Reducing energy costs with fuel additives

Image: Total

Australian Mining discusses how mining companies can lower their costs by reducing energy consumption with Total.

Energy use is a major expense in the mining industry.

Finding ways to lower energy costs reduces total cost of operation, helping mining companies to improve their bottom line.

The most effective ways to reduce energy costs include: using lighter viscosity grades of lubricants; using synthetic lubricants in industrial gear equipment; high VI viscosity hydraulic fluids; fuel cleanliness; and fuel additives.

Total teams have identified how fuel additives help to reduce energy use and costs.

Additives are often added at the refinery to amend the properties of the base fuel to meet the required specifications at optimal costs.

These may include additives to adapt cetane property, lubricity and cold flow improvers to meet legislative fuel requirements for a region.

Oil companies may use an additive package at different treat rates customised to improve the quality of the diesel usually used on the market. Such additives are added to the fuel during distribution or at the end user’s facility.

Combustion process

The role of an injector in a diesel engine is to atomise fuel, that is, to convert the required volume of “liquid fuel” into many tiny droplets with a size and spray pattern appropriate for auto-ignition combustion.

Converting this fuel into a “spray” form allows for mixing of the fuel with oxygen to form a combustible mix. A fully functioning injector is required for even engine operation and efficient combustion.

Any damage or defect to an injector may affect atomisation of the fuel, which reduces the effectiveness of the atomisation process, resulting in lower efficiency of the combustion process.

Injector deposits

Elevated temperatures at the injector nozzle tip generally propagate external injector deposits. Once initiated, continued build-up of carbonaceous deposits around the injector nozzles is heightened.

Although these deposits will not usually lead to injector failure, the formation of these external deposits on the injector may impact the quality of the combustion process.

The effect of injector fuel spray properties is an unseen issue and may go undetected, resulting in power loss, reduced fuel economy and increase in emissions.

As technology in engines improve, the move to higher fuel temperatures and pressures can also lead to fouling of the internal parts of the injectors, a process known as Internal Diesel Injector Deposits (IDID).

These deposits form on the internal parts of the injector, such as the injector needles and valves. While they can form on any type of injector, recent engines are particularly sensitive.

Fuel additives

Fuel additives can be categorised as organo-metallic or metal-free additives. Organo-metallic additives are commonly used as octane boosters and anti-knock agents.

These additives are then introduced into fuels for diesel engines for their ability to further oxidise soot (particulates) from combustion.

There are a number of metal additives known to improve or catalyse combustion in diesel engines, including barium, cerium, copper, iron and magnesium. Unfortunately, metallic additives have the tendency to form external deposits.

These deposits can build up within the combustion chamber and lead to combustion inefficiencies and higher fuel consumption and maintenance, resulting in an increase in costs.

Further, the use of metal-based additives in fuels is not recommended by many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of newer technology engines, especially those equipped with exhaust after treatment equipment (diesel particulate filters).

Total solutions

Total recommends the use of Total Excellium Concentrate Diesel fuel additives, a premium range of products that “cleans” the engine and provides longstanding protection to make the engine more efficient, more economical and less polluting.

The additive contains no metallic constituents. Therefore, the product is regarded as ashless in accordance with OEM recommendations and the required compliance with local fuel specification is preserved. Total Excellium Concentrate Diesel enables optimum performance of the combustion process within the engine to be sustained, thus maintaining maximum power output. The additive is also fully proven for preventing any IDID formation.

Total Excellium Concentrate Diesel contains deposit control additive technology, reducing deposit build-up by up to 93 per cent. eliminating the carbonaceous deposit formation at the injector nozzle tip. This contributes to improve theengine efficiency and then save fuel.

Furthermore, the reduction in consumption directly results in a reduction in CO2 emissions.

The demand for energy will continue to increase as will the need to reduce carbon emissions resulting from this increase in energy usage.

Any reduction in the use of hydrocarbons (diesel fuel) as a result of improved combustion efficiency can make significant savings to any company’s bottom line.

This article appears in the February 2019 issue of Australian Mining.

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