What is the Problem?
That portion of air pollution caused by inefficient combustion of oil burners is a matter of public record, public indignation and industrial concern. Management's anxiety is well founded since, for many companies, correcting air pollution is a long-term project requiring years of development and millions of dollars in capital investment.
What is often overlooked, however, is that while 100% answers are often costly and long-term, there is readily available a simple procedure which can cut down most of the present pollution load. Moreover, this solution requires no capital outlay.
Additives reduce pollution
To understand how such an additive can work, we need to understand some of the major factors contributing to inefficient combustion of fuel. These are the caliber of operating personnel, the condition and maintenance of equipment, and the quality of the fuel oil itself.
In most cases, economic considerations dictate the continuation of practices which ultimately lead to the heavy concentration of air pollutants. One such causative factor is the use of Bunker C oil as fuel.
When do oil burners generate pollution?
Bunker C fuel is rich in heavy carbons, sulfur and other irritants and in soot-forming ingredients. Under proper conditions, it can be burned completely, but the poorer the combustion efficiency, the greater the number of pollutants discharged to the atmosphere.
Water, introduced through fuel handling processes and condensation, forms viscous water-in-oil emulsions which accumulate in storage. These emulsions together with the sludge, always present in non-distilled petroleum residuals, are drawn into the system and may clog lines, strainers, preheaters and burners; cause carbon formation on burner nozzles and soot accumulation in the fire box.
Stratification can occur in the storage tank or bunker and give rise to a non-uniform oil supply. A combination of any of these events brings about non-uniform mixtures of fuel and air with resultant incomplete combustion. In turn, hot spots develop within the combustion chamber and become foci for production of oxides of nitrogen. A faint trace of nitric oxide in the air after a thunder-storm gives us that cool, fresh odor... but more than a trace become a serious contaminant.
Sulfur in the fuel burns to sulfur di- and tri-oxides which, on later contact with atmospheric moisture and oxygen, form sulphuric acid. This, in turn irritates both the mucous membranes and dispositions of plant neighbors.
Sulfur with vanadium, often present in heavy residuals, in conjunction with sodium salts, are responsible for oil slag
formations in the fire box and in the relatively hotter areas of the boiler.Corrosion of boiler metals and spalling of furnace wall refractories is also a commonly see supply to the burners.
What do fuel additives do?
How much additive is needed?
Some brief case histories
For example, the General Electric Company's Research & Development Center, at its site just outside Schenectady, New York, has been burning Bunker C oil since 1948 - without experiencing a single major maintenance problem. According to laboratory personnel, one of the principal reasons for the lack of trouble with the entire system is he continuing use of Alken Even-Flo® 905.
At the Detroit Diesel Engine Division of General Motors Corp., Alken Even-Flo® 905 is used to prevent sludge and water accumulation in the Bunker C fuel oil storage tanks as well as in the remainder of the system to maintain maximum combustion efficiency.
With modern methods of petroleum refining - extracting the lighter fractions - the increased carbonaceous residues in heavy fuel oil along with sulphur, sodium and vanadium pose a significant triple-threat problem to power generating equipment.
To combat this threat, Maine Public Service Company uses Alken Even-Flo® 905 at its Caribou steam Power Plant to provide a uniform and even flow of oil from tank to burner. So does New Jersey Power and Light, New Jersey Public Service, and many other utilities. The conditioner promotes more efficient utilization of the BTU content of the fuel oil.
Many other industrial users have reported marked improvement of their air pollution problems resulting from their use of Alken Even-Flo® 905.
Alken Even-Flo® 905 is not a panacea, or a complete answer to all problems of air pollution. On the other hand, how many industrial problems can be ameliorated so easily and inexpensively?