Taiwanese scientists discovered that a new fuel can be made by combining industrial wastewater and petroleum oil. The new fuel’s efficiency is increased by 14% and is a friendly way to treat industrial wastewater as well. The new fuel could eliminate the expensive treatment of industrial air emissions from boilers.
The scientists from National Cheng Kung University thought that they could mix HFO (heavy fuel oil) with wastewater and burn them together in a more friendly environment. By mixing 80% of HFO with 19.9% wastewater and 0.1% surfactant, the carbon monoxide emissions are reduced by 84% compared to the emissions generated by burning standard HFO in the same boiler. The new fuel also drastically reduces other emissions such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and volatile organics.
By adding wastewater to the oil, micro explosions take place prior to the ignition of oil, causing it to atomize into a fine vapor. This leads to a complete and also to a lower temperature combustion reducing pollution from nitrogen oxides.
Many industrial processes depend on steam boilers, which are powered worldwide by heavy fuel oil (HFO), except US where coal and natural gas are an important resource. Still, in the Northeast of US, lots of homes are heated with furnaces that use HFO. These boilers pollute the air if untreated.
Today, as quality air regulations are put in place, industrial boilers should control their emissions with installed control devices. At the same time many industries produce a lot of wastewater needing to be treated. So this idea could solve two problems in one shot.
The Taiwanese scientists only focused on the boiler application but their idea could be used in standard diesel engines with some modifications.