Fuel Bowsers

Trailer Engineering’s Fuel Bowser Guide

Fuel bowsers are used in various industries for a range of reasons due to their remarkable adaptability. A fuel bowser is a trailer with a tank capable of transporting diesel, kerosene, aviation fuel, or gasoline.

They're commonly used to store and transport fuel for a wide range of situations, including building sites, event management, and agricultural applications.

What Are Fuel Bowsers?

Fuel bowsers are what we call portable fuel tankers. The tankers are specially designed to facilitate the transportation of kerosene and diesel - amongst other liquid substances.

There are a few different types of fuel bowsers, including bunded bowsers, diesel and  fuel cubes, on-site and towing bowsers, and AdBlue/DEF.

Fuel Bowsers: How Do They Work

Bowsers make it easy and efficient for a range of vehicles to transport. They are designed to transport liquids across sites or on roads. Bowsers are designed with durability in mind, so they are easy to tow.

When it comes to highway towable bowsers, they may be hauled on the highway with the cargo. Highway towable bowsers are equipped with a breakaway feature if the trailer becomes detached from the towbar by accident. The system activates the brakes when this occurs, bringing the bowser to a complete stop.

Once the bowser is filled, the caps and lids will be securely closed. Bowsers carrying fuel will be fitted with a standard trigger nozzle.

The Benefits Fuel Bowsers Provide

Fuel bowsers have a wide range of benefits spanning multiple industries; although there may be some variation in the purpose and usage, they generally have the same benefits.

Providing A Secure and Efficient Fuel Transport Solution

Fuel bowsers are designed to be durable and safe to use. One of the most significant benefits of using a fuel bowser is that they are almost impossible to penetrate - meaning they are the ideal solution to preventing theft of fuel on-site.

Fuel bowsers are also designed to withstand a range of different weather types and temperatures.

ADR & U.N. Certified Fuel Tanks

If you are looking to tow a fuel bowser on a public highway, you must ensure that your fuel bowsers have the correct EU highway approvals. Additionally, you must also make sure that your fuel bowser’s tank is ADR and U.N certified, as this certification is required to ensure the safe transportation of fuel. All of our fuel bowsers come with a 10-year U.N. certification, one of the most significant advantages.

This sort of accreditation indicates that you may use our fuel bowsers on all public roadways, making them easy to transport. This certification also provides you with peace of mind knowing that our fuel bowsers are manufactured to the highest quality, with durability and safety being the main focus.

Find out more about our ADR & U.N certified fuel bowsers by clicking here or by getting in touch with a member of our friendly, experienced and highly skilled team today on +44(0)1384 564765 or by emailing our team at sales@trailereng.com.

Why Cleaner Fuel?

We are the only company to offer a Polyethylene inner receptacle on our bunded fuel tanks with a three-year guarantee(see terms and conditions) fully U.N certified and fully approved for ten years and can be transported by road, sea, air and rail.

What makes our fuel tanks and bowsers unique and a better alternative to steel saving on weight, less condensation and completely rust free.

The testing procedure is made very simple as we use a poly corrosion-free seamless tank, you have no seams to check for leaks, no rust to look for in-tank as it is completely corrosion-free. For more information on the testing procedure, we use on all our fuel browsers, check out our service information page as well as our testing procedure video.

Don’t Wait, Enquire Today!

Why wait, check out our vast range of high-quality fuel bowsers, suitable for a wide range of industries and applications above. You can also enquire about our range of fuel bowsers today using our simple contact form below. Alternatively, you can contact a member of our experienced and friendly team on +44(0)1384 564765 or by emailing sales@trailereng.com.

    Fuel Bowser FAQs

    Towing Bowsers on the Road:

    With regard to Towing our Bowsers on the public highways, they must have EU Highway Approvals. Our EU Highway bowsers are certified and approved to be towed on public highways.

    Highway towable bowsers have braked axles, mudguards, road-legal lighting, suspension and are designed and approved to be towed on public highways. On a road going trailer, it should be equipped with a breakaway system that uses a cable running from the coupling to the towing vehicle so that if the trailer becomes unhitched the cable will come under tension activating the brakes and bring the trailer/bowser to a stop. 

    When towing a fuel bowser on the public highway you will also need to ensure the fuel bowser's tank is ADR / U.N certified as this by-law is the certification needed to ensure safe transit of fuel. The fuel bowser's bund needs to be 110% of the contents of the inner tank to meet environmental standards. For a bowser to get ADR / U.N certifications, the manufacturer will send the bowser to a government regulator to undergo several testing procedures ensuring the fuel bowser is safe for transport of fuel.

    When towing a fuel bowser full of fuel you may tow up to 1000 litres under U.N. certification. Any bowser carrying more than 1000 litres of fuel on the public highway will require the driver to have an ADR licence. However, you can still tow a 2140 litre fuel bowser on the public highway without an ADR licence as long as the fuel bowsers contents are not above 1000 litres of fuel.

    Can I Tow a Fuel Bowser on the Road?

    Diesel Bowsers – You can tow up to 1000 Litre without having an ADR licence. You may need a towing licence depending on your age and when you passed your driving test.

    Fuel Bowsers over 1000 Litres require an ADR licence to tow the Bowser, you may also need a ‘towing’ licence. (see towing regulations)

    It is important to check that your tow vehicle is suitable to tow the weight of a fuel bowser/trailer. Most cars will have a maximum weight limit that they can tow, you will find the vehicles Gross Train Weight listed on the vehicles handbook, specification sheet or on the VIN plate (vehicle identification number) which can be located either under the bonnet or inside the driver's door. The vehicle Gross Train Weight must not be exceeded and if the vehicles VIN plate does not list a Gross Train Weight it is not suitable for towing. The Gross Train Weight is the weight of a fully-loaded vehicle and the weight of a fully-loaded trailer combined. To find out the weight of a fuel bowser full use the calculation of 1 litre of diesel = 0.82 Kg and add that to the weight of the fuel bowser. The gross weight of a fuel bowser will be found on the trailers serial number plate. 

    You can tow trailers on the road with a maximum width of 2.55 metres and for vehicles that weigh up to 3,500Kg, the maximum length of trailer that can be towed is 7 metres excluding the length of the A-frame. 

    Do I need a license to tow a trailer?

    If you passed your car driving test on or after 1 January 1997 you can:

    • Drive a car or van up to 3,500kg maximum authorised mass (MAM) towing a trailer of up to 750kg MAM
    • Tow a trailer over 750kg MAM as long as the combined MAM of the trailer and towing vehicle is no more than 3,500kg
    • Under U.N. certification, when towing a fuel bowser full of fuel, you may tow up to 1000 litres. If you are towing a bowser that is carrying more than 1000 litres of fuel on a public highway, a driver will require an ADR licence. You can still tow a 2140 litre fuel bowser on public highways without an ADR licence as long as the contents of the fuel bowser are not above the 1000 litre of fuel limit.

    Valid Driving Licence issued before 1 January 1997:

    If you passed your car driving test before 1 January 1997 you are usually allowed to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to 8,250kg MAM. View your driving licence information to check.

    You’re also allowed to drive a minibus with a trailer over 750kg MAM, (check on any tests required dependent on usage etc) with a valid driving licence.

    The towing widths and lengths are that you can tow trailers on the road with a maximum width of 2.55 metres and for vehicles that weigh up to 3,500 Kg the maximum length of trailer that can be towed is 7 metres excluding the length of the A-frame. It is crucially important to ensure the trailer is certified for towing on the public highway and that the trailer is maintained and being used correctly as you may be fined up to £2,500, get banned from driving and get 3 penalty points on your licence for not meeting safety standards.

    All tow bars fitted to a vehicle after 1st August 1998 need to be by law Type-approved and labelled with its approval number and a list of vehicles that tow bar is suitable for. 

    All trailers being towed must by law display the towing vehicles number plate on the rear of the trailer.  

    Is the ADR fuel bowser road exemption still in place?

    As of Thursday 9th, May 2019 the 15-year exemption on fuel bowsers that do not adhere to ADR road carriage requirements will have expired.

    This means if you transport fuel in a bowser that is classed as a tank rather than an IBC (intermediate bulk container) or was manufactured before 10th May 2004 you will no longer be permitted to transport them on the public highway.

    How do I find out if my bowser is legal?

    There are several ways you can find out if your bowser is legal or not, we have listed a few here:

    If your bowser was manufactured from 2004 onwards 

    All bowsers manufactured and sold after 2004 should be type-approved to meet IBC standards and ADR regulations including U.N. certification.

    Is the bowser 110% bunded?

    Under the new regulations all bowsers must be able to hold 110% of its own contents, This means if you own a single skinned bowser it is no longer legal for transportation of fuel on public roads.

    Does your bowser have a certification? 

    Upon purchase of a new bowser you should receive documentation stating whether the bowser is classed as a tank or IBC. On the bowser there should be a U.N packaging symbol and codes that identify the type of IBC it is. All of Trailer Engineering's fuel bowsers are certified under the U.N certification for up to 10 years. (After 10 years you can simply replace the inner receptacle)

    Has the bowser been pressure tested?

    IBC's require external inspections and a pressure test every 30 months to ensure they are safe for the road. All pressure tests must be recorded and documented as the Department of Transport may inspect your bowser at any point. If you do not hold the records of each test your bowser will not comply with the ADR / U.N regulations.

    What does the new Fuel Bowser legislation cover?

    Bowsers classed as tanks will still be allowed to be moved on private sites however they will not be allowed to be transported on the public highway.

    All fuel transportation must meet IBC standards under the ADR / U.N. certification and be designed to meet EU Environmental Regulations to reduce the risk of accidental spillage and environmental contamination.

    The new legislation was introduced because in 2004 diesel and gas oil was reclassified as flammable and combustible liquids, because of this reclassification new road carriage requirements were also introduced by the ADR regulators to ensure these fuels can be transported safely on the public highway. There was a 15 year exemption time period for companies to adapt to the new laws however the 15-year exemption came to an end on the 9th of May 2019 meaning all transportable fuel bowsers must now be certified under the new ADR / U.N certifications. 

    How do I pressure test a fuel or water bowser?

    What is a Bunded Fuel Bowser?

    A Bunded Fuel Bowser is a tank that has an inner tank for storage of contents such as Diesel, JetA1, Oil, or AdBlue and is surrounded by an outer tank (Bund) to prevent spillage of the contents. All Fuel Bowsers must have a Bund that is capable of holding 110% of the contents of the inner tank to meet environmental standards. If you are going to transport a Fuel Bowser on the public highway then by Law it must have U.N or ADR certifications. Trailer Engineering offers a full range of Fuel Bowsers that are U.N certified and can be supplied as a skid base tank, road tow Fuel Bowser, site tow Fuel Bowser or a Fuel cube.

    1000L Jet A1 EU Spec 2140-Litre-U.N.-Approved-Bunded-Diesel-Twin-Axle-EU-Highway-Bowser2 950-Litre-UN-Approved-Bunded-Diesel-Skid-Base-2
    How does a Fuel Bowser work?

    To fill a fuel bowser you will need to open the vent valve on the top of the tank and then remove the 2" fill cap and start pumping into the bowser. Once you have finished filling the fuel bowser, simply screw the fill cap back on to the 2" fill point and close the vent valve. The fuel bowser will have a Pressure Relief Valve (set at 2psi) to allow any pressure created by fumes to escape the tank. To pump the contents out of the fuel bowser simply open the vent valve, then open the ball valve located at the bottom of the tank to allow the fuel to flow freely to the pump, depending on which pump options your bowser has depends on the operating procedure of that pump. Once you have fuel going through the pump it will travel from the pump to a trigger nozzle which you can then fuel your machinery and equipment. Some fuel bowsers will have additional equipment such as filters which will be located in between the pump and the trigger nozzle, that will need to be maintained over time to ensure a clean supply of fuel.

    What is a Fuel Bowser made from?

    Trailer Engineering produces the world's most unique fuel bowsers because they use a polyethylene inner tank to ensure the cleanest possible storage of fuel, secured in a 3mm steel bund with a lockable rear door to protect the pumping equipment. Each fuel bowser can be customised to suit the customer's requirements. Trailer Engineering also manufactures the Polycube, a competitive alternative to the fuel cube also known as a transcube. Constructed from Polyethylene for its inner and outer tanks, secured in a galvanised 5mm steel frame and a galvanised 3mm Lid.

    All of Trailer Engineering's range of fuel Bowsers are fully U.N certified for ten years.

    What pumps and options are available on fuel bowsers?

    Trailer Engineering offer a full range of fuel bowser with pump options including hand pump, 12v electric pump, 24v electric pump, 110v electric pump, 240v electric pump and a 1" Honda petrol powered Diesel pump. Other pump options available to suit every application upon request.

    Standard fuel bowser pump options include:

    Pump Description

    Piusi Panther 56 Electric Diesel Transfer Pump

    240 or 110 pump set up Fuel Bowsers Trailer Engineering

    This electric-powered diesel transfer pump is perfect for refuelling vehicles and equipment whilst using a fuel bowser, its features include:

    • Self-priming diesel fuel transfer pump
    • Sintered steel rotor & acetal resin vanes
    • Cast iron pump body with anti-corrosion paint
    • Incorporated bypass valve & Viton lip seal
    • Flow rate: 56 litres Per Minute
    • On/off switch
    • Continuous running
    • Thermal motor overload protection
    • 1” F BSP inlet/outlet ports
    • Protection grade: IP55
    • Available in 230v or 110v or 400v

    Piusi Panther 72 Electric Diesel Transfer Pump

    IMG 3099 Fuel Bowsers Trailer Engineering

    The Panther 72 has a higher flow rate than the 56 because of its good flow rate it is a popular choice for refuelling vehicle fleets whilst using a fuel bowser, its features include:

    • Self-priming diesel fuel transfer pump
    • Sintered steel rotor & acetal resin vanes
    • Cast iron pump body with anti-corrosion paint
    • Incorporated bypass valve & Viton lip seal
    • Flow rate: 72 litres Per Minute
    • On/off switch
    • Continuous running
    • Thermal motor overload protection
    • 1” F BSP inlet/outlet ports
    • Protection grade: IP55
    • Available in 230v or 400v

    K1 Semi-Rotary Diesel Hand Pump

    Inner tank view 950Litre 007 Fuel Bowsers Trailer Engineering

    This hand pump is a popular cost-effective choice for manual diesel pumping ideal for refuelling equipment and machinery, perfect six to fit in a fuel bowser, its features include:

    • Manual Semi Rotary Diesel Hand Pump
    • 3/4" F BSP Flanged Inlet and Outlet
    • Backplate lugs
    • K1 max flow - 17 litres per minute

    K2 Semi-Rotary Diesel Hand Pump

    IMG 0853 Fuel Bowsers Trailer Engineering

    This hand pump is a popular cost-effective choice for manual diesel pumping ideal for refuelling equipment and machinery, with a higher flow rate than the smaller K1, perfect size to fit inside a fuel bowser, its features include:

    • Manual Semi Rotary Diesel Hand Pump
    • 1" BSP Flanged Inlet and Outlet
    • Backplate lugs
    • K2 max flow - 22.5 litres per minute

    Honda WX10

    100 2528 Fuel Bowsers Trailer Engineering

    The Honda WX10 is a water and diesel pump fitted with Viton seals to enable it to pump diesel, this pump is ideal for a fuel bowser distributing diesel to a fleet of vehicles, machinery or equipment quickly, its features include:

    • 37m max head
    • 120 litres per minute max flow
    • Honda petrol engine
    • Aluminium body, Viton seals
    • Baseplate with carry handle
    • 1" pump ports
    • Cast iron volute & impeller

    Patay SD45 Hand Pump

    IMG 3121 Fuel Bowsers Trailer Engineering

    This diesel hand pump is fitted with Viton seals for diesel pumping and is constructed to fit inside of bowsers, the features of this manual hand pump are:

    • 45 litres per minute
    • lift of 4.5m
    • head of 4.5m
    • 1/2" BSP fittings
    • Aluminium body
    • Viton seals

    Multiple diesel pumps can be fitted into a fuel bowser, As you will see below a Honda WX10 and a K2 semi-rotary hand pump fitted to a 2140 litre diesel bowser. 2140 twin axle site 001 Fuel Bowsers Trailer Engineering

    For more fuel bowser pump options or filters and flow meter options talk to the team by clicking here to find out more 

    Can Fuel Bowsers work with Adblue Tanks?

    When storing Adblue there becomes a challenge as it reacts in direct sunlight and crystallises, it is also corrosive to steel so there is a need for an appropriate storage tank. With the current tanks on the market, there was a high risk of pumping equipment getting stolen and the Adblue becoming contaminated.

    Trailer Engineering came up with the perfect solution to these problems by manufacturing a range of Adblue / DEF Bowsers and dispensing tanks. The range is constructed from a special polyethylene which does not allow the sunlight's UV rays to react with the contents. Trailer Engineering offers a 110-litre Bowser, 120-litre Adblue dispensing tank which can be retrofitted to any fuel bowser, 950 litre and 2000 litre Adblue cube based on our fuel cube range and a 2140 litre Adblue bowser. All available as a skid base tank, site tow trailer or a road tow trailer. Trailer Engineering also offers a complete package as a towable fuel bowser with an Adblue tank.

    120-litre-ad-blue-tank-on-2140-road 950 litre Fuel Bowsers Trailer Engineering
    How Much Does Diesel Weigh?

    It is a general misconception that the weight of diesel is 1 litre = 1 Kg. In fact, this is the weight of water. Diesel is lighter than water and can be found in several different weights depending on the grade of diesel.

    The average specific gravity weight of diesel is 1 litre = 0.82 Kg so therefore 1000 litres of diesel averages at 820 Kg.

    The weight of 110 litres of diesel = 90.2 Kg

    The weight of 200 litres of diesel = 164 Kg

    The weight of 430 litres of diesel = 352.6 Kg

    The weight of 900 litres of diesel = 738 Kg 

    The weight of 950 litres of diesel = 779 Kg

    The weight of 2140 litres of diesel = 1,754.8 Kg

    What is a bunded fuel tank?

    A bunded fuel tank is a tank that can store fuel whilst inside another tank. It is imperative to have a bunded fuel tank to ensure that fuel can not leak from the container creating various environmental issues. Therefore to prevent the threat to the environment all bunded fuel tanks should have a bund in which can hold at least 110% of the contents of the inner tank. 

    In 2001 the Control of Pollution legislation was brought into place to ensure industrial and commercial tank users have to store fuel and other hazardous liquids in a tank that has a secondary containment capability to prevent fuels from damaging the environment. A bunded fuel tank ensures you meet the government and environmental standards.

    The other advantage to using a bunded fuel tank also means there are facilities to protect your pumping equipment and contents from becoming stolen or contaminated as most bunded fuel tanks have a secure lockable compartment for use of the fuel tank.     

    Can I recycle a fuel bowser?

    It depends on the materials used to make a bowser, but generally speaking a lot of the materials on a bowser are fully recycleable.

    Can Diesel be stored in polyethylene tanks?

    Yes, diesel and other fuels such as JetA1 can be stored in polyethylene tanks. Polyethylene fuel storage tanks offer a cleaner storage solution for your fuel because unlike steel fuel tanks, polyethylene does not rust / corrode. Another advantage is that polyethylene fuel tanks also produce less condensation than the steel fuel tank alternative, meaning there will be less condensate (water) in the fuel. Polyethylene fuel storage tanks/bowsers have gained U.N certifications by undergoing the same strict testing procedures as a steel tank would go through. Manufacturers build either steel or polyethylene transportable fuel tanks, fuel cubes, and fuel bowsers all of which have U.N certifications with the same life span expectancy. However, after 10 years, you can simply replace the inner tank with a new inner receptacle that has its own U.N certification with no need to replace the outer bund. This is difficult to do with most steel fuel tanks as some may be welded to the bund or the bund may no longer be fit as it may have corroded. To find out more about plastic fuel tanks vs steel fuel tanks click here   

    Industrial Use Of A Fuel Bowser