Types of Fuel

KEROSENE

Primarily used as a domestic heating oil, Kerosene is the technical name for common heating oil that is used in homes, farms and industry as a fuel for heating, cooking and ‘light’ appliances.  Derived from petroleum, kerosene (or kero as it is often called) is a non-corrosive, less volatile and lighter fuel than others such as gasoline or red diesel, which makes it safe to store and handle. 

It is a combustible hydrocarbon liquid which is widely used as aviation fuel as well as its prime use as a household heating fuel. Kerosine is colourless, but for certain consumptions it will be dyed blue to avoid it being inadvertently mixed with other types of fuel.

For those with a penchant for detail, kerosene is also known as 28-second oil.  This is a term used in relation to viscosity.  This is measured through a test of the length of time taken for 50ml of kerosene to drip into a glass.  It’s easy to understand how red diesel is also known as 35-second oil.

GAS OIL

Primarily used as a domestic heating oil, Kerosene is the technical name for common heating oil that is used in homes, farms and industry as a fuel for heating, cooking and ‘light’ appliances.  Derived from petroleum, kerosene (or kero as it is often called) is a non-corrosive, less volatile and lighter fuel than others such as gasoline or red diesel, which makes it safe to store and handle. 

It is a combustible hydrocarbon liquid which is widely used as aviation fuel as well as its prime use as a household heating fuel. Kerosine is colourless, but for certain consumptions it will be dyed blue to avoid it being inadvertently mixed with other types of fuel.

For those with a penchant for detail, kerosene is also known as 28-second oil.  This is a term used in relation to viscosity.  This is measured through a test of the length of time taken for 50ml of kerosene to drip into a glass.  It’s easy to understand how red diesel is also known as 35-second oil.

DIESEL

Diesel fuel or diesel oil is the same substance.  It is a heavy combustible oil that is designed for use in a diesel engine.  It is obtained from fractions of crude oil which is less volatile than gasoline or petrol.  Diesel fuel has a higher energy release on combustion compared to an equal volume of gasoline, which results in diesel engines producing superior fuel economy than petrol ones.

There are various grades of diesel which can differ depending on specification or country of use.

RED DIESEL

Red diesel is no different from regular diesel (also known as white diesel).  It has precisely the same chemical properties required to run diesel-powered engines. 

 

However, it is its usage which is entirely different.  Red diesel is intended for use in off-road vehicles, and in fact it is illegal to use it in road going vehicles.  Why?  It is a question of tax, with red diesel having a lower duty rate than standard diesel, so in effect if red diesel is used in a road-driven vehicle, it is illegal as it is deemed tax evasion.  An exception to this is farmers and construction sites which widely use red diesel to power farm vehicles and industrial plant and machinery. 

 

Red diesel is significantly cheaper which lowers the otherwise high cost of agricultural production or construction, and is coloured red for easy identification.

DERV

The acronym DERV stands for diesel engine road vehicle rather than the type of fuel.  It is no other than white diesel which is used to power vehicles that have diesel engines, such as lorries, vans, trains, boats and many types of car.

Its name is commonly used by the fuel industry to distinguish this white diesel from the heavily tax rebated red diesel.

WHITE DIESEL

White diesel is the most commonly used fuel to power cars, lorries, vans, motorbikes, and is the diesel you see and buy at your ‘petrol’ forecourt.  It can be used in the heavier industries such as agriculture or construction, but it is uneconomic to use in quantities in these sectors due to the higher fuel duty rate.  This is why these communities use red diesel.

 

It’s also known as road diesel, diesel, forecourt diesel or ultra-low sulphur diesel (ULSD).

BIOFUEL or BIO DIESEL

The dictionary definition of biofuel is a fuel derived immediately from living matter.

 

Biofuel or Biodiesel is a liquid fuel produced from renewable sources such as plants, new and used vegetable oils or animal fats and the natural waste that can be obtained from agricultural, domestic or industrial situations, known as ‘biowaste’.  Used cooking oil is a well-known source.  Adding alcohol to any of these renewable sources turns it into a fuel that can power engines.

 

It is of course a ‘greener’ fuel than fossil fuel alternatives such as oil, and can be produced in a much shorter time span.  It is also non-toxic and biodegradable which adds to its environmental credentials.

HVO

This stands for hydrotreated vegetable oil and is also known as ‘renewable diesel’.  It is a fossil-free alternative to mineral diesel derived from animal, plant, or algae remains, which has a huge impact in reducing greenhouse gas emissions – sometimes by as much as 90%.

 

The HVO credentials are not entirely green, as if palm oil or waste from palm oil production is used as the base material, this could contribute to deforestation and high carbon emissions.

 

There is considerable on-going investment and research into HVOs but at this stage it is more expensive than diesel in most markets.

HYDRAULIC OIL

Hydraulic oil also known as hydraulic fluid is a synthetic or mineral fluid used to transfer power in hydraulic systems.

 

Both hydraulic oil and regular (engine) oil are both lubricants, their purpose is different. Engine oil is used to clean and protect internal combustion engines, and hydraulic oils are non-flammable fluids used in hydraulic systems.

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Compass Energy Limited
Bowman House, Bowman Court
Whitehill Lane
Royal Wootton Bassett
Wiltshire SN4 7DB

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