Skip to comments.Marine fuel rules could cost billions, analysts say (European Union regs)
Posted on 08/21/2012 8:27:43 AM PDT by Olog-hai
A European crackdown on pollution from ships will require billions worth of investment by shipping firms on filter technology and by refineries on upgrades to produce cleaner fuelsburdens the industries say they can ill afford.
The shipping industry is already struggling due to poor global demand and overcapacity, which have pushed freight rates to unprofitable levels for many operators. European refineries are under pressure from high crude costs, cheap refined product imports and weak demand.
To comply with new European Union laws, shipping companies now face extra costs of 2.6 billion ($3.2 billion) to 11 billion ($13.7 billion) to switch fuels or to fit exhaust filters that would scrub out the sulfur in marine fuel oil.
The new rules require that the sulfur content in shipping fuels fall to 0.1% from 1% by 2015 in "sulfur emission control areas" in the Baltic, North Sea and English Channel. In other EU waters, they will be limited to 0.5% sulfur by 2020, in line with global International Maritime Organization rules.
(Excerpt) Read more at euractiv.com ...
This is easy. The various shipping firms should boycott European ports under the argument that their ships don’t comply with the rules. Let the Euroweenies starve.
As a reference point, the ultra low sulfur diesel sold at pumps here in the US is 15 ppm - .0015 percent.
The target in Europe and in US water is N6 fuel oil.
The US Coast Guard has banned another heavier than 10 API gravity, so low sulfur slurry oils are ruled out for marine use.
“banned anything heavier.”
The low sulfur rules for ships are here in the US already. The Coast Guard and the EPA have started enforcing the “North American Emission Control Area” regulation since August 1st, which roughly extends 200 nautical miles off the coastlines of US and Canada. It requires ships to burn fuel of 1% sulfur or less within this area until 2015, after which it must be 0.1% sulfur or less. The CG boards the ships, writes the ticket, and the EPA then chooses to enforce the violation - maybe with a fine, which as many may know, under the Clean Air Act, each day the ship is in violation is a separate and distinct violation.
This is a dramatic change in sulfur percentage from what was allowed just a short time ago. On January 2010 the world-wide standard went from 4.5% sulfur to 3.5% sulfur. That change along with the price of crude sent bunker (ship’s fuel) prices skyrocketing. It is tough for ship owners and managers to operate at even the break-even point, and there are more environmental and labor-related laws coming just around the corner.
Low sulfur fuels are also a significant technical challenge with safety concerns: A large 2-stroke diesel engine like the ones commonly used as propulsion engines on ships is designed to burn fuel of a high viscosity with a high BTU content. The engine’s fuel injection equipment is engineered to atomize this heavy fuel in a very fine spray so it ignites and burns quickly and completely. Most of the low-sulfur fuels that are available are of far lower viscosity with a lower BTU rating. The fuel injection equipment does not atomize the thinner fuel as well and what was a fine spray turns into a squirt instead. This “squirt” of fuel does not ignite as readily nor does it burn completely and since it has a lower BTU content it produces less power as well.
There is a safety issue too since the thinner fuel doesn’t ignite as well, at slow speed maneuvering it is not uncommon for the “fire to go out” and the main engine to stop, especially when maneuvering and the engine is repeatedly started first one way then the other to change propeller rotation. Many of these propulsion engines run as slow as 25 RPM at this maneuvering speed.
Shipping is a wonderful business and of course vital to the world’s economy. It is too bad that they present such a large target for regulators to regulate against.
I sold bunkers on the Great Lakes for 16 years. The Great Lakes are due for switchover in 2015, or so I’m told.
I understand that the old steam turbines have been exempted from having to abandon 10 API N6, tfn.
The V-16 Pielsticks can switch to N2 fuel from IFO 280/320 and usually start and end the season on the lighter fuel. Most of these vessels preferred 11.7 API and 151 SSF @ 122 visc. Pielstick operators, including Interlake Steamship now worry about the lack of sulfur (lubricant) causing damage to these big motors.
The former Bethlehem Steel 1,000 footers were built with EMD engines and have always operated on N2. Ditto the 1,000 footer Columbia Star, now operated by American Steamship.
Inland Steel’s ore carrier Ryerson ran a full season on my 0 to -4 API slurry oil and proved the higher BTU fuel got better milage. The USCG got wind of this and banned anything heavier than 10 API, based on the theory that all the 10 API would float is spilled and the heavier fuels would sink.
Yes of course there are other issues I didn’t mention besides viscosity in my earlier post including accelerated liner & injector pump/nozzle wear, switching cylinder oils and feed rates for different fuels, etc., not to mention the Chief Engineer is now not being allowed to adjust engine settings counter to the “NOx Technical File” for a particular engine without risking a bust from the EPA or other port state control official in a foreign port. Throw in California’s distillate-only low-sulfur requirement and the EPA’s Tier I/II/III diesel engine emission standards and it is a regulatory minefield where a typical, modern vessel might have to have 3 or 4 types of fuel aboard to be ready for world-wide charter.
For the ECA regulation, to my understanding, its just the sulfur percentage that is regulated - in fact the EPA has said they will accept residual fuels or residual-distillate blends so long as it meets sulfur std. You may be right about the heavier fuel being banned on the lakes due to it sinking, I’m out of my depth on that one!!! I’m a salt sailor not a fresh water one.
EMDs - know the older ones well, went through the factory school at LeGrange Ill back when it was owned by Government Motors and worked on 567s & 645s on various CG cutters I was on over the years. They are very forgiving and seem to run forever, not sure if the new production 2-strokes under Caterpillar’s ownership of EMD are as good. We ran JP5 in them on the Alaska patrol cutters (AC generator engines and buoy tender diesel-electric propulsion sets) and other than a little premature injector wear noted no ill effects. Know the old opposed piston Fairbanks and Alco V’s well too but never laid a wrench to a Pielstick although I understand they were/are great engines. I don’t think the US builds any very-large engines anymore, do they? Almost everything I see anymore on ships propulsion-wise is MAN/B&W, and everything is becoming computer controlled and very different than my old wrench-turning days.
You are right about the steamship exemption, it was submitted to IMO by the US contingent but not adopted by the environmental committee (MEPC 62 I think) so it is US only and does not apply in the other Emission Control Areas in the EU. There are still a few US-flag companies running steamships out on the oceans (Horizon Lines for one) as well as the lakers.
And then there is the ballast water regs which nobody can possibly meet... But, Regulators (make that ‘Rats) gotta regulate...