Fuels and Heating Oil

Fuels and Heating Oil Blog

Heating oil is sold in six different grades: Extra Light (EL), Low Sulphur EL, Light (L), Medium (M), Heavy (S) and Extra Heavy (ES). The L and M fuel oils are derived from tar oils and are used very little. EL and S heating oils have energy contents of at least 42.9 and 39.8 megajoules per kilogram, respectively.

Light and heavy heating oil and liquefied petroleum gas as energy sources for meeting heating requirements account for around 20 percent of the product output of the 15 refineries. Around 60 percent goes to the transport sector for mobility in the form of diesel, gasoline, kerosene, heavy heating oil and liquid gas. The remaining 20 percent serves as the basis for everyday and other products such as bitumen, lubricants, petroleum coke, liquid gas, crude gasoline and heavy heating oil.

Like diesel fuel, EL heating oil boils in the range between 180 and 360 degrees Celsius and can be burned without preheating in furnaces, central heating systems and industrial firing systems. Heating oil S as a fuel in industry, on the other hand, must be preheated for transport and combustion. The manufacturer’s specifications are decisive for the use of the respective product in the various burner systems.

Fuels and Heating Oil Manufacturing Process

During distillation, the crude oil is broken down into its components, the various hydrocarbons. Heavy and light distillates are produced, which are then processed in further steps to produce, among other things, liquefied petroleum gas, gasoline, diesel, heavy and light heating oil, bitumen and lubricants. In the conversion process, the heavy fractions of the crude oil residue are broken down into lighter components. The large hydrocarbon molecules are converted into smaller molecular chains, which are then blended into lighter products such as diesel fuel. This process is also known as cracking.

Desulfurization is necessary because sulfur is a natural component of crude oil and all crude oil distillates accordingly contain sulfur-carbon compounds. These undesirable compounds must be removed in a desulfurization stage, because otherwise the environmentally harmful sulfur dioxide would be produced during the combustion of gasoline, diesel or kerosene.

Even after distillation and desulfurization, the raw products obtained in this way still do not have the required quality for subsequent consumption. High-quality fuel components can therefore only be obtained by upgrading processes. This involves simultaneously separating pollutants for the catalytic converters in the motor vehicles and modifying the molecular structures of the gasoline so that it acquires greater anti-knock properties. This prevents the fuel from burning only under the control of ignition sparks, injection or compression, and from igniting itself in an uncontrolled manner. For gasoline, the octane number indicates the knock resistance. Depending on requirements, refineries add additives to their products or mix in biogenic or synthetic substances such as bioethanol or rapeseed methyl ester. The additives can significantly improve product properties during combustion or in use, such as refrigeration properties, lubricity in diesel and heating oil, or the ignitability of fuels.

What is the difference between extra light heating oil and eco heating oil?

Extra light heating oil may contain a maximum of 1 gram of sulfur and 0.2 gram of nitrogen per kilogram. Oeko heating oil has a maximum sulfur content of 0.05 g/kg and a nitrogen content of less than 0.1 g/kg.

With eco fuel oil, oil heating is particularly energy-saving and low-maintenance. Boiler manufacturers therefore recommend its use. The use of low-sulfur heating oil is even mandatory for new heating appliances specially adapted to the special properties of this fuel.

Do Fuels Have the Same Composition in Summer and Winter?

Depending on the temperature, fuels have different properties. In the case of gasoline, the volatility changes; in the case of diesel, the resistance to cold changes. To prevent starting and driving problems, seasonally adjusted compositions and additives make the fuels suitable for summer or winter.