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Technical Committee Fuel Oils

FAME in Light Heating Oil

Because of their chemical and physical similarity the two products diesel fuel and light heating oil are not always completely separated logistically (refineries, tank farms and means of transportation). A possible minor intermixing of the products has to be avoided by careful operating procedures, because the standard for diesel fuel allows the addition of FAME, but not the corresponding standard for heating oil. In a survey carried out by DGMK in the chain of distribution 169 samples of light heating oil from refineries, tank farms and dealers were tested for their concentration of fatty acid methyl esters. As part of the project also samples from complaints were tested for the presence of FAME in order to detect any potential relationship between malfunctions and the presence of fatty acid methyl ethers. The concentration of fatty acid methyl esters was determined by gas chromatography. For contents below 40 ppm it could only be stated whether traces of fatty acid methyl esters were present or not. In the distribution chain the percentage of samples containing FAME as well as the concentrations of FAME rose from refineries to tank farms and from tank farms to dealers with the highest increase from tank farms to dealers. The samples from complaints have lower contents of FAME than the samples from dealers.

Hans-Peter Schmiedel
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