Come January 2015 emissions of Sulphur Dioxide (SOx) in all Emissions Controlled Areas (ECAs) must be reduced to 0.1%.
ECAs, also known as Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECAs), cover the Baltic Sea, North Sea, English Channel and the waters 200 miles off the coasts of America and Canada, and were established to minimise pollution from ships as part of the 1997 MARPOOL Protocol. Since 2010 sulphur emissions have been set at 1.0%, but to meet the stringent targets emissions will be reduced again come January.
Why were ECAs introduced?
It became apparent that there were certain areas in the world where shipping activity was significantly higher and so Emissions Control Areas were set up to minimise damage to the environment. Typically a ship will release over 35,000 parts per million (ppm) of sulphur in its exhaust fumes. When you compare this to the average car, which releases less than 10 ppm, it is easy to see why reducing damaging exhaust emissions from shipping is important.
What is sulphur dioxide?
Sulphur naturally occurs in crude oil, which is concentrated in the residue of refinery distillation. The sulphur content found in fuel oils differs, from 1% (LSFO – low sulphur fuel oil) to over 4%, depending on the refining process. During combustion in a diesel engine, sulphur from the fuel is oxidised to sulphur dioxide (SO2). The oxidised product has effects on both the engine system and environment when emitted to the atmosphere.
The new compliance rules will apply to all vessels operating within any ECA. For ship owners there are two options to meet the requirements of the SOx emissions regulations:
Option 1: Switch to an alternative fuel with the correct sulphur content
Option 2: Install a scrubber to remove sulphur from the exhaust fumes following combustion
Find out more about marine emissions and compliance.
For further information contact us on:
Tel: +44 1903 731470