Advanced Distillation Curve Analysis of Marine Diesel Fuel
Peter Y. Hsieh, Kathryn R. Abel, Thomas J. Bruno
Ocean-going ships burn heavy fuel oil. The combustion of heavy fuel oil in marine diesel engines emits nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and particulates into the air. Growing public concern over air quality has led to increased scrutiny of heavy fuel oil as a source of air pollutants, with calls for greater regulation of its composition to safeguard public health and the environment. Heavy fuel oil is a complex mixture, prepared by blending residual oil from petroleum distillation with more volatile fractions to meet industry standards. The fuel composition has a significant effect on the type and amount of combustion products produced, but the complexity of heavy fuel oil blends has stymied past efforts at analysis. The advanced distillation curve (ADC) method was developed to provide a composition-explicit data channel for the measurement of thermophysical and chemical properties of complex fuel blends. We applied the ADC method, under reduced pressure, to a sample of IFO 380 intermediate fuel oil to characteize its volatility and composition as a function of volume fraction. Applying the analytical method to heavy fuel oil yields quantitative data which can be used to model and design more efficient internal combustion engines for ocean-going ships, improving maritime fuel economy while reducing the amount of harmful pollutants released into the atmosphere.