IBIA at IMO next week for black carbon discussion

IBIA at IMO next week for black carbon discussion

IBIA has co-authored a submission to next week’s session of the IMO’s Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR 8) for the agenda item dealing with reduction of the impact on the Arctic of emissions of Black Carbon (BC) from international shipping.

The document, a joint submission by IBIA and IPIECA, is commenting on a paper submitted by Germany and Finland – PPR/8/5/1 – which carries the final part of a Black Carbon measurement campaign first presented to PPR 7 just over a year ago. Their paper shares observations on the potential link between a fuel’s aromatic content and its tendency to for BC during combustion.

The first part of this measurement campaign caused widespread concern that BC emissions from international shipping may be increasing as a result of the introduction of newly formulated very low sulphur fuel oils (VLSFOs) to comply with the IMO 2020 0.50% sulphur limit, because the VLSFO samples used for the campaign had very high aromatic content. IBIA and others explained, during PPR7, that the VLSFO samples used were not representative of VLSFOs actually on the market, which have tended to be less aromatic and more paraffinic in nature than the high sulphur fuel oils (HSFO) they have replaced.

Unfortunately, the new submission to PPR 8 is reporting on BC emission measurements for the same set of samples, meaning the VLSFO samples used are not representative of the typical characteristics of fuels used by ships to comply with IMO 2020.

The research tells us something about the tendency of fuels with high aromatic levels to form BC when burned in a medium speed small bore research engine. This means that the results presented in document PPR 8/5/1 may not be representative for a large part of the merchant fleet using 2-stroke large bore engines, which have significantly lower BC emissions than medium- and high-speed engines. The joint submission from IPIECA and IBIA explains in more detail the factors that contribute to BC emissions, and points out the measures that would be most effective in reducing BC emission in the Artic near term, prior to the ban on HFO use in the Arctic.

According to fuel testing data, the HFO ban will affect approximately 95% of VLSFOs seen in the market so far as they have a density higher than 900 kg/m3, which is the cut-off point for the definition of HFO.

The joint IPIECA and IBIA submission is PPR/8/5/3, and you can find it on the page showing IBIA’s submissions to the IMO on this link.

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