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What oil burners are compatible with bio-oil (biomass pyrolysis oil)?

cowdog
cowdog Member Posts: 75
edited June 3 in Oil Heating
With the global oil supply disturbed by Russia's war on Ukraine, renewable fuel is becoming more important.

According to review, biomass pyrolysis oil is thin while fresh, but in 30-90 days age into a thick, high viscosity liquid like residual oil (No.6 bunker oil), with viscosity as high as 350 cst.

The heating value of bio-oil is much lower than No.6 bunker oil, only 40%-60% of the latter's HHV.

How should bio-oil be introduced to homes? What type of pump and burner are compatible with bio-oil?

Comments

  • In_New_England
    In_New_England Member Posts: 96
    The fuel deliveries I get are 30% bio-diesel. It's mixed in with the "regular" oil and the burner doesn't need any modifications. https://mybioheat.com/
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,136
    biomass pyrolysis oil and bio-diesel are completely different critters. Bio-diesel is a highly refined product and is, as @In_New_England says, intended to be -- and is -- comparable in characteristics with mineral diesel. As you have observed, pyrolysis oil is a different matter altogether, and would require a completely different burner and pump and storage arrangement -- not to mention tremendous distribution and storage problems. It has been used in the past, however, in specially designed large boilers in the paper industry.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    cowdogIn_New_England
  • cowdog
    cowdog Member Posts: 75
    edited June 3

    biomass pyrolysis oil and bio-diesel are completely different critters. Bio-diesel is a highly refined product and is, as @In_New_England says, intended to be -- and is -- comparable in characteristics with mineral diesel. As you have observed, pyrolysis oil is a different matter altogether, and would require a completely different burner and pump and storage arrangement -- not to mention tremendous distribution and storage problems. It has been used in the past, however, in specially designed large boilers in the paper industry.

    What pumps and burners are compatible with biomass pyrolysis oil? Can we reuse the design for No.6 bunker oil, or are there any better designs?

    Especially, can we avoid high pressure injection and tiny nozzles? Because the injection pump and nozzles are prone to clogging for No.6 bunker oil.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,133
    You will never burn #6 oil in a residential burner. Can't be done. And you wouldn't want to even if you could. #2 oil pours like water. #6 is like molasses
  • cowdog
    cowdog Member Posts: 75

    You will never burn #6 oil in a residential burner. Can't be done. And you wouldn't want to even if you could. #2 oil pours like water. #6 is like molasses

    No we don't want #6, but we want to burn biomass pyrolysis oil, because it's renewable and abundant.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,136
    cowdog said:

    You will never burn #6 oil in a residential burner. Can't be done. And you wouldn't want to even if you could. #2 oil pours like water. #6 is like molasses

    No we don't want #6, but we want to burn biomass pyrolysis oil, because it's renewable and abundant.
    So it is. And that's about the only good thing about it. Viscosity varies with time (when it doesn't actually gel). BTU content is very low. You might get away with it in a bigger boiler with competent firemen tending it. Impurities are very high -- your air pollution would, most of the time, be off the charts. As I noted above, it was used in some paper mills. Not, so far as I know, any more -- pollution and maintenance problems.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • bburd
    bburd Member Posts: 339
    edited June 4
    No. 6 oil (aka Bunker C) must be heated both to pump and to burn, to something like 200°F if I remember correctly. The storage tanks were heated, with additional heating just before the burner. The equipment to do that has only ever been installed on high capacity commercial, industrial and marine jobs so far as I know. It is expensive and needs regular attention. Most of those jobs had full-time operating engineers.

    Bburd
  • cowdog
    cowdog Member Posts: 75

    cowdog said:

    You will never burn #6 oil in a residential burner. Can't be done. And you wouldn't want to even if you could. #2 oil pours like water. #6 is like molasses

    No we don't want #6, but we want to burn biomass pyrolysis oil, because it's renewable and abundant.
    So it is. And that's about the only good thing about it. Viscosity varies with time (when it doesn't actually gel). BTU content is very low. You might get away with it in a bigger boiler with competent firemen tending it. Impurities are very high -- your air pollution would, most of the time, be off the charts. As I noted above, it was used in some paper mills. Not, so far as I know, any more -- pollution and maintenance problems.
    The paper mills burn "black liquor" which is different from biomass pyrolysis oil. Black liquor is mainly lignin, a polymer of smaller molecules. Biomass pyrolysis oil's average molecule is much smaller than black liquor.
  • cowdog
    cowdog Member Posts: 75
    bburd said:

    No. 6 oil (aka Bunker C) must be heated both to pump and to burn, to something like 200°F if I remember correctly. The storage tanks were heated, with additional heating just before the burner. The equipment to do that has only ever been installed on high capacity commercial, industrial and marine installations so far as I know. It is expensive and needs regular attention. Most of those jobs had full-time operating engineers.

    Wood pellets are even less fluid and harder to pump than No.6 oil, yet we have pellet stoves. Why can't we have a stove designed for high viscosity, high impurity liquid fuel like biomass pyrolysis oil, brown grease and coal-water slurry?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,424
    First off, I doubt UL would approve such a thing. Their approval is required by Code for oil equipment.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • cowdog
    cowdog Member Posts: 75
    Steamhead said:

    First off, I doubt UL would approve such a thing. Their approval is required by Code for oil equipment.

    UL is for safety and health. I don't see anything unsafe from burning biomass pyrolysis oil.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,136
    As I recall, you want to put a Tesla motor and battery in an over the road truck, too. Dream on.
    cowdog said:

    bburd said:

    No. 6 oil (aka Bunker C) must be heated both to pump and to burn, to something like 200°F if I remember correctly. The storage tanks were heated, with additional heating just before the burner. The equipment to do that has only ever been installed on high capacity commercial, industrial and marine installations so far as I know. It is expensive and needs regular attention. Most of those jobs had full-time operating engineers.

    Wood pellets are even less fluid and harder to pump than No.6 oil, yet we have pellet stoves. Why can't we have a stove designed for high viscosity, high impurity liquid fuel like biomass pyrolysis oil, brown grease and coal-water slurry?
    Pay attention. Presumably your objective is to clean things up and have a low impact. That's wonderful, and I applaud that. But at least try to understand why some things may not be practical. Like burning the items you mention in a residential setting.

    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    bburd
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,424
    cowdog said:

    Steamhead said:

    First off, I doubt UL would approve such a thing. Their approval is required by Code for oil equipment.

    UL is for safety and health. I don't see anything unsafe from burning biomass pyrolysis oil.
    You don't, but they might. Here are some of the standards UL has and tests to:

    https://www.ul.com/services/oil-and-gas-certification-and-advisory-services
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting