Mandated into law for less than three weeks and very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO), shipping’s new number one bunkering choice, is already facing calls to be banned, especially in Arctic waters.
A submission made by Finland and Germany to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) suggests VLSFO has higher black carbon emissions than its forebear, high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO).
The detailed submission, funded by the German Environment Agency and assisted by class society DNL GL and engine maker MAN ES, shows that new blends of marine fuels with 0.50% sulphur content can contain a large percentage of aromatic compounds, which have a direct impact on black carbon emissions.
“New hybrid fuels with 0.50% sulphur content used in the study contained a high proportion of aromatic compounds in a range of 70% to 95%, which resulted in increased [black carbon] emissions in a range of 10% to 85% compared to HFO,” the study claimed. The higher emissions were most noticeable when the engine was running at less than full capacity.
The submission urges that aromatic content be included in the specification of marine fuels of the ISO 8217 petroleum standard.
The black carbon news has quickly seen a number of NGOs call for VLSFO found to have high aromatic contents to be banned for ships transiting Artic waters.