3 minute read
27 Nov 2013
12:00 pm

Sasol launches its first low-sulphur diesel

Some time ago Sasol had the payoff line "the fuel of the future". I was young enough to find the following hilarious: "Q What do you call 'Van's' son? The fool of the future!"

PATHBREAKERS. Thabiet Booley, general manager: sales and marketing, Sasol Oil; Alan Cameron, managing director, Sasol Oil and Mohamed Carrim, retail manager, Sasol Oil. Picture: Supplied.

Van of course was the eternal mythical idiot who was the butt of all jokes back then. But the future is upon and behind us, with Sasol now being not only the world’s largest synthetic fuel producer, but SA’s only producer of 10ppm low-sulphur diesel.

Sasol turbodieselTM ULS 10ppm is the lowest sulphur content diesel available in the country and is at least two years ahead of the market requirement in terms of meeting the specifications required.

The fuel is available for now at 78 forecourts in Gauteng and Mpumalanga. The product will be selectively rolled-out to the other areas in 2014 and 2015. The reason for this is partly because it has to be trucked to fuel stations in Sasol’s own trucks, and only in Sasol’s own trucks. This is to prevent the fuel from becoming contaminated by, say, a 50 or 500ppm fuel that is in the supply chain via a mixed-use bowser.

Pumping the fuel down the mixed-use pipelines is therefore not an option and this is mainly why the fuel is available only a certain distance from Secunda, where it is produced.

The advantage of using a low as possible sulphur content fuel is that burnt sulphur is largely the dirty effluent when diesel is ignited in an engine. The less of it you burn, the less dirt is left in your engine and the environment.

But it is not as simple as merely removing sulphur, which in itself is not an easy task. Diesel does more than just burn inside your engine, but it has two crucial other properties: lubricity and detergency. The latter is something that has been a challenge in diesel and in oils specifically for diesel engines for some time and is dealt with by using advanced detergent additives.

Lubricity is crucial and refers to the ability of the fuel to lubricate parts of the engine that are exposed only to the fuel as lubricant. Removing sulphur from diesel makes it less “oily”. This characteristic has to then be replaced through additives to protect high-pressure diesel fuel pumps and injectors.

Cleaner engines burn fuel more efficiently which means Sasol turbodieselTM ULS 10ppm should make your car accelerate slightly better and improve its fuel economy. Most modern diesels have some form of exhaust clean-up system that limit particulate emission into the environment. These require energy at some point to clean themselves or they need to be replaced. Either way, by producing less particulate through lowering the sulphur content you make a saving.

“We are continuously looking for ways to enhance our products to enable the latest technology vehicles to be introduced in South Africa and ultimately benefit the general consumer. It is indeed a huge milestone for Sasol and South Africa” said Mohamed Carrim, retail manager at Sasol Oil.

According to Carrim, the Sasol turbodieselTM ULS 10ppm is suitable for all diesel vehicles, from the latest technology to older generation models, with and without turbocharging.

As the price of diesel fuel is unregulated, only the fuel station owner can determine what it is sold for at the pumps. Sasol has undertaken to use 50ppm as the base price to forecourt owners, so hopefully they will be nice and pass this on, for now anyway.