The Fuel Bellows or the Nozzle Boot is an accordion-like device that enables an airtight connection between the distribution nozzle and the fuel port of a tank that is being loaded. It is sleeve-like and made from a flexible rubber that covers the port to create the air-tight seal. This is an important component of vapor recovery systems to prevent the emission of fuel vapors into the atmosphere.
Vapor recovery systems reduce the amount of fuel lost to evaporation. The whole fuel delivery process creates many occasions where evaporating fuel needs to be recovered before it enters the atmosphere. The fuel bellows is an important component of a vapor recovery system due to the air-tight connection it creates at the point of delivery.
There are bellows for every type of nozzle in the fuel delivery industry. Oil Depots and refineries need a bellows to encompass large fuel hoses that clamp onto large ports on delivery vehicles. Keeping as much of airtight seal as possible is paramount for the VRS (Vapor Recovery System) to function at an optimal level.
The environmental and fiscal concerns about product loss due to evaporation are very real. It is estimated that 147 million gallons of gasoline are lost each year due to evaporation. Source: EPA
Having a good supply of replacement fuel bellows would be a proactive practice that could affect the profit or loss at the end of the year.
That being said it is vitally important that the components of a fueling operation be looked at frequently. Most fuel depot bellows are made from nitrile rubber that is sturdy and resistant to corrosion but they should be checked frequently for tears and areas where a seal around a fuel loading port may be compromised. Set up an inspection schedule to monitor accordingly.