BoilerJuice is committed to offering its customers the latest innovative home heating oil products and is now able to offer a range of additives that are formulated to reduce the probability of operating problems occurring and where indicated, more than pay for themselves, click here to view our range of premium oil additives.
Over the last 3 years there have been many press articles discussing the change in home heating oil (kerosene) quality and the increase in reported field problems with boilers. Through our industry contacts, we at BoilerJuice have also noticed a large increase in problems and observed that the existing additive products people use have not always been effective enough. Problems seem to be on the increase for all boilers, but the vaporising cookers (e.g. AGAs) appear to have been particularly affected.
There is much industry speculation as to the root causes of these problems, but one key factor emerging is that a more variable fuel quality is being caused by efforts to comply with lower fuel sulphur levels.
Fuel sulphur has progressively been reduced over many years in Europe due to air quality and respiratory health concerns. In general, reducing fuel sulphur speeds up the implementation of exhaust after-treatment devices. The life of vehicle catalysts, for example, is substantially improved when using lower sulphur fuels – and that is why the sulphur in road fuels (forced by a combination of tax incentives and legislation) is now at extremely low levels e.g. 50 wppm (weight parts per million).
In Jan 2008 fuel sulphur was also reduced in all off-road fuels (including kerosene - home heating oil) from 2000 to 1000wppm. Even though exhaust after-treatment devices are not generally fitted to off-road equipment, their particulate emissions are still reduced significantly by such a change. Particulates are a respiratory health concern and the airborne mass of these emissions can be reduced by reducing fuel sulphur and shrinking the sulphate portion of the particulate.
Sulphur naturally occurs in crude oil and is carried through into refinery blend streams and our finished fuels. A common method to reduce this sulphur is to "hydrotreat" the components. Hydrogen is passed over the fuel components with a production catalyst present and the sulphur is removed as H2S ("bad egg" gas).
Unfortunately, this hydrotreating process is very expensive for refineries to implement. At least one UK refinery no longer makes kerosene, as it is uneconomic for it do so. This lack of production has created UK industry supply issues with an overall higher percentage of kerosene being imported and a much more variable fuel quality. This variable quality is not the fault of the UK fuel distributors as they can only sell what they can load from the UK distribution points e.g. terminals.
According to some fuel quality chemists, another contributing factor to more variable fuel quality is the BS2869C2 kerosene quality standard. All fuels sold in the UK meet this standard, but there appears to be a trend of the quality being closer to the limits of this specification than it would have been in the past. This change is probably being driven by the higher manufacturing cost of the lower sulphur kerosene.
It is likely to take a long time for the industry to develop a robust long term solution to these variable fuel quality issues. In the meantime BoilerJuice is offering a range of different additive products that are formulated to reduce the probability of operating problems occurring and where indicated, more than paying for themselves.
The thermal efficiency of boilers depends on the efficiency of the combustion process and how efficient is the transfer of heat from combustion gases to the hot water and central heating systems via the heat exchanger. Build-up of deposits on heat exchanger surfaces between services inhibits heat transfer and lowers the thermal efficiency of boilers. This impacts on the temperature and composition of gases exiting boiler flues and is associated with a lowering of combustion efficiency as measured by flue gas analysers.
The results of flue gas analyses taken before and after servicing showed combustion efficiency of boilers running on premium kerosene averaged higher than those running on regular kerosene.