View Full Version : Ultra low Sulpher

09-29-2006, 03:03 PM
Diesel - Ultra low Sulpher
Discussion on the new, required by late 2006, 15 ppm of sulpher diesel fuel.

10-16-2006, 12:56 AM
There have been questions raised in various sites about the possible lack of lubricity of ULSD, but nothing in writing.

The Nov issue of "Road and Track" comes right out and says there are questions about lubricity.

This is getting interesting!


10-18-2006, 06:05 PM
I copied this from a letter direct from Cummins (I own a 3/4 ton Dodge with a Cummins)
"There are many rumors circulating about the effects of sulfur being in diesel fuel or sulfur being taken out of diesel fuel. Diesel fuel without sulfur is just as good, in all respects except one, when compared with today's fuels with sulfur.

Diesel fuel, in the United States, must meet a lubricity standard. The producers adjust the lubricity before they distribute the fuel. No further additives are needed to ensure proper fuel system lubrication.

The only negative effect of taking sulfur out of fuel is that the fuel becomes more expensive, somewhat negating the inherent cost advantage of running diesel engines when compared to other fuels. As we are certain you know, sulfur doesn't jump out of the fuel on command. It has to be removed using specialized equipment and chemical processes that add to the expense of producing the fuel.

Basically the change to new fuel should be pretty easy for folks with the engines built prior to 2007 and for customers with the engines built in 2007 it will be necessary, for the short time it takes fuel stations to consume the remainder of the old fuel (maybe a month or two), to be certain they are not fueling with the older fuel.

There is an effect on diesel engines from the use of low or no sulfur fuel which we expect to be positive. The blowby gasses that normally pass through the engine crankcase will contain less or none of the chemically reactive sulfur and its compounds. This will tend to keep the engine oil cleaner during operation and allow important engine components like bushings, bearings and piston rings to live longer.

Diesel fuels containing sulfur or no sulfur each have the same specific heat, about 20,000 BTUs per pound. For that reason they give the same amounts of work for the same amount of fuel. That means the fuel economy per gallon will not be affected.

Over the years we have seen fuel economy decrease, somewhat, as diesel engine designs have been modified to meet the lower NOX limits imposed by government. This has been totally unrelated to sulfur in the fuel.

With lower sulfur fuels it is possible that some exhaust after treatment devices (catalytic converters) may be used to better effect, making it possible to further decrease harmful exhaust emissions."

10-19-2006, 02:20 PM
Well, I really don't think that Sprinter operators have anything to lose sleep over. Keep in mind that these vehicles were originally built for the European market, and they've had ULSD for decades over there!


10-24-2006, 07:51 PM
Yeah, that's what I am hoping as well. Mine still runs like a champ and hope it will for years.

10-26-2006, 01:09 PM
I don't know if I already posted this, but a spokesman for the new fuel was interviewed a while back in San Antonio. He stated the same, that the lubricity issue had been resolved at the refinery. I'm waiting for someone to sell B5 Boidiesel here in San Antonio.

05-22-2007, 05:04 PM
Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel also is costing the oil piplines more (and, therefore, guess who, more) to transport. In what seems to have been the lead case before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Commission permitted Magellan Pipeline Company, LP (and later other oil pipelines) to assess a surcharge for transporting ULSD. [115 FERC P 61,276 (2006)]:

2. Magellan seeks to recover its costs of facility modifications and operating expenses to be incurred to ship distillate which will comply with the regulations of the EPA. Magellan states that, as a result of the EPA regulations pertaining to ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD) petroleum products which will go into effect June 1, 2006, Magellan states that it has been required to install testing and monitoring equipment on its system, and to modify its system to prevent the contamination of ULSD by higher sulfur content distillates such as jet fuel and off-road diesel. In addition, Magellan states that it has been required to add more transmix handling capacity due to the more conservative cut points on high/low sulfur interfaces, all resulting from the EPA’s ULSD regulations, which will cause a significant increase in the volume of transmix and need for more transmix storage and blending capabilities.

3. The surcharges contemplated by Magellan include both new capital investment and increased operating costs. Magellan calculates its total capital investment to be some $16.9 million and an increase in operating costs of $500,000 annually....

Note that most "oil" pipelines are really "product" pipelines that transport a range of products. To ship a range of products through a pipeline, pipelines batch products for a group of shippers. That is why you see storage tanks along at certain places along oil pipelines. Batches of product (heating fuel, gasoline, aviation gas, diesel, and other products) are separated by "transmix", which is the interface between different products. A certain amount of mixxing between batches occurs all along the line within the line and in the tanks. The actual ULSD that is delivered to oil pipelines is not 15 ppm sulfur, but something much lower, in anticipation of downstream contamination. So a refiner may deliver ULSD (guessing) around 5 ppm, and the final delivered product may be 12 ppm, giving all parties in the transportation and retail chain a 2-3 ppm buffer not to violate EPA requirements. [Looking at some of the oil pipeline tariffs, it appears the same buffer concept existed for the older 500 ppm diesel - receipt standards seem to have been in the 450 ppm range.] The additional costs include new monitors (including their operation and maintenance), larger transmix batches to manage (bigger tanks - and the "solution to pollution is dilution" or reprocessing methods of disposing transmix), and possibly new/rebuilt pumps and pipes.

The FERC order goes on to approve a "cost of service" surcharge that will track actual costs applicable to only USLD product applicable for 10 years. This ULSD surcharge and rate design seems to have been followed by most other interstate oil piplines.

05-22-2007, 09:36 PM
The FERC order goes on to approve a "cost of service" surcharge that will track actual costs applicable to only USLD product applicable for 10 years. This ULSD surcharge and rate design seems to have been followed by most other interstate oil piplines.

At least someone is/was trying - at least thinking about ways - to help prevent the accidental creation of a slush fund.

"That Unimog is required to get our inspectors to remote locations along the pipe line. I know it looks like he's partying in hollywood, but we have a pipe line there, too. Never mind that drink in his hand. He's not on the clock right now. And no, that's not <hollywood starlet> on his arm, it's his daughter. Yes, yes, they're very close. We're a family oriented petroleum concern."


Altered Sprinter
05-23-2007, 03:01 PM
looking at the latest postings on ULSD fuels via pipelines etc and as to cost increases for handling ULSD on an interface line of course increases costs between 0.02 cents a gallon to 12 cents a gallon depending on where its sent and who's lines they belong through.
If it's a high volume line of product ULSD the cost is lower, on a line that does not handle ULSD in quantity of volume there is a larger cost factor of transfix holding costs for desperation of fuels, if there is a peak demand of different fuels that requires a holding patten in the lines as to no storage facility's until available the contamination factors increase by 20% .
A small reprocessing facility that does not handle the new ULSD fuels has to upgrade to accommodate the process of re cleaning the fuel , this argument of costs goes back to 1996.
A Refineries have a process called hydro cracking for refining and to reduce high sulfur's content of oils six of them, most refineries have limited production to process these fuels for Diesel, smaller refineries which have a hydro cracking facility, in fact can not process as to the unsuitability of the units which are designed for Gasoline, NO NEW REFINERIES SINCE THE SEVENTY'S and the demand now exceeds supply! 'PEAK DEMAND' has now been reached.
Private operators have been aware of the new fuels to be processed via the lines and huge tax credits were in place for those who did chose to upgrade, where it was a viable proposition , Now we have both refineries in an unusual patten shutting down for compliance's to both EPA safety and environmental upgrading, approx 1/3 of refineries are now in some form of part shut down to full shut down Port Arthur is still behind in repairs along with both Gulf rigs, and underground under sea pipelines still shut off waiting for repairs due to the last Hurricane that came through Katrina.
Pipelines and there a over two hundred thousand miles of lines spread through out the USA , some date back to the twenty's, thirty's and forty's including the fifty's that have no ongoing repairs. there are safety precautions for a fault in a line, with holding valves that automatically shut down in the event of a rupture, unfortunately most are defective due to corrosion , as most lines from 9" to 19 ' are underground there is no real way of knowing where a problem may be until it falters . etc.
ULSD is still a very small part of the US energy requirements for fuel s in the mainstream of oil products Most companies have not maintained the lines look at BP and the massive amount of problems it caused, Chevron and Texaco Sunoco and to a lesser degree Conco all have failed in duty of care to maintain facility's.
Diesel is refined to 15ppm any thing less cost the fuel produces more as to the process involved, and is then sent with a content of 300/Parts per million of sulfur not to exceed 500/ppm
If the paper work is saying 450ppm is average, well above the required 300ppm then that's when it's in flow and not being held in a holding patten and getting mixed with other fuels At November last year with ULSD it was running from the refineries at 22PM with a sulfur content at over 800PPM Canada nearly shut the supply down from incoming lines from LA as to BP not being able to guarantee the Canadian mandates of 15ppm, its not just the fuel under high pressure in the lines depending on summer and winter fuels you have the added concentration of water contaminating and mixing with fuels that causes a sludge build up in the lines. again few companies are adding an additive as to costs shell BP and now Chevron are starting to put an additive in.
Small companies handling ULSD fuels in transit between and holding fuels due to a back log should not have to pay for the added costs, it does need to be shared equally not sure how that can be done, though?
I guess the only real alternative is to build new refineries and replace the lines completely, but at a cost and who's going to fund and pay for it, when every ones out for a buck and the demand keeps on going higher, look at China and India, and think who screwed up, and when and why should an average Mr and Mrs consumer have to pay excessive prices! because of companies incompetent's to upgrade, and then cry poor :crazy:
Read this link and the story unfolds
U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (http://energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Testimony&Hearing_ID=530&Witness_ID=1327)
The Transition to Ultra-Low-Sulfur Diesel Fuel: Effects on Prices and Supply - 4. Impact of the ULSD Rule on Oil Pipelines (http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/servicerpt/ulsd/chapter4.html)