Is Internal Combustion Engine Methane Slip Harmful to the Environment?

Wärtsilä’s 2-stroke DF - Key  Technologies to reduce emissions.

Tighter regulations on exhaust emissions are prompting rapid change within the global shipping industry. Orders for scrubber systems have soared higher than before, suppliers of emissions monitoring software are rapidly taking increasing orders, and the market for natural gas-powered engines continues to break new ground. Choosing the most cost-effective way to reduce exhaust emissions is vital for the industry. Regulations for Emissions Control Areas (ECAs) are now enforced across many countries and there are further designation zones under discussion. Also, the maximum sulfur content in fuel burnt in such designated areas will drop from 1% to 0.1% very shortly. This change will be wide-reaching; around 80-90% of merchant vessels will enter a SECA zone (Sulfur Emission Control Area) in their lifetime. What’s more, failing to adapt to the change could be expensive; the cost of low-sulfur fuel that is compliant with regulation is stated to be up to 30% higher than the price of standard bunker fuel. Gas engines are expected as a strong substitute for diesel engines in marine fields, where strict emission regulations have been introduced and will become more stricter. Thanks to the sulfur-free and low-carbon features of natural gas, gas engines emit much less CO2 and particulate matter than marine diesel burning heavy fuel oil. The premixed lean-burn gas and partly dual-fuel engines, however, suffer one massive flaw: it is the methane slip, which substantially means the ....

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