Black carbon from ships: A review of the effects of ship speed, fuel quality and exhaust gas scrubbing

Lack D, Corbett J ...see all

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, vol. 12, issue 9 (2012) pp. 3985-4000

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Abstract. The International Maritime Organization (IMO)
has moved to address the health and climate impact of the
emissions from the combustion of low-quality residual fuels
within the commercial shipping industry. Fuel sulfur content
(FS) limits and an efficiency design index for future ships are
examples of such IMO actions. The impacts of black carbon
(BC) emissions from shipping are now under review by the
IMO, with a particular focus on the potential impacts of future
Arctic shipping.
Recognizing that associating impacts with BC emissions
requires both ambient and onboard observations, we provide
recommendations for the measurement of BC.We also evaluate
current insights regarding the effect of ship speed (engine
load), fuel quality and exhaust gas scrubbing on BC emissions
from ships. Observations demonstrate that BC emission
factors (EFBC) increases 3 to 6 times at very low engine
loads (BC emissions (per nautical mile of travel) also increase
up to 100% depending on engine load, even with reduced
load fuel savings. If fleets were required to operate at lower
maximum engine loads, presumably associated with reduced
speeds, then engines could be re-tuned, which would reduce
BC emissions.
Ships operating in the Arctic are likely running at highly
variable engine loads (25–100 %) depending on ice conditions
and ice breaking requirements. The ships operating at
low load may be emitting up to 50% more BC than they
would at their rated load. Such variable load conditions make
it difficult to assess the likely emissions rate of BC.
Current fuel sulfur regulations have the effect of reducing
EFBC by an average of 30% and potentially up to 80%
regardless of engine load; a removal rate similar to that of
Uncertainties among current observations demonstrate
there is a need for more information on a) the impact of fuel
quality on EFBC using robust measurement methods and b)
the efficacy of scrubbers for the removal of particulate matter
by size and composition.

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