Bitumen-based fuel is fuel specifically developed for industrial use. Bitumen is obtained by fractional distillation of crude oil. Bitumen being the heaviest and the fraction with the highest boiling point, appears as the bottom-most fraction.
Bitumen is a category of organically-based liquids that are highly viscous, black, and sticky. They are wholly soluble in carbon disulfide. The world's largest deposit of bitumen is in the Orinoco Belt in Venezuela.
Raw bitumen has an extremely high viscosity, between 8 to 10 API degrees, at ambient temperatures, rendering it unusable for use in electrical power stations. Bitumen can be modified by mixing it with fresh water and a small amount of phenol-based surfactant. The resulting mixture has properties similar to conventional fuel oil.
A newer version of bitumen-based fuel has replaced the original version with an alcohol-based surfactant, making it easier to transport the fuel and eliminating the health concerns associated with the phenol group of surfactants.
Bitumen-based fuel is currently used as a commercial boiler fuel in power plants in Canada, Japan, Lithuania, and China). Commonly available air pollutant control technology can limit emissions from Orimulsion to levels considered Best Available Control Technology, as defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.