A new report by one of Europe’s leading independent marine research organizations has concluded that shipping’s continued use of residual fuels and scrubbers can help towards global CO2 reduction.
The study – published by Norway’s SINTEF – reveals that the use of HFO (heavy fuel oil) with an exhaust gas cleaning system (EGCS) is the most environmentally beneficial means of meeting global Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets.
“Our studies indicate that two-stroke engines with exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and scrubbers represent the most cost-effective and GHG-effective way of meeting both IMO Tier 3 NOx rules and the 2020 sulphur cap,” explains SINTEF’s chief scientist Dr Elizabeth Lindstad.
Dr Lindstad states that based on the energy consumed during the global production of distillate fuels, the continued use of residual fuel will have a positive impact on global GHG emissions, given the energy required to produce distillates would result in higher levels of CO2 being released into the atmosphere.
“With new modern refineries set up to convert crude into higher priced products, HSFO will, from 2020, be delivered from existing refineries where its share of energy consumption can be considered to be next to nothing.
“The explanation is that the heavy bunker oil coming out from the refinery is the bottom of the barrel.
"If we acknowledge the lower energy consumption in delivering HSFO and deduct the refining we get 9g to 10g of CO2 equivalent per MJ for HFO, rather than 13g to 15g of CO2 equivalent per MJ for LSFO/MGO.”
Dr Lindstad also believes that emissions abatement rules need to be reviewed to consider pollution problems in different areas.
“To meet climate targets by reducing global GHG emissions, we can no longer afford to have standards that are strict in areas where we do not have local pollution problems – while areas with high pollution may need even stricter rules than today.”