What is the difference between fuel oil and heating oil ? Which one to fill your domestic tank?

Winter is coming, and with it, you have to think about ordering your heating fuel to fill the tank in your home. Mainly used in individual homes in rural areas, domestic fuel oil is the 3th heating energy in France after electricity and gas. But what is the difference between oil and oil? How to choose so as not to be mistaken? Explanations.

Oil or oil: what’s the difference?

In France, the term mazout is widely used to designate domestic fuel oil. In other French-speaking countries, we will talk more about heating oil. So to the question “What to choose between fuel oil or fuel oil?” “, we will answer” It does not matter, it is only a story of appellation”. For the anecdote on the history, the term “mazout” would be a derivative of the Russian name, while the term “fioul” would come from the Frenchization of the English word “fuel”. However, fuel oil includes several fuels or fuels, including fuel oil, but also gasoline, coal, or even wood.

Heating oil: Presentation of the 3th heating energy in France

Fuel oil is a fuel resulting from the refining of crude oil, which can only be used for heating private homes, heating an agricultural greenhouse, or powering a stationary motor on a farm. These are the only uses authorized in France.

It has many advantages: a high calorific value, that is to say again, a homogeneous heating, which does not dry out the ambient air. Also, it does not ignite at room temperature, which does not present any danger for the dwelling and for the occupants, unlike other means of heating. Its lifespan is also to be commended. Up to 30 years if properly maintained is a small feat of technology.

Unfortunately, it has a major drawback: its carbon footprint! Too polluting and fruit of the distillation of oil which is a fossil fuel, it is obviously in the crosshairs of ecology, and tends to be gradually replaced by other more sustainable alternatives.

From oil to the boiler: how is fuel oil produced?

Fuel oil is the result of petroleum refining. This step consists of the separation of different compounds of a substance to extract each of them individually. This is called “distillation”. The crude product, here oil, is then introduced into a distillation column. This is brought to a very high temperature, which will gradually separate the lighter molecules from the heavier ones. Thanks to this distillation, we can obtain gasoline, diesel oil, gas, kerosene, etc.

Then, a new conversion step will consist in breaking the heaviest molecules to extract a maximum of light products which are the most used. After this step, it will still be necessary to make these molecules usable. It will then be necessary to go through the so-called improvement stage, which will consist of making the product compliant with European standards in terms of pollution in particular. The sulfur and lead values ​​will then be reduced.

Finally, the main product obtained will then be mixed with other finished petroleum products or with additives to give it special technical properties, such as antifreeze or fireproofing. The process is then complete, and the product obtained officially becomes domestic fuel oil.

Why does fuel oil smell like diesel?

Because it’s the same fuel, or almost. Indeed, the diesel sold in service stations has properties almost similar to those of domestic fuel oil. Their only differences lie in the cetane rate which is higher in diesel, and the sulfur content which is higher in fuel oil, but these two different rates would have no impact, neither environmental nor on the vehicle.

However, for tax reasons in particular, a red dye is added to the fuel oil marketed in France to be able to distinguish them and facilitate checks and verbalization in the event of abuse of consumption linked to the significant difference in price between each of them. Diesel, on the other hand, is green in color. It would therefore be quite possible to “drive on red”, and this without any damage to the vehicle provided that it is a diesel of course, but this is a prohibited practice and heavily sanctioned by the Code. customs. This fraud can cost up to twice its value, confiscation of the material that enabled the fraud, including the vehicle, and a prison sentence of up to 3 years.

Towards the end of the use of fuel oil

Since 1is July 2022, the installation of new heating or hot water production equipment running on fuel oil is prohibited, except in the event of the impossibility of using other energy sources, which must be justified by a study of feasibility of energy supplies, or by an energy audit carried out by a qualified professional.

On this date, therefore, new equipment installed for heating and/or hot water production in residential or professional buildings must comply with a greenhouse gas emissions ceiling of 300 gCO2eq/Kwh NCV. . No, it’s not a typo. LCV stands for “lower caloric value”. It is the theoretical quantity of energy contained in a fuel. The higher it is, the more energy the product provides. The ceiling indicated therefore corresponds to a maximum carbon dioxide emission of 300 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt hour. This is the maximum carbon footprint now authorized for heating and domestic hot water production equipment. This ceiling therefore excludes the installation of new equipment running solely on fuel oil or coal.

These directives appear under the fire of the climatic emergency to limit the emanation of greenhouse gases, and of the very marked will to stop using fossil fuels, in favor of renewable energies which emit little or no CO2 in the atmosphere. However, devices already installed may continue to be used, maintained and repaired. Financial aid of up to €11,000 is available to replace these heating systems in favor of renewable energy equipment.

The use of biofuel: a credible and sustainable alternative

A little rapeseed in your boiler, anyone? Biofuel is the alternative to domestic fuel oil for nearly 3.5 million French households concerned. Composed of domestic fuel oil, fatty acid methyl ester is added for nearly 30%, mainly from rapeseed. 100% natural, rapeseed is a plant that produces oil and vegetable protein, particularly intended for the feeding of livestock.

The liquid obtained is a biofuel perfectly substitutable for fossil fuel oil, and authorized since it respects the greenhouse gas emission ceiling detailed above. Technically, it turns out to be quite reliable; ecologically, it is acceptable; economically, it is affordable. It looks like it ticks all the boxes for a good compromise. The objective set by the players in the biofuel chain: The single use of a heating bioliquid by 2040 for combustion boilers. An a priori tenable schedule, of which some deadlines have already been set:

  • July 2022: Marketing of biofuel F30, containing 30% rapeseed frag. This is compatible with new boilers only;
  • 2024: Marketing of biofuel F10, containing only 10% rapeseed frag. It should then be compatible with all boilers;
  • 2028: Marketing of a biofuel containing 50% renewable energy;
  • 2032: Development of a bioliquid containing 100% renewable energy;
  • 2040: Generalization of 100% renewable bioliquid.

Another advantage? The one presented for French agriculture. This is a new, rather positive externality for players in the sector, who can see in this a new esterification market to be seized.

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