Cleaner and Smoother Sailing to Reduce Environmental Damage

Cleaner and Smoother Sailing to Reduce Environmental Damage

Reducing environmental damage has always been a primary concern in the shipping industry, and they are currently working to fix it. While commercial marine insurance can mitigate some of the less desirable effects of maritime operations, there must be more effort to reduce harmful ship emissions.

Cleaner and Greener Sailing

The global push for cleaner and greener fuels has given rise to numerous innovations aimed at improving air quality, preserving the environment, and safeguarding health. As the clamor for even more effective solutions continues, additional attention goes to advanced lubricants and fuel additives.

IMO 2020 and Reduced Sulfur Content 

These latest initiatives are due partly to IMO 2020, a new rule introduced in January 2020 to limit the sulfur content in shipping fuels to 0.5%. A significant decrease from the previous limit of 3.5% sets the goal of improving air quality and reducing shipping fuel usage’s health and environmental impact.  

Conformance to IMO 2020 is now compulsory after the amending of Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). The amendment is a significant step forward in reducing carbon emissions in the shipping industry. 

The world’s four emission-control areas (ECAs) are subject to stricter sulfur content limits. In these regions‒the Baltic, North Sea, North America, and the U.S. Caribbean Sea‒ships are restricted to fuels with a sulfur content not exceeding 0.1%.

IMO 2020 is expected to reduce sulfur emissions by as much as 86%. That works to approximately 8.5 million tons less sulfur in the atmosphere every year. It is especially significant considering the link between emissions and respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and environmental hazards such as acid rain. 

Complying with IMO 2020 Regulations

Shipping operators can comply with the new regulations by implementing the following measures

  1. Shift from high-sulfur heavy fuel oils (HFOs) to deficient sulfur fuel oils (VLSFOs)
  2. Install “scrubbers” (gas cleaning mechanisms for exhaust systems)
  3. Shift to alternative fuels with lower sulfur content, such as LNG

The Problem with Low-Sulfur Fuels

As you can see, many proposed solutions reduce fuel’s sulfur content. But this also reduces its lubricating properties, resulting in quicker engine wear. The most efficient way to counteract this is by using additives that restore the fuel’s lubricity and improve its performance while reducing carbon emissions.

Additives are the Future

One such solution is SulNOxEco. Manufactured by the UK-based firm, SolNOx, it is a sustainable product that is a feasible alternative to refinery byproducts commonly used to restore fuel’s lubricity.

Unlike the aforementioned byproducts, SulNOxEco increases the lubricity and detergency of fuel without masking inefficient combustion. It emulsifies free water present in the fuel, thereby increasing its available oxygen. As a result, the fuel provides more torque and power and performs more efficiently at lower temperatures.

Furthermore, SulNOxEco reduces fuel particulates by as much as 60% and decreases greenhouse gas emissions by 30%. And it does all this while reducing fuel costs by 8% to 10% on average.

Real-world tests supported these figures by monitoring the performance of an 18-cylinder engine at different throttle settings. After adding SulNOxEco, the engine’s power per liter rating increased by 19% and its torque by 16%. The reduced operating temperature resulted in fewer emissions and a more reliable engine overall.

Other findings suggested fuel additives’ benefits in improving stability. A study conducted by ADERCO Smart Solutions based in Singapore showed that adding the company’s product to fuel lowered its Total Sediment Potential (TSP) by a whopping 90%. Furthermore, its Total Sediment Accelerated (TSA) and Existent Total Sediment (TSE) ratings also decreased considerably.

What the Future Holds for Alternative Fuels

Admittedly, we are still far from developing a feasible alternative to hydrocarbon-based fuels. Nevertheless, reducing sulfur content and additives that improve performance while lowering emissions point the way forward to more environmentally friendly fuels.

About Merrimac Marine Insurance

At Merrimac Marine, we are dedicated to providing insurance for the marine industry to protect your clients’ business and assets. For more information about our products and programs, contact our specialists today at (800) 681-1998.