Swirling Flame Combustion of Heavy Fuel Oil Blended with Diesel: Effect of Asphaltene Concentration

Xinyan Pei, Hongyu Tian, William L. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Heavy fuel oil has an energy density content comparable to distillate fuels but a very high viscosity that necessitates extra heating before spray combustion inside a boiler. Heavy fuel oil is also characterized by high asphaltenes, carbon residues, trace metals, such as vanadium and nickel, fuel-bound nitrogen, and sulfur. Asphaltenes are heavy polycyclic aromatic compounds with embedded heteroatoms and significantly affect the physico-chemical properties of heavy fuels; this makes them very difficult to burn and leads to the formation of large cenospheres (lightweight, inert, hollow spheres), due to an inefficient burning process. The primary goal of this study is to experimentally investigate the influence of the asphaltene concentration on the combustion of HFO under a swirling flame, finally reducing gaseous and solid pollution. We tested HFO samples containing asphaltene concentrations of 4, 6, 8, 16, and 24 wt.%, prepared by blending the light oil of diesel and pure asphaltenes with HFO. This work provides quantitative information about the effect of different asphaltene contents on the fuel properties of viscosity, density, heating value, thermogravimetry with air and N2, and swirling flame combustion characteristics, including the analysis of gaseous and solid particle emissions. The results indicated that the high asphaltene content in the fuel was the critical factor for the high viscosity and incomplete combustion and also increased the density of the fuel sample. Reducing the asphaltene content in HFO improves its spray characteristics and combustion performance and reduces the solid emissions containing sulfur and metal elements.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6156
Issue number17
StatePublished - Aug 24 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science


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