Awareness : Bunker Fuels

In definitive, the planet is unhealthy and the acknowledgement is, now, not enough. Since the Meadows Rapport has been published, we can see that there's a huge escalation in environmental impacts. 
This post is here to make you aware of the fuels that big cargo ships use to export or import the possible shirt you are wearing or the possible book you are reading. I bet you didn't think that by buying a book, which I respect, killed fish and destroyed the planet or... maybe you did and feel somewhat guilty, as I do. 
Now envision a supply chain which helps our ecosystem, which helps local entrepreneurs grow. Ah... all of a sudden you feel better and the air is easier to breath. How come ? What happened ? Let me tell you, it's SET Maritime. As a vision we want to allow stronger domestic consumption by using markets of proximity. We also have the incentive of treating the world better, thus helping the local supply chain with clean energy. 

Let us talk about the bunker fuels which, behind the topics of LNG still are in usage today because of their relatively low cost and effectiveness. What we call Bunker fuel is also known as Heavy Fuel Oil (noted HFO).

The pictures below are examples of what happens when a spill happens. 
 

Consequence of Fuel Spills :

What are the characteristics of HFOs which hurts the planet this bad ?

Heavy fuel oils have been in usage in the shipping industry since the mid-19th century.
Hence, HFO produces higher emissions of harmful pollutants like sulphur oxide, nitrogen oxides, and black carbon, all of which have been linked to an increased risk of heart and lung disease and premature death. Switching from HFO to low-sulphur distillate fuel would reduce black carbon emissions by 30%-80%. (HFOFreeArctic, 2021) Also it is important to note that shipping is estimated to contribute 13% of the world’s total sulphur oxide emissions. (clearseas, 2020)
Thus, black carbon has a potent climate warming effect when emitted at high latitudes. The warming impact is increased by at least a factor of 3 in the Arctic region as compared to emissions over the open ocean. This is because in the atmosphere, the black carbon particles absorb incoming radiation from above, as well as reflected radiation from below – doubling the warming impact. (HFOFreeArctic, 2021)
Additionally, the global shipping accounts for 8% of global emissions of sulfur dioxide emissions (SO2), which is highly acidic when mixed with water making shipping a major contributor toward acid rain and other respiratory diseases. (Forbes, 2020)
Finally, the process to produce oil involves several refining processes where the lighter hydrocarbons are extracted.  What is left behind is a sludge-like residue made from the end of the oil refining process.  It is dense (similar in viscosity to peanut butter) and is known to contain a range of toxins that cause multiple health issues. (Forbes,2020)
 

The question is : Why has it been in usage for such a long period of time ?

The usage of HFO has been predominant due to its low price point. The main incentive is that HFO is 30% cheaper than alternatives. Additionally, it has a wide availability, but it is important to note that for a long time there has been a lack of investment in R&D and new types of fuels. The research has only begun a couple years prior due to new regulations coming into play. Hence companies such as MSC, Evergreen, Maersk use cheaper fuels to help their bottom end, however the longterm impact is huge.

 

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