The quality of heater fuels strongly depends on the extent of their purity and cleanliness. The most important indicators for a clean and pure heater fuel are its aromatics and sulphur concentrations. The fewer of these substances are present in the fuel, the more efficient its combustion will be. The most important indicator for safe combustion is the flashpoint of the heater fuel.
Paraffin - a rather broad term
Paraffin is the generally used term for heater fuels. Where, in fact, paraffin is the major constituent of petroleum, or crude oil. The composition of petroleum (crude oil) varies greatly from one deposit to the next. And, with it, so does the content of aromatics and sulphur. Petroleum (crude oil) is pumped up from the ground and may contain up to 25% aromatics. Its sulphur content is high as well: up to 4 or 5%. The Qlima Premium Quality Fuels, which are sold across Europe, contain a maximum of 0.006% aromatics and less than 0.0001% of sulphur. Quite a difference! This is the result of the product used as the basis for the raw material for heater fuel and the different processing steps undergone by this raw material.
Basic product for Qlima fuel is petroleum or gas
Qlima only supplies high-quality heater fuels: the so-called Premium Quality Fuels. For the production of these Qlima fuels, we make use of two different production processes, i.e. the ‘refinery process’ and the ‘gas-to-liquid (GTL) process’. The basic product for the refinery process is petroleum (crude oil). And the basic product for the gas-to-liquid process is a fossil gas from the earth; not petroleum, in other words! In both processes, the basic product undergoes multiple processing steps, the end result being a pure and clean heater fuel.
From petroleum to lamp oil
In the refinery, the basic product petroleum (crude oil) is refined into gas oil, kerosene, and naphtha. This way, a number of raw materials are obtained for the production of asphalt, engine oil and aviation fuel. The raw material used for heater fuel is kerosene. Before kerosene is suitable for the production of heater fuel, it has to undergo further processing steps. First, the kerosene is distilled and separated into two flows.
The first flow will result in jet kero, the product used to fuel aeroplanes. Because of the low flashpoint, between 35 and 40°C, and its high content of aromatics and sulphur, this product is not suitable for use as heater fuel.
The second flow results in lamp oil, which is suitable for heating purposes. However, this product still contains between 20 and 25% aromatics, while its sulphur concentration is approximately 0.03%, which is still far too high. The product smells and has an incomplete combustion. Lamp oil may only be used as a fuel for heaters that are connected to a flue pipe. Should lamp oil be used as a fuel for mobile heaters, this would endanger safety and public health. In addition, it would considerably reduce the heater’s life span.
From lamp oil to heater fuel: Qlima Extra
Government authorities have laid down certain criteria for the composition of heater fuels. The only European directive regarding these is the French directive NF 128 arrêté 25-06-2010. When the criteria of this French directive are met, the product is considered suitable for use as heater fuel in mobile heaters without an external exhaust flue. According to this directive, the content of aromatics is to be 1% maximum, and the content of sulphur 0.0005% maximum. In addition, the fuel’s flashpoint should be at least 61 degrees. This is achieved by further processing lamp oil by means of hydrogenation. During this processing step, the aromatics are removed and the sulphur concentration is substantially reduced.
After hydrogenation, the heater fuel Qlima Extra contains 0.3% aromatics and 0.0001% sulphur. Therefore, it is a virtually odour-free product with a highly effective combustion. Its flashpoint is 65°C, which amply meets all safety criteria. Thanks to its low level of aromatics, Qlima Pure is one of the better heater fuels. Qlima Hybrid is an even better choice, if you want an ecologically sound product: its 5% CO2-neutral components from vegetable origin turn this heater fuel into the most sustainable choice for mobile heaters.
And the best heater fuel available on the market is: Qlima Kristal (ISO paraffin!)
Qlima goes even further. Thanks to a different raw material at the source and a different production process, Qlima Kristal and Qlima Optimal have an aromatics concentration of 0.007% maximum and a sulphur concentration of 0.0001% maximum. The flash point is guaranteed > 65°C minimum.
The basis for this product is gas. Gas contains smaller quantities of aromatics and sulphur than paraffin, which is a product made of crude oil, allowing optimum results to be obtained. By means of to the gas-to-liquid (GTL) production process, the gas is first converted to liquid. Next, the components of this liquid are converted back to longer chemical chains by means of an oligomerisation process, resulting in isoparaffin. When comparing this process to the one used for crude oil, a product analogous to lamp oil is created, which is yet to be hydrogenated. After hydrogenation, Qlima Kristal and Optimal are created. Both are virtually odourless, aromatics-free, and sulphur-free. And both products are the best possible heater fuels currently available on the market.