it enters the buses.
The tanks are fitted with Internet connected tank fuel level gauges with a display in the fill point cabinet. These fuel tank gauges use pressure probes to weigh the fuel to an accuracy of +/- 1% (much more accurate than the old dipsticks).
The fuel tanks are also fitted with overfill prevention valves, high level warning and bund alarms to provide a belt and braces solution to tanker overfills.
These fuel storage tanks are also equipped with an integral system to deal with biofuel problems. Each tank is fitted with a submersible pump which will process the entire fuel contents via a Purefuel conditioner. There is a facility to fit water/particle filtration devices into this system should it prove necessary in the future. All the equipment is controlled by programmable timers.
Vectec Ltd chose Monoflex pipe work laid in outer duct work for the suction lines to the fuel islands. This would allow the inner pipe to be changed if fuel technologies dictated in the future. Three fuel islands are now each fitted with twin speed 50 and 90 litre per minute fuel dispensers to cope with the varied bus fleet. These fuel dispensers controlled by a Vectec Delta Fuel Management System on each island.
An additional fuel island in the deep clean area contains a dispenser and a debowser to suck the fuel out of vehicles prior to disposal. This equipment us also controlled by a Vectec Delta Fuel Monitor.
All the buses are being fitted with data disks. To draw fuel the fueller touches the heavy duty reader unit onto the bus disk and then takes fuel from the pump. No other action is needed.
The Vectec Delta Fuel Management terminals and the Fuel Tank Gauge System are connected to secure servers in London Docklands via a GPRS link and Cardiff Bus have an application that they access via the Vectec Ltd website to produce reports and manage disks.
Additionally the data is exported from the Vectec server to the Total Fiscal Management database where it is post processed for automatic export to E.P.Morris and other stores packages. TFM will also accept a data stream from on-board devices to bring odometer and positional information into the system.
Completion and Result
On completion of the installation Vectec Ltd organised the decommissioning of the old fuel islands and foam filling of the old underground fuel tanks.
The site was commissioned in February 2011 and now provides Cardiff Bus with a safe and efficient refuelling process and automated data handling system.