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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.

An opportunity to resolve these issues arose in 2010 when the garage was being reorganised. Cardiff Bus contacted Simon Fowler to come up with a solution and a new fuel installation design.

There was an area of dead space at the back of the site. Simon 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.

Simon recommended the buses be 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 installation was handled by Vectec Ltd. 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.