Cutting Sulphur Oxide Emissions
The new IMO 2020 regulation is getting off the starting blocks. We support you in preparing for it.
From January 1st 2020 onwards, all seagoing vessels will have to reduce sulphur oxides by 85%. The new regulation is set by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) with the aim of cutting sulphur oxide gas emissions, protecting public health and supporting the environment. Vessels must use marine fuels with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5% compared to the current limit of 3.5%.
The regulation will apply globally and throughout the industry to fuels used in the open sea. It will affect vessel operators, refineries, and global oil markets. In the Environmental Control Areas (ECA zones) an even stricter regulation remains, limiting the sulphur content to 0.1%.
Vessel operators have the following choices to comply with the new IMO 2020 sulphur limits:
1. Use Scrubbers
Use Scrubbers (emission cleaning technology) to remove pollutants from the ship’s exhaust, which allows them to continue using higher-sulphur fuels. However, the process of installing Scrubbers is limited and expensive due to space and capacity constraints and will increase operating costs. In addition, the price and availability of higher sulphur fuels after 2020 remains uncertain.
2. Switch to non-petroleum-based fuels
Switch to non-petroleum-based fuels, such as Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). This is feasible for newer vessels with appropriate specifications. However, the infrastructure to support the use of LNG is currently limited in scope and availability. Experts predict that by 2020 approximately 250-500 vessels, or a maximum of 10-12% of the global container fleet, will either be equipped with pollution cleaning technology or will be able to burn LNG. [Source Clarksons Research – June 2019]
3. Switch to a Very Low Sulphur Fuel (VLSF) or MGO
Switch to a Very Low Sulphur Fuel (VLSF) or MGO that complies with the new rules (Most likely choice). However, the cost, widespread availability and specifications of a new fuel for use in marine engines are still uncertain. The petroleum industry needs to adapt refineries and supply chains and is likely to pass these costs on to the market.