Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Investigation of Particulate Matter Emission Reduction Using Biofuel Blends in Residual Oil-Fired Power Generation Units NYS(ST10081-1)

Brookhaven National Lab


Emissions of NOx, SO2, and particulates from the burning of residual oil in NYS are a problem, aggravated by the fact that it typically occurs in densely populated areas. The use of biofuels is targeted at reducing sulfur oxides, fine particulates, and nitrogen oxides, and as a renewable fuel, potentially serves as a CO2 reduction strategy. Since biofuel is virtually sulfur-free, blending it with residual fuel oil should produce a reduction in sulfur-related emissions. Reduction of particulate emissions is expected, but must be determined by measurements. Some testing has suggested a modest reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions as well, which also need to be quantified.

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Project Description

Objectives include: (1) Determine the differences in combustion performance and in gaseous emissions in assessing the viability of the blends in residual-oil-fired plants. A range of fuel blends including ASTM 6751 biodiesel and soy methyl esters with residual fuel oil will be burned in a 2-million-Btu/hr boiler at Brookhaven, as well as residual-oil/biofuel blends using an alternate liquid biofuel to be chosen based on NYPA recommendations. (2) Determine the differences in fine PM emissions and the qualitative composition of elemental and organic carbon related to these emissions, using EPA CTM-039 (a dilution sampling method) under two filter temperature ranges. ASTM 6751 biodiesel/residual fuel oil blends will be tested as a base case. Tests will also be conducted using alternate liquid biofuel such as soy methyl ester or as identified in task 1. (3) A feasibility study will be conducted comparing these results to data from NYPA testing performed at the Charles Poletti Power Project in Astoria, NY, related to SO2, NOx, and PM conducted with a blend of 20% biodiesel with the baseline residual oil.


Harmful emissions from combustion of residual oil could be reduced across the State with the blending of biodiesel or biofuel with the residual oil. Use of biofuels could be a Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative compliance strategy. The blending may also lead to energy savings, because the blend may not need to be heated to the same temperature for pumping as residual oil alone. The increased demand for biodiesel could drive job creation within the State.

Project Results

The project was completed, but a suitable source of biofuel could not be found for testing. A draft final report was received and the results have been submitted to a peer-reviewed journal for publication.


Brookhaven National Lab
32 Lewis Road Building 130
Upton, NY 11973

Principle Investigator

Tom Butcher

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Research Study

Technologies Types:

Energy Power Supply

NYSERDA Contact Information

Barry Liebowitz


R&D -Transport & Power Systems

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST10081-1

Last Updated: 6/28/2013