Ultra Low Sulfur Heating Oil FAQ’sPosted: October 6, 2015
Q: What is Ultra Low Sulfur Heating Oil (ULSHO)?
A: It is a heating oil fuel option with substantially lowered sulfur content (similar to ULSD shift in 2006 for diesel vehicles). As an example, ASTM #2 Fuel Oil with a very high sulfur content has sulfur in the range of 5,780 ppm (parts per million); low sulfur heating oil measures around 322 ppm; and an ULSHO can have around 15 ppm sulfur content.
Q: Is bioheating oil cleaner than natural gas?
A: Yes, it’s a game changer! New accurate studies from NORA show that Bioheating Oil containing as low as 2% biodiesel (B2) blends with Ultra Low Sulfur Heating Oil (ULSHO) is cleaner than natural gas.
Studies show that:
– Biodiesel blends at 20% (B-20) with ULSHO are lower in Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) than natural gas when evaluated over 100 years.
– Biodiesel blends at 2% (B-2) or more are lower in GHG than natural gas when evaluated over 20 years.
In the future, higher blends of biodiesel may reduce GHG emissions even more.
Q: What are the benefits of ULSHO?
A: Heating oil has recently been transitioning to ULSHO as a way to lower maintenance, improve efficiency, and reduce pollution resulting from heating systems.
• Lower maintenance – Taking sulfur out of fuel causes no problems for oil heating equipment or storage tanks. Actually, there is a great benefit to sulfur reductions because when burned it will cause sooting, scaling and reduce efficiency. Reducing the amount of sulfur prolongs the life of heat exchangers, particularly condensing boilers and furnaces.
• Improved efficiency – The increased efficiency is due to the reduced sooting and scaling that will cause more heat to go up the chimney. Heating efficiency will increase by a couple percent.
• Less pollution – Burning ULSHO means reduced sulfur dioxide by 75%, particulate matter by 80%, nitrous oxide by 10% and carbon dioxide by 2%. When you include the biodiesel blend you can add 5-10 points to each of those numbers. Plus, it puts your company ahead of natural gas as the cleanest burning fuel. When you factor in the damage of the ozone layer as a result of leaking pipelines, you will find that ULSHO/Bioheat is better for the environment.
Q: Is the new ULSHO/Bioheat fuel safe to use with existing equipment?
A: Yes, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has certified blends up to B20 with ULSHO are safe for use with existing heating systems equipment. No modifications are required.
Q: Are there any modifications I need to plan for servicing a system now using ULSHO/Bioheat?
A: This depends on the level of the blend, but if it is less than 20%, or B20, then conventional wisdom says no modifications or adjustments are necessary.
Q: Are there any different additives used to treat ULSHO/Bioheat for winter operability?
A: Companies should continue to use the traditional winter additives that have been used. Since ULSHO has less sulfur in it, the biofuel will help to contribute to that loss, and the additives will continue to offer support.