Recently imposed sulfur caps on shipping fuels in so-called sulfur emission control areas (SECA) are forcing shipping companies to sail on more or less automotive grade diesel in lieu of the considerably less expensive but sulfur-laden heavy fuel oil (HFO). This development is an opportunity for a bio-based substitute, given that most biomass is sulfur free by default. Cracking biomass to an HFO substitute will require both lower capital and operational expenditures - currently less viscous automotive grade fuels are the targeted product. Lower production costs should translate directly into higher profits for biorefineries. We demonstrate the principle of producing a bio-based low sulfur HFO (LSHFO) by cracking lignin - a residual phenolic polymer from cellulosic bioethanol production – with a novel subcritical solvolysis reaction in a mixture of water and ethylene glycol monobutyl ether or EGBE. The results demonstrate that the heating value and viscosity of the resulting LSHFO, which contains up to 75% lignin derivatives, are both in the HFO range.