Barbados first with new low sulphur diesel
Barbados has scored a Caribbean first with its introduction of ultra-low sulphur diesel (ULSD) this month.
State importer the Barbados National Oil Company Limited (BNOC), which said the new product would improve vehicle durability and reduce maintenance costs and was available to other users including manufacturers and fisherfolk, said up to now no other Caribbean island had offered the product to their consumers.
However, in a published notice announcing ULSD, the BNOC did not rule out a price increase for drivers who chose to fill up their vehicles with the fuel, saying it did not expect “any major increase in price”.
“For years many users of standard diesel have been calling for this product and as of December 2013 BNOC will introduce ULSD which will replace the diesel at the service stations on the island,” BNOC said.
“This will identify Barbados as the first Caribbean island to introduce this product to the market. It is available in Europe and extensively throughout the United States . . . . ULSD is becoming increasingly easier to source.
“Sulphur, a naturally occurring element found in crude oil, is converted to sulphur dioxide when fuel is burnt in the engine. This sulphur dioxide is the element that creates harmful diesel emissions when released into the atmosphere through the exhaust.
Atmospheric soot and fine particles produced from the combustion of sulphur have been implicated in human heart and lung damage,” it noted.
The organization said ULSD was produced “via a complex process called hydrothreating” where the sulphur was removed before the product was refined to the diesel that is available at service stations.
BNOC said having ULSD was a plus for Barbados since “many vehicles and engiens are now manufactured to operate more efficiently with ultra low sulphur fuels because the filters, traps and catalysts in these engines work better in the low sulphur environment”.
“The durability of these devices is also improved with the ULSD fuel as maintenance costs are reduced. In addition, the quest for a cleaner air quality leads the way in the introduction of the ULSD. It is one of Government’s planks in the mission to achieve clean air quality,” it explained.
BNOC also said in addition to being able to be used by all vehicles which currently used regular diesel, the ULSD could be safely utilized by industrial consumers including manufacturers.
It and the Ministry of Energy have already held meetings with “all the stakeholders who are presently known to use diesel and had extensive discussions with these groups”.
“They have all expressed their satisfaction with the introduction of the ULSD. One such group was the fisherfolk who use diesel in their fishing boats. The sulphur is standard diesel assisted with the lubrication of those types of engines which are exposed to the harsh salt water conditions,” BNOC pointed out.
“The elimination of the sulphur was therefore a concern for them so to address this issue a harmless agent has been introduced to the ULSD that will increase the lubricity in the engine. They were satisfied that their concerns have been addressed.”
It added that other users “have already confirmed their approval of this product”, noting that standard diesel had a maximum sulphur content of 5 000 parts per million compared to ULSD which had a maximum sulphur content of 15 parts per million. (SC)