The operational quality of heavy fuel oil has been steadily declining for a number of years. As refiners extract ever increasing quantities of the economically attractive light fractions from crude oil, residual heavy fuel picks up increasing concentrations of asphaltenes and impurities. The consequences for operating large engines can be poorer quality combustion, decreased engine efficiency and increases in exhaust emissions – particularly soot.
Soot build up impacts the efficiency of exhaust hardware (e.g. heat exchangers), as well as increasing the requirement for hardware cleaning and maintenance schedules. Exhaust tract soot build up poses a real risk of exhaust gas fires. Reducing soot loading is a significant contribution to operational safety.