Did you know that in 2019, almost 30 percent of the world’s manufactured goods were made in China, followed closely by the United States, and then Japan. Ships criss-cross the globe transporting these products to consumers in countries around the world. Whilst shipping is traditionally far less polluting per kilometre travelled than other means of goods transport, the last five years has seen a steep rise in regulations aimed at shipping to help protect the marine environment for future generations. How can technology help meet or exceed these stringent regulations and help keep the sea air clean?
Many shipping companies have already adopted strategies to reduce their environmental impact. As of 1 January 2020, the low sulphur and nitrous oxide emission limits in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations became effective worldwide, requiring shipping operators to limit sulphur emissions from their vessels to 0.50 percent. The industry is also targeted with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% from 2008 levels.
The combined efforts of bodies such as the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), shipbuilders and shipping operators have helped to make enormous strides in reducing emissions in recent years, with a combination of regulations, new technologies and changes in ship design all helping to reduce pollution and improve vessel efficiency. Nevertheless, the growing volume of goods being shipped around the world means that the shipping industry continues to have a significant environmental impact. According to a 2017 study by the International Council on Clean Transportation, if shipping were a country, it would be the 6th largest carbon emitter on the planet. While emissions remain lower than that of road haulage or aviation, there are yet further improvements that can be made.
The enormous hard-working diesel engines in shipping are incredibly efficient, and waste heat is often used for generating power. Slow steaming is a popular way of saving fuel and helping operators make significant fuel savings and reduce emissions, however running at a reduced speed can reduce engine efficiency and over long periods of time can increase soot deposits on moving engine parts and cause premature wear and tear of vital components. Accurate combustion measurement can help further optimize fuel efficiency and thus reduce emissions. ABB’s AZ10 Combustion Oxygen analyzer helps to optimize performance of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) in diesel engines. EGR is an effective way of reducing nitrogen oxide emissions by lowering the concentration of oxygen in the combustion chamber. Optimized combustion control and engine performance is key to reducing emissions and improving fuel efficiency