5 Weird Fuels You've Likely Never Heard of Before

Hog fuel, anyone?

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Drax Biomass

As a polar vortex sweeps down across Canada and the U.S., it seems pleasant to think of something warm, like burning fuel—even weird stuff you probably never heard of.

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1 Charwood Pellets
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Camp Chef

Of all the fuels here, to understand. It’s a blend of charcoal and hickory sawdust (from lumber manufacturing) extruded into a pellet for fueling your pellet grill.

2 Hog Fuel
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Drax Biomass

This —the waste product from sawmills and wood-processing plants. It’s burned in an industrial boiler, furnace, or kiln.

3 Bunker Oil
LNG bunkering heavy fuel oil
HHakimGetty Images

Even the people that know and love Bunker describe it as nasty stuff. Often used for commercial ships, (otherwise known as Heavy Fuel Oil, or HFO) left after the refining process removed the lighter, cleaner, and more volatile products. It’s burned in industrial boilers, furnaces, and, interestingly enough, sophisticated gas turbines.

4 Coke
Steelworks coke blast furnace Port Talbot South Wales UK
Education ImagesGetty Images

No, not the soft drink. is the material left after bituminous coal is baked in an oxygen-free oven to drive off volatiles, which themselves are burned to produce energy. Nearly pure carbon is left. This high-carbon Coke, iron ore, and limestone (and sometimes anthracite coal) are fed into a blast furnace to produce pig iron, the primary ingredient in cast iron and steel.

5 Natural Gasoline
MarkWest Pig Launching And Receiving In Southwest Pennsylvania
Robert NickelsbergGetty Images

It sounds like a contradiction in terms. Natural and gasoline don’t seem to go together. Also known as C5, natural gasoline is a liquid condensate that is produced from natural gas liquids. It’s used as a feedstock to produce motor gasoline.

Other products produced in so-called processing are ethane, propane, butane, and iso-butane.

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