For many companies, keeping their operations running smoothly with a supply of fuel in a remote location can create a number of expensive challenges. Few remote sites have year-round access for ground tanker trucks or water access for barges which means most are forced to use fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters to transport drums of fuel.

Because fuel cannot be carried at the same time as passengers, whole aircraft must be set aside to do this job. In addition, fuel drums are not shaped to fit inside an aircraft which means the craft never achieves its full carrying capacity.

The military also has the same problem when faced with supplying remote caches with bulk fuel for emergency applications, northern operations and forward operating areas that are cut off because ground transport is too risky.

Clearly, when there’s no gas station in sight for hundreds of miles, fuel supply becomes a critical aspect for the military and many other industries including mining, construction, aviation, resource exploration and forest firefighting. It’s why SEI Industries developed its new Bulk Aviation Transport Tank (BATT) – the world’s first collapsible, double-walled, aviation specific, baffled transportation fabric tank that allows users to safely transport bulk fuel to remote sites via aircraft.

Customised to fit specific aircraft interiors, the BATT delivers several economical, safety and environmental benefits for remote operations:

It allows operators to purchase and transport bulk fuel while maximizing any aircraft’s load-carrying capacity. Dead head flights (with no cargo or passengers) are minimized because the BATT can be folded up and stored when not in use.

The BATT eliminates damage to the aircraft caused when handling fuel drums, reduces the cost of fuel loss for fuel spoiled in drums and provides a cost savings to operators who continually lose money because they cannot return damaged drums.

The BATT eliminates the continued handling of drums which can result in damage and spills inside the aircraft. The BATT is double-walled to minimize abrasion and puncture damage and provides built-in secondary containment.

The BATT allows remote site operators to eliminate empty drums which are often abandoned because of the high cost associated with removing them. This prevents environmental impacts in remote and, often, sensitive locations.

The BATT comes in a range of sizes to fit various aircraft. Currently, the DC-3, MIL-17 and Cessna Caravan models are available with the Twin Otter model coming soon. Future sizes include models for the DC-6, Sikorsky S-61, Bell 412 and C-130 Hercules aircraft. SEI’s BATT will be the first collapsible fabric tank to have a safety permit allowing it to be flown inside an aircraft in Canada. Currently, SEI is in the process of receiving a TDG Equivalency Certificate from Transport Canada allowing the BATT to be used without special permits for transporting dangerous goods (fuels).

Once the fuel supply arrives on-site, SEI also provides an exceptional option for storing it. When partnered with the BATT, SEI’s Arctic King collapsible fuel bladder tanks complete an ideal transportation/storage solution. Arctic King tanks fold up for easy transport to remote sites (like the BATT) and are constructed from a proprietary high-durability fabric unique to SEI Industries.

The Arctic King has excellent UV and hydrolysis resistance qualities for a longer life expectancy than any other urethane collapsible fabric tank. With all these features plus its vent system to handle deep snowfalls, the Arctic King can withstand even the most extreme conditions. The Arctic King tank is also the only bladder tank that meets Environment Canada’s Technical Requirements for Collapsible Fabric Storage Tanks (Bladders) published in 2009.

The BATT took a number of months to develop and was first deployed in 2010 for use by South America’s Columbian law enforcement. With the official Canadian launch of the BATT expected in the summer of 2011, operators can look forward to an innovative new option for bulk fuel transportation to remote sites.