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"Dirty fuel?" (6 Posts)
"Dirty fuel?"I posted this on Tuesday in the Oil Heating category, but there have been no responses so far. Perhaps more folks visit The Main Wall, so here goes again.
The article Dan linked to in the News area (above right) refers to "residual oil."
I assume that means Nos. 5/6 fuel oil. How do modern residential boilers running on No. 2 fuel oil (Burnham MPO for example) compare in terms of "dirtiness?" Will such a boiler, when properly adjusted, put out any visible soot? I recall seeing those soot particles on snow when growing up in Westchester County, NY in the 1960s and 1970s. Are there any regulations in the pipeline that would make No. 2 cleaner, such as lowering its sulfur content?
Thanks in advance for your informative replies.
Well now...There are a lot of reasons why so-called residual fuel oil can be "dirtier" than more highly refined types (note that residual doesn't always equate with fuel oil 5/6, as those are quite commonly refined somewhat. Bunker C, so called, is a typical residual oil). The key to it is that phrase "residual". While it is not strictly true that everything that's left after the distilling process is in there, pretty much everything is. Sulphur. Metals. Carbon solids. You name it. It can be very difficult to get it to burn cleanly, if not impossible. Further, its characteristics tend to vary from batch to batch, and certainly from field to field, so calibration of the burners is tricky. Has to be heated to just the right temperature, or the calibration is thrown off. And so on.
Not saying it can't be done. Just that it is very very difficult, and means that someone pretty well has to be paying attention, such as in an oil-fired electricity generating station, or a diesel powered ship, or something like that.
Any of the refined oils can be burned without visible soot, and are sufficiently consistent that once a burner (or engine) is properly adjusted, they will stay that way. Burning fuel oil, though, is never going to be as clean in terms of micorparticles as natural gas; it's the nature of the beast.
There are plenty of regulations regarding No. 2, but most of them have to do with use in engines, and most of them have to do with low-sulphur grades (sulphur is a really bad actor in terms of air pollution). They are not new, although the scope of engine driven machinery which has to use them is widening steadily (used to be just on-road; now in the west, at least, it's pretty much all engines, from 4,000 hp railroad diesels on down to your backyard generator).
Hope this helps some...Jamie
Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.
Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-McClain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
Thank you JamieI was specifically wondering about regulations on No. 2 for residential heating. Anything new you know of that will reduce the maximum allowable sulfur in that application?
Also, you say that any of the refined oils can be burned without soot, and are sufficiently consistent that once a burner is properly adjusted will stay that way. So, if a new MPO with Beckett is correctly set up, is it reasonable to expect complete lack of visible soot until the next annual maintenance?
N/A February 5, 2010 @ 6:17 PM
I have seen,,,#2 dirty,,, and clean,,,, in two separate (but the same) units,,,, both set-up by myself with the same nozzle, elevation and venting characteristics,,,, only a different supplier in common,,,, don`t know what refineries these companies purchase this oil from, but I have seen a difference.
N/A February 5, 2010 @ 6:31 PM
Fuel OilThere was a pretty good discussion on oil fuels in the January issue of Oil Heating
[url=http://www.industry-publications.com/digitalissues/oilheatingjanuary10/]http://www.industry-publications.com/digitalissues/oilheatingjanuary10/This post was edited by an admin on February 6, 2010 1:14 AM.
Thanks for the link!That article has exactly what I was looking for. Since my curiosity results from considering a change in where we'll build our retirement house to a New England location that offers no natural gas, it couldn't have been better if it was written for me. Thanks again Rod.