Did you know maritime ships cause about 8% of the world’s sulfur dioxide emissions?
Yet that tiny 8% contributes to harmful acid rain, and between 12,000 and 31,000 U.S. deaths per year, according to Micheal Samulski, the director of the EPA’s Large Marine and Aviation Center.
And these effects don’t just stay on the coast, either; the chemicals can travel through the air thousands of miles inland.
International Marpol Annex VI maritime emissions standards were set forth in 2005 to curb sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, and those regulations are slated to increase in 2016.
Ahead of this rise in clean-air requirements, North American ocean carrier TOTE is moving to adjust the fuel use in its ships.
The company has a few options…
It could use higher-grade diesel fuel, but this is an expensive change in the long run. It could install scrubbing technologies akin to catalytic converters in cars, but the available technology is not yet advanced enough to handle TOTE’s ships.
So the company chose an inherently cleaner and comparably cheaper option: natural gas.
The company’s first LNG-run ship is called the Isla Bella, and will begin working later this year, traveling a route between Puerto Rico and Jacksonville, Florida. Another similar ship is slated to be working the same route by early 2016.
TOTE expects these ships to emit 97% less sulfur dioxide, 98% less nitrogen oxide, and 72% less carbon dioxide than traditional oil maritime ships.
TOTE CEO Anthony Chiarello has said, “I personally believe within the next ten years, LNG will be the predominant maritime fuel.”
With the low-price environment natural gas is in now, and the upcoming U.S. LNG export terminals being completed in the next few years, now seems like the opportune time for this change in fuel sources.
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Until next time,
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