Preliminary Investigation of a Bio-Based Low Sulfur Heavy Fuel Oil
Recently introduced sulfur caps on marine fuels in so-called sulfur emission control areas (SECAs) are forcing shipping companies to sail on more or less automotive grade diesel in lieu of the considerably less expensive, but sulfur-laden heavy fuel oil (HFO) to which they were accustomed. This development is an opportunity for a bio-based substitute, given that most biomass is sulfur free by default. Moreover, given that biomass is typically solid to start with, cracking it to an HFO grade, which is highly viscous in nature, will involve fewer and/or less harsh process steps than would be the case if an automotive grade fuel were to be targeted. In this study, a renewable low sulfur heavy fuel oil (LSHFO) has been produced by means of subcritical water assisted lignin depolymerization in the presence of a short length surfactant, ethylene glycol monobutyl ether (EGBE).