Kerosene – or ‘illuminating oil’ – is a petroleum distillate which is widely used in Africa for domestic heating fuel, to produce light in wick-fed oil lamps, and to cook in stoves and pressure burners. But kerosene has other uses, too – when mixed with other additives, it’s used to produce jet fuel, and is also used in the manufacture of insecticides and herbicides to control pests, weeds and fungi.

As a fraction of cured oil in the boiling range of 150°-250°C, it’s treated mainly for reducing aromatic content to increase its smoke point (height of a smokeless flame), and sulphur content to improve its odour, colour and burning qualities (char value).

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