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Bitumen-based fuel is fuel specifically developed for industrial use. The most known bitumen-based fuel is Orimulsion, an emulsion of natural bitumen from Orinoco Belt and fresh water, which was developed by Intevep, the Research and Development Affiliate of Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), with earlier collaboration with BP.
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.
- Ashmar (2010), pp. 14–15
- Ashmar, Basil Nashat (2010). Fossil Fuels in the Arab World: Facts and Fiction: Global and Arab Insights of Oil, Natural Gas and Coal. Lulu.com. ISBN 9780956736802.