A Comparative Study of Petroleum Fuels in Nairobi and Mombasa County

Adulteration of fuels has increased in recent years especially by small filling stations located in residential estates of major towns, in the rural areas and sometimes even by large industry players. Adulteration results in changes of the fuel’s physico-chemical properties which in turn affect the quality of fuel dispensed at these fuel outlets. This leads to increased tailpipe emissions of hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO), oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) which affects health of individuals and the environment. It also leads to loss of government revenue due to evasion of sales tax and deterioration of performance and parts of engines using the adulterated fuels. In this study the quality of petroleum fuel was analysed and compared to the standards set by KEBS. The parameters analysed included density, viscosity, calorific value, sulphur, flashpoint, cetane index and distillation curves. The results obtained from the study indicated that the calorific value of gasoline samples ranged from 31.35-36.27 MJ/Kg which is lower than the recommended range of 39.7- 43.38 MJ/Kg. The density of the gasoline samples was within the prescribed range of 720-780 Kg/m3. The viscosity of the gasoline samples ranged from 0.67-0.71 cSt which is lower than the prescribed range of 1.6-5.5 cSt. This indicated adulteration of the fuel using adulterants such as kerosene. Of the diesel samples analysed one had a sulphur content of 0.06% which is higher than the standard set by KEBS of 0.05%. The density, viscosity, flashpoint and cetane index of the diesel samples analysed was within the prescribed range. There should be effective monitoring of fuel dispensed at fuel stations in the two counties by the Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure compliance with The Energy (Petroleum Products Quality Management) Regulations, 2014.

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