Fuel laundering, fuel adulteration and fuel smuggling combine to create a global problem for governments around the world. Not only does it deprive them of hundreds of millions of dollars of taxation revenues, it poses a burden to the environment and also to innocent motorists whose vehicles incur long-lasting damage. The cost in terms of policing, dismantling discovered plants, clean-up operations and the safe disposal of dumped toxic sludge — a by-product from such illegal operations — is also considerable.
In this latest blog, Tracerco explains how a fuel marking programme using non-launderable markers can address issues related to fuel quality, fuel subsidy abuse, fuel brand abuse and tax revenue losses.
*All images are copyright of Tracerco.
In the above figure, you can see all of the problems that can be addressed by a fully managed fuel marking programme. The inherent weaknesses associated with existing fuel dyes and fuel markers and the ease by which they can be completely removed (i.e. laundered out) are well known. Laundering techniques which are available in the public domain involve common absorbent materials such as bleaching earth, acid, charcoal and cat litter, treating with acid or base or distillation. Complete removal of these markers eliminates all forensic evidence that is crucial for successful criminal prosecutions. As operational costs are low in comparison to the selling price of taxed fuel, these illegal activities can generate millions of dollars in profit.
Science can be used in the war against fuel laundering. Tracerco’s suite of covert security markers can be incorporated into fuel to deter and prosecute fuel criminal activity. They cannot be removed by laundering, thus overcoming the key weakness of existing markers. Tracerco’s markers are covert, do not alter the appearance of fuel and are used at significantly lower levels compared with existing marker systems. They are engine friendly, less toxic and do not alter fuel quality, all facts that have been independently verified by accredited bodies. Tracerco’s markers make it possible to distinguish between oil types and jurisdictions. These markers remain with the fuel following laundering and, crucially, are easily detectable later in roadside tests.
Tracerco’s wide-ranging technology portfolio is bespoke to an individual client’s specific needs. With high levels of quantification accuracy and ultra-low limits of detection, the forensic evidence gathered by analysis of product samples can be used to challenge adulteration, smuggling and counterfeiting across a range of sectors. Our brand authentication technologies are also estimated to have helped customers to recover billions of dollars in lost revenues, subsidies and taxes.
All of our marker programmes are designed to address precise client requirements, helping to deliver brand protection, product authentication and taxation recovery. They range anywhere from straightforward marker system supply through to full turnkey project management.
Please contact us if you would like to know more about our fuel marker technology or would like to discuss a potential application with one of our technical advisors.