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28 second kerosene + calcium carbonate: My unscientific observations.

Discussion in 'Pressure Lamp Discussion Forum' started by ColinG, Mar 22, 2018.

  1. ColinG

    ColinG United Kingdom Subscriber

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    As I type, I'm running my Tilley X286 straight leg on UK standard central heating kerosene, also known as 28 second kerosene into which calcium carbonate has been added in an attempt to reduce the unpleasant sulphur odours when it is burned.

    Part One: Handling.


    When filtering and decanting the resultant fuel, I didn't notice any reduction in smell as compared to untreated 28s kero.

    Having filled the lamp with the 'reduced smell' kero it was preheated for 2 minutes and pumped.

    Part Two: Running.

    28s kero burns noticeably brighter, something I've noticed before and the treated fuel is no different. It was very easy to light and required fewer pumps to get the mantle incandescing brightly as compared to lamp paraffin from the petrol station (gas station).

    In use there is a very slight sulphurous odour although it is really not very noticeable.

    Part Three: shutting off.

    In the past, this is the stage where you notice the worst odours as the heat from the recently extinguished lamp continues to vaporise a small amount of fuel left in the vaporiser.

    Having left it running for over two hours I decided it was time to shut it off. Unscrewing the pump or using the control valve to block the jet while still inside both caused lots of 'pong' in the past so I took it outside to perform this part of the test as I didn't want to stink the whole house out. Having taken it out on the porch, I used the control valve first and then released the pressure by unscrewing the pump. There was a momentary smell but that dispersed very quickly so I brought the lamp inside and it really didn't smell. I've tried this before with 28s kero and it always stank... so much so that the next morning you could still smell that the lamp had been used - it permeated the house - but the calcium carbonate treated kero doesn't!

    Conclusion: I'm stunned!

    I left the treated kero for weeks longer than intended because I genuinely thought there was absolutely no point. The science simply didn't back up the claim that this would take out the sulphur content and hence the smell. Added to this, the smell when it was cold seemed exactly the same as raw 28s kero so I figured I'd just wasted 2 gallons of heating kero but I can honestly say I will be quite happy to use my newly de-smelled kero in future. As a kind of control, I asked my wife her opinion and she was happy with the result and that's definitely an improvement. She's also got a sensitive sense of smell so it's not just wishful thinking on my behalf. The kids have always complained when I tried using heating kero but so far they've said nothing.

    So, I know have a useable source of lantern fuel that cost me roughly 50p a litre, which is about a quarter the price of the stuff they sell in the petrol station in town. Now I have to flush out the residue in the bottom of the Jerry can and dispose of it - probably by using it to help start bonfires in the garden when the weather improves.
     
  2. 1956LD1 Ireland

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    well done with the experiment. I must try this. Did you observe any difference in the dye?
     
  3. ColinG

    ColinG United Kingdom Subscriber

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    1956LD1: There was no noticeable difference in the colour except a little milkiness when I was filtering the treated 28s kero..

    A possible explanation:

    As I was going to sleep last night I was trying to work out why there had been a reduction in smell, because logically, nothing should have happened. However, I did came up with one possible scenario... maybe someone can comment on feasibility of my proposed explanation.

    What if some of the calcium carbonate - maybe in the form of very small suspended particles - survived the filtration process and was present in the vaporized fuel as it passed through the generator? If this occurred maybe the calcium carbonate was able to react with the sulphur at the point of combustion. This would be closer to what happens when sulphur combustion products are 'washed' using calcuim carbonate. In essence you have a delayed effect that only happens as the fuel is burnt which would explain why the treated kero still smells in its liquid form.

    I'm no chemist but is there anyone who might have a better understanding of this scenario as a possible explanation? I definitely noticed a marked reduction in smell but I don't like ,mysteries - I like logic and scientific certainty!

    If anyone else would like to try the same experiment I'd be intrigued to know their results. Also, I might try a different lantern, maybe one of my Anchor or Coleman lanterns to see if they also show the same effect. I might also use the new fuel in my Optimus 111 to see if it works the same way in a stove.
     
  4. ColinG

    ColinG United Kingdom Subscriber

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  5. bp4willi Germany

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    This description is very promising.
    I'd also like to test it. But Cooke delivers in UK only.
    Thanks for precise report, Colin.
    Regards willi
     
  6. kero-scene

    kero-scene Australia Subscriber

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    @ColinG @David Shouksmith

    Thanks for posting the experiment, very interesting. Can I ask if you tested this particular barrel of kero prior to adding the calcium carbonate to ensure that it was a smelly batch?

    I am...(a recognised MRACI Chartered chemist that is). It’s an interesting idea in your post but its not my preferred explanation. My preferred answer is my post about adsorption in the earlier thread. There is evidence to support that explanation!

    If David’s suggestion of activated charcoal also removes the smell then you would have addition confirmation that it was adsorbtion and not a chemical reaction.
     
  7. shagratork

    shagratork United Kingdom Founder Member Subscriber

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    The information by 'Cooke Fuels' about odourless kerosene is very interesting.
    I was thinking of trying some of it. Unfortunately, the minimum order is 500 litres (132 US gallons)! :shock:
     
  8. ColinG

    ColinG United Kingdom Subscriber

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    The 28s kero I first tried was from the same tank of fuel and it stank the whole house out so bad everyone complained, myself included. It took about a day for the smell to disperse so the fact that this test worked was pretty significant. As I say, having read David's thoughts on the subject I did a bit more on-line reading and quite honestly, I gave upon the idea until a couple of days ago.

    I suppose I could have a go with charcoal but I only have a bag of BBQ charcoal... would that be OK? To be honest I don't have a lot of motivation to do a test with charcoal as I can now use the calcium carbonate, but I'll try a small batch and see what happens.

    One thing I'm intrigued by is the fact that the treated kero in it's liquid form still smells the same as before, that was yet another reason I postponed testing it for so long. I did check it periodically by sniffing it and as it still smelled the same I assumed nothing was happening. Actually, the second container I used to filter and decant the treated fuel into had a leak and I lost maybe a litre or so onto the workshop floor and bloody hell did it stink! I soaked it up with cardboard boxes and burned them on bonfire in the garden - boy did that go!

    Anyway, I'd still like someone else to confirm my findings by replicating the experiment as my test is currently the only one!

    BTW the amounts I used were approx 1 cup of calcium (it was a US recipe!) to 1 gallon of 28s kero and I treated roughly 2 gallons.
     
  9. 1956LD1 Ireland

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    Ill order some Calcium soon to try it.
     
  10. phaedrus42

    phaedrus42 South Africa Subscriber

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    Be sure to get calcium carbonate and not calcium the metal or you might have a whole other set of problems on your hands! [​IMG] [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  11. ColinG

    ColinG United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Ha ha! Pure calcium - now that would be intetesting!
     
  12. Muzzleflash United Kingdom

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    I'm currently using Kero mixed with a bit of veg oil I had kicking around (I use it in my narrowboat mixed with white diesel). It doesn't appear to smell anymore than regular paraffin, though it doesn't burn brighter either.
     
  13. Tony Press

    Tony Press Australia Subscriber

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    @Muzzleflash

    I’d be worried about carbon build up if using vegetable oil mixed with kerosene in a lantern.

    Tony
     
  14. Muzzleflash United Kingdom

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    It's not something I mixed specifically for lantern use - and I'm only using it in my newest, workhorse 246B.

    I have a few litres of it left over from when I used it in my boat tank for the Webasto boiler - which I used instead of Gasoil for just the reason you cite (carbon build up). As the boiler shares the same fuel tank as the engine, the veg oil was to keep the rotary fuel pump lubed to prevent seizure - which pure kerosene can do to a rotary pump. All academic now, as we no longer liveaboard and only really use the boat in the Summer.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 8, 2018
  15. HighlandDweller United Kingdom

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    Regarding the smell of 28 Sec heating oil, I came across an interesting article that suggested that large quantities of the kerosene which is sold as heating oil is imported from the middle east and often contains several times more sulphur than the regulations demand.

    My 28 Sec heating oil is sourced from Shell, perhaps the particularly smelly stuff being referred to is coming from a less reputable source. Just a though.

    HD
     
  16. ColinG

    ColinG United Kingdom Subscriber

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    We get ours from Highland Fuels so I've always assumed it was OK. I'm still using my special treated kero and it still seems OK.
     
  17. AussiePete

    AussiePete Australia Subscriber

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    I’m gunna stick my head up and state .... I grew up in the Australian outback and remember fondly the smell of the kerosene lamps we had to use coz we did not have power services other than what we produced from wind generation. I’m talking 1950s. So when I have any kero smell, I’m back home as a youngster. Just my fetish, I guess.
     

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