Ultra-low Sulfur Oil and BioDiesel
by PaulOrlowski SulfurU on 01/09/2010 14:39
Categories: Oil, Energy, Environmental Policy
Tags: biodiesel, heating oil, sulfur dioxide, ultra-low sulfur dioxide standard
To survive with the new ULSD standard, the National Oilheat Research Alliance met in September to redefine itself in light of new environmental policy and change. John Huber, the president says, “The oilheat industry views itself in a timeframe in which it needs to reinvent itself, what with legislation on climate change, global warming and carbon caps.” Including 20 percent biodiesel may be just the long term solution. The result of the Baltimore meeting was an industry commitment to reach 2 percent biodiesel saturation in the nation’s heating oil supply by July, stipulating to steadily increase it in the years to come, and significantly lowering the amount of sulfur in heating oil.
Incrementally raising the biodiesel component in heating oil is one important part of the oilheat industry’s new charge, but the other aspect is the drive to lower sulfur content. On fuel cleanliness and systems efficiency, the effect of reducing sulfur content in heating oil is nothing short of tremendous. “At 3,000 ppm, we’re putting a lot of SO2 in the air,” Burke says. Also, nearly all of the carcinogenic particulate matter (2.5 micron) strewn into the air from oilheat chimneys populating the Northeast and elsewhere is a result of sulfur content. Another issue is sulfuric acid production. “Sulfuric acid condenses at 200 degrees,” Hedden says. “One of the problems is that we have to keep the exhaust temperature so high at the top of the chimney [to prevent sulfuric acid from condensing], and there’s a cost to that,” meaning heat loss via the flue and the monetary and energy loss associated with it. “If we can get rid of sulfur, we can do some pretty creative things to lower the exhaust temperature of the exhaust gas.”
When the burner of an oil furnace starts, there is sulfur in the heat exchanger, which results in scaling. “Scale decreases efficiencies,” Hedden says. “ULSD won’t have that degradation of efficiencies, which is about 2 percent per year, and that would save money on maintenance and there’ll be a gain in efficiency.” The 15 ppm sulfur will not contribute to system degradation and therefore less fuel will be needed to do the same amount of heating.
Huber points out that sulfur is a real obstacle for equipment design. “With ULSD you can use lower-grade steel for components, for example,” he says. New oil systems such as wall-hung on-demand boilers, which are used in Europe and are so small they can be cleaned in a dishwasher, are not compatible with high sulfur fuel oil.
Here’s something to observe in the next month at the thermometer drops in the northeast, will it be possible to import enough 15 ppm fuel in quantities large enough to satisfy demand while staying in regulatory compliance?
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By Paul Orlowski
one thing to remember is that most refineries do not have "regular" or "low" sulphur diesel anymore. they all produce ultra low, but regulations state they have to flush all the tanks something like 17 times before being allowed to call it ultra low. so the stuff they do sell for railway fuel and home heating oil and mining fuel is actually a ultra low with residue of regular or low sulphur fuel. or in the case where a shipment of fuel doesnt meet ultra low standards they sell it as low sulpher as tolerances for wax and stuff are a little looser. so the chance of hho being 3000 ppm or 500ppm is pretty slim, it wil prob be more than 15ppm but definately not 3000ppm of sulphur.
96 6.5td with homebuilt veg conversion
about 20.000 kms on oil.
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