Published on August 22nd, 2012 | by Joshua S Hill1
Cleaner Fuel for the Big Ships of the Seas
Another presentation from the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) concerning alternative fuels saw scientists describing the development of a new fuel mexture that they believe will ease the major air pollution and cost problems facing cruise ships, oil tankers, and container ships, each of which tend to burn the cheapest and most highly polluting form of diesel fuel.
According to George N. Harakas, Ph.D., these large vessels have slow-speed engines specifically designed to burn the inexpensive “bunker fuels” that are, literally, the bottom-of-the-barrel residue from the petroleum refining process.
Bunker fuels are high in substances (such as sulfur) that produce air pollution, which creates a serious health and environmental problem when ships cruise along the shore or drop anchor in ports of heavily populated urban areas.
Harakas and colleagues from the Maine Maritime Academy and SeaChange Group LLC developed a fuel by adding two ingredients to low-sulfur diesel to produce what they call Bunker Green fuel, a member of the Eco-Hybrid fuel family.
The resulting fuel has improved emission properties and the potential to lower fuel costs for the shipping industry as a whole.
Laboratory tests conducted at the Marine Engine Testing and Emissions Laboratory (METEL) at the Maine Maritime Academy demonstrated that the fuel produced 15 percent lower emissions of soot-like particles and 26 percent less nitrogen oxide pollutants.
Harakas concluded that Bunker Green fuel could help the shipping industry reduce air pollution to meet these IMO regulations, especially for older ships.