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Old 07-21-2010, 03:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Angry Large shipping vessels,are they really efficient ? EPA Hypocrisy

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Britain and other European governments have been accused of underestimating the health risks from shipping pollution following research which shows that one giant container ship can emit almost the same amount of cancer and asthma-causing chemicals as 50m cars.

Confidential data from maritime industry insiders based on engine size and the quality of fuel typically used by ships and cars shows that just 15 of the world's biggest ships may now emit as much pollution as all the world's 760m cars. Low-grade ship bunker fuel (or fuel oil) has up to 2,000 times the sulphur content of diesel fuel used in US and European automobiles.

Pressure is mounting on the UN's International Maritime Organisation and the EU to tighten laws governing ship emissions following the decision by the US government last week to impose a strict 230-mile buffer zone along the entire US coast, a move that is expected to be followed by Canada.

The setting up of a low emission shipping zone follows US academic research which showed that pollution from the world's 90,000 cargo ships leads to 60,000 deaths a year in the US alone and costs up to $330bn per year in health costs from lung and heart diseases. The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates the buffer zone, which could be in place by next year, will save more than 8,000 lives a year with new air quality standards cutting sulphur in fuel by 98%, particulate matter by 85% and nitrogen oxide emissions by 80%.

The new study by the Danish government's environmental agency adds to this picture. It suggests that shipping emissions cost the Danish health service almost £5bn a year, mainly treating cancers and heart problems. A previous study estimated that 1,000 Danish people die prematurely each year because of shipping pollution. No comprehensive research has been carried out on the effects on UK coastal communities, but the number of deaths is expected to be much higher.

Europe, which has some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, has dramatically cleaned up sulphur and nitrogen emissions from land-based transport in the past 20 years but has resisted imposing tight laws on the shipping industry, even though the technology exists to remove emissions. Cars driving 15,000km a year emit approximately 101 grammes of sulphur oxide gases (or SOx) in that time. The world's largest ships' diesel engines which typically operate for about 280 days a year generate roughly 5,200 tonnes of SOx.

The EU plans only two low-emission marine zones which should come into force in the English channel and Baltic sea after 2015. However, both are less stringent than the proposed US zone, and neither seeks to limit deadly particulate emissions.

Shipping emissions have escalated in the past 15 years as China has emerged as the world's manufacturing capital. A new breed of intercontinental container ship has been developed which is extremely cost-efficient. However, it uses diesel engines as powerful as land-based power stations but with the lowest quality fuel.

"Ship pollution affects the health of communities in coastal and inland regions around the world, yet pollution from ships remains one of the least regulated parts of our global transportation system," said James Corbett, professor of marine policy at the University of Delaware, one of the authors of the report which helped persuade the US government to act.

Today a spokesman for the UK government's Maritime and Coastguard Agency accepted there were major gaps in the legislation. "Issues of particulate matter remain a concern. They need to be addressed and we look forward to working with the international community," said environment policy director Jonathan Simpson.

"Europe needs a low emission zone right around its coasts, similar to the US, if we are to meet health and environmental objectives," said Crister Agrena of the Air Pollution and Climate Secretariat in Gothenburg, one of Europe's leading air quality organisations.

"It is unacceptable that shipping remains one of the most polluting industries in the world. The UK must take a lead in cleaning up emissions," said Simon Birkett, spokesman for the Campaign for Clean Air in London. "Other countries are planning radical action to achieve massive health and other savings but the UK is strangely inactive."

The calculations of ship and car pollution are based on the world's largest 85,790KW ships' diesel engines which operate about 280 days a year generating roughly 5,200 tonnes of SOx a year, compared with diesel and petrol cars which drive 15,000km a year and emit approximately 101gm of SO2/SoX a year.
Shipping by numbers

The world's biggest container ships have 109,000 horsepower engines which weigh 2,300 tons.

Each ship expects to operate 24hrs a day for about 280 days a year

There are 90,000 ocean-going cargo ships

Shipping is responsible for 18-30% of all the world's nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution and 9% of the global sulphur oxide (SOx) pollution.

One large ship can generate about 5,000 tonnes of sulphur oxide (SOx) pollution in a year

70% of all ship emissions are within 400km of land.

85% of all ship pollution is in the northern hemisphere.

Shipping is responsible for 3.5% to 4% of all climate change emissions
Source : www.guardian.co.uk


Of course this article speaks by itself of how much pollution is spewed by these gargantuan sea-monsters but the angle that I want to look at is how come EPA in the US is so stringent on Diesel engined cars/vehicles yet seems to be doing nothing significant about the pollution coming from shipping.

Any thoughts ?

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Old 07-21-2010, 05:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Too bad about the nasty fuel. I understand that large ship diesel engines are among the most efficient in the world. Maybe adding pollution controls to them would still allow them to keep their efficiency and their ability to burn that nasty low grade fuel.
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Old 07-21-2010, 05:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Well, Frank, any motor, the bigger it is the more efficient it gets and the biggest engines of them all reach their peak power at 100 rpm....

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Old 07-21-2010, 10:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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At least that are not coal powered!
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Old 07-22-2010, 01:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks Laurentiu.

Shipping pollution is 'hidden' in the sense that people don't see/smell it like they see/smell trucks on the road or airplanes over their heads, so it's like it doesn't exist. Out of sight, out of mind. If people had to drive behind a cargo ship on their daily commute, then there would be much more pressure on the gov't to clean them up. Also, many people think that since ships don't spend much time within their territorial waters, then pollution is someone else's problem. Well, it's everybody's problem. There really should be more media coverage of this.

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The EU plans only two low-emission marine zones which should come into force in the English channel and Baltic sea after 2015.
Yet another pretext for Poland to protest
I really wish my country would do something constructive once in a while, instead of vetoing everything that may (or may not) help the environment
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Old 07-22-2010, 03:26 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I guess we could say they are fuel efficient but alas they pollute.
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Old 07-22-2010, 10:14 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Old 07-22-2010, 10:39 AM   #8 (permalink)
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these are things of beauty , huh ?

The stroke on some of these beasts exceeds 3 m (10+ ft.)

I hope I have the opportunity to see eye-to-eye with one of these soon
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Old 07-22-2010, 12:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Lee View Post
Too bad about the nasty fuel. I understand that large ship diesel engines are among the most efficient in the world. Maybe adding pollution controls to them would still allow them to keep their efficiency and their ability to burn that nasty low grade fuel.
I was under the impression many large ships were using a pollution control of sorts, bubbling the exhaust through sea water, the exhaust turns into fertilizer after reacting with the various minerals in the water and creates algae growth (not necessarily good either) but it keeps it out of the air.

Also that bunker fuel is a leftover, I would hate to see it become a waste byproduct and feel the best place for it to go is in a 56% eff ship rather than get dumped in one way or another by the refinery, which by the way usually is very polluting on the same scale as one of these ships, much like our electric coal fired plants.

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Old 07-22-2010, 01:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Maybe this will encourage more ships to install SkySails, or something similar. Instant 10-30% decrease in fuel consumption and emissions.

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