Fuel oil, often called “oil,” is a petroleum-based liquid fuel used for various applications, primarily in the heating and power generation industries. It is a product of the refining process of crude oil and is categorized into different grades or types, each with specific properties and intended uses. The characteristics of fuel oil can vary depending on its grade, but generally, it is a thick and viscous liquid that is relatively stable at room temperature.

There are several common grades of fuel oil, including:

Residual Fuel Oil (RFO): Also known as heavy fuel oil (HFO), this is a thick and dense fuel oil used in industrial boilers, power plants, and marine engines. It has a high energy density but can contain impurities and pollutants, which require specialized equipment for combustion.

Distillate Fuel Oil: This category includes lighter and less dense fuels used in diesel engines and for heating in residential and commercial applications. There are two primary types within this category:

Diesel Fuel: Used in diesel engines for vehicles, trucks, and industrial equipment.

Kerosene is used to heat homes, aviation, and some industrial processes.

Bunker Fuel: These are heavy, residual fuels used in shipping and marine applications, such as powering large cargo ships. They are typically lower in quality and less refined than other fuel oils.

Light Fuel Oil (LFO) is a lighter and cleaner fuel oil often used in residential heating systems and smaller industrial boilers. It is also known as No. 1 or 2 heating oil, depending on its grade and sulfur content.

The choice of fuel oil grade depends on factors like the type of equipment, emission regulations, and the intended use. Residual fuels like RFO and bunker fuel tend to have higher sulfur content and emit more pollutants when burned, making them less environmentally friendly. In contrast, distillate fuels like diesel and kerosene are cleaner but have different properties suited for their specific applications.

It’s worth noting that there is a global shift toward cleaner and more environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional fuel oils, such as natural gas, renewable energy sources, and cleaner-burning fuels, driven by environmental concerns and regulations aimed at reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.