Can We Use Alternative Fuels at Sea?

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As we discuss important issues such as better waste management, reducing greenhouse gases and other pressing, vital environmental issues, the topic often returns to the possibility of implementing the use of alternative sources of energy. But is it possible to use alternative fuels at sea? One such potential alternative is low sulfur fuel. Only time and testing will tell if it will become a sufficient alternative to the fossil fuels that are currently in use.

A Possibility: Low Sulfur Fuel

Low sulfur fuel is made from plastic waste that could not be used in recycling and would thus otherwise only be sent to landfills for waste management. The hope is for this to be an alternative to harmful fossil fuels so that the marine propulsion of vessels and power generation at sea may be carried out in a manner that is safer for our environment. Imagine if we can use a fuel that if spilled, will not wreak havoc on our marine environments? The implications would literally be life-changing!

Here are the statistics. Over 25 million tons of plastic waste are produced in the European Union alone each year. 26% of this waste is recycled, 36% is sent to be incinerated and 38% goes to landfills. Waste management for this plastic waste is expensive and much energy must be used in order to process it due to factors that include transportation and the operation of waste management facilities. The hope is to have this low sulfur alternative fuel meet international MARPOL requirements to immediately be put into use across the maritime industry.

Alternative Fuels at Sea

Do you believe low sulfur fuel to be an appropriate alternative to fossil fuels at sea? There are other alternative fuels currently being studied including salt water, LNG and methanol. All alternative methods must undergo significant testing for safety, efficacy and application with technology. To add, they must all meet current and future requirements for MARPOL standards worldwide.

Source: The Maritime Executive

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08-15-2016 at 8:03