Nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur oxides (SOx) cause acid rain and air pollution. As industrialization has grown, air pollution has become even problematical, affecting the daily lives of people and damaging the natural environment.
In October 2016, IMO decided to reduce the maximum permitted sulfur content in fuel oil from the current 3.5% or less to 0.5% or less after 2020. A critical issue is whether shipping companies will be able to procure fuel oil that meets those standards on a timely basis. Other MOL countermeasures include conducting a study on the installation of SOx scrubbers on vessels and construction of vessels that use LNG as alternative fuel.
Methanol is another alternative fuel. MOL has started owning and operating methanol carriers that can use dual fuels of methanol and heavy oil. Methanol fuel can reduce SOx emissions by 99%.
In addition, MOL is moving ahead with plans to build a tugboat powered by an engine that can run on either heavy oil A or LNG, which is expected to go into service in 2019.
This will contribute to MOL Group R&D on construction of LNG-fueled vessels.
NOx emissions from ships are being regulated in phases under the IMO treaty. The third tier, which makes regulations even tighter, has come into effect since January 2016. Since 2014, NOx selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems have been installed and tested in three power generators on MOL-operated iron ore carriers.
MOL, Yanmar Co., Ltd., and Namura Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. Have jointly developed an SCR system. This system has received a statement of fact from ship classification society ClassNK, verifying that it meets International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations.
NOx is generated by bonding nitrogen in fuel oil and the oxygen in the air under high temperature during combustion in the engine. We equipped SCR systems, which eliminate NOx emissions from vessels, to three power generators on the MOL-owned/operated large-scale iron ore carrier. We confirmed that its denitration performance for diesel oil conforms to IMO's NOx Tier III regulations, which will take effect in 2016.
MOL, in cooperation with ClassNK and Yanmar Co., Ltd., has been operating the system since the vessel was delivered in December 2013. Its verification using marine diesel oil (MDO) as fuel and about 3,100 hours of operation (total operation hours of three SCR systems) have been completed. Verification using heavy fuel oil (HFO) has been completed 15,000hrs.
SOx scrubbers reduce sulfur oxide (SOx) contained in vessel exhaust emissions. These newly introduced devices meet strict new IMO regulations on the concentration of sulfur content in bulker oil. MOL announced a plans to install SOx scrubbers with some of MOL Group vessels in 2017, and is moving ahead to implement this program in cooperation with the scrubber manufacturer, shipyards, and other parties.
In cooperation with MOL, MAN Diesel & Turbo of Denmark developed the main engine, the first low-speed diesel engine ever in the world to run on methanol in 2015. In early 2016 , we launched the tanker vessel equipped with dual-fuel engine that can run on either methanol or heavy fuel oil. Since methanol contains no sulfur, it is more environmentally friendly than conventional diesel fuel, and can reduce sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions. Also, compared to the conventional engine, it will reduce CO2 and NOx.
Three MOL-operated 50,000 DWT-type methanol carriers, which were delivered in 2016, are equipped with 2-stroke dual-fueled low-rev main engines capable of running on methanol, which is a biodegradable, clean burning marine fuel.
This engine produces lower emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) in comparison with conventional ones, which use heavy oil . Use of methanol fuel can reduce emissions of sulfur oxide (SOx) by 99%, NOx by 18%, and particulate matter (PM) by 99%, in addition to cutting CO2 by 10%, in comparison with traditional fuels.
In addition, it is a cutting-edge "eco ship" as it is equipped with a ballast water treatment system, ahead of treaty requirements mandating such systems, and adopts energy-saving accessories in front of and astern of the propellers.
Emissions of NOx, SOx, soot and smoke, and other pollutants can be significantly reduced while at berth by reducing the use of conventional diesel power generators and receiving electric power supply from onshore instead. MOL containerships and tugboats operated by Group tugboat companies have been installing electric power supply systems connected to the local electricity grid to power ships at berth. In some ports, the shore power supply system is even used to power domestic carriers while at berth. MOL continues to move ahead with adoption of the shore power supply system in cooperation with the manufacturer, aiming to reduce the environmental impact on ports, harbors, and surrounding areas.
MOL has reached an agreement to launch a joint study of a liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fueled Capesize bulker with five other companies- DNV GL (headquarters: Norway), BHP Billiton (headquarters: Australia/U.K.), Rio Tinto (headquarters: Australia/U.K.), Woodside Energy (headquarters: Australia/U.K.), and Shanghai Merchant Ship Design and Research Institute (SDARI; headquarters: China). The parties signed a letter of agreement at a ceremony held in Singapore on January 20.
The joint research project, called "Green Corridor," aims to reduce merchant vessels' emissions of NOx and SOx in advance of international treaties calling for stricter emissions standards, and will examine the technological and economic feasibility of an LNG-fueled bulker.