Sulphur 2020 – cutting sulphur oxide emissions
The main type of “bunker” oil for ships is heavy fuel oil, derived as a residue from crude oil distillation. Crude oil contains sulphur which, following combustion in the engine, ends up in ship emissions. Sulphur oxides (SOx) are known to be harmful to human health, causing respiratory symptoms and lung disease. In the atmosphere, SOx can lead to acid rain, which can harm crops, forests and aquatic species, and contributes to the acidification of the oceans.
Limiting SOx emissions from ships will improve air quality and protects the environment.
IMO regulations to reduce sulphur oxides (SOx) emissions from ships first came into force in 2005, under Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (known as the MARPOL Convention). Since then, the limits on sulphur oxides have been progressively tightened.
From 1 January 2020, the limit for sulphur in fuel oil used on board ships operating outside designated emission control areas will be reduced to 0.50% m/m (mass by mass). This will significantly reduce the amount of sulphur oxides emanating from ships and should have major health and environmental benefits for the world, particularly for populations living close to ports and coasts.
Below you will find answers to some of the frequently asked questions about the sulphur limit.
Symposium on IMO 2020 and Alternative Fuels (17-18 October 2019)
IMO is hosting a Symposium on IMO 2020 and Alternative Fuels on Thursday, 17 October and Friday, 18 October 2019 in the Main Hall at IMO Headquarters. This one and half day symposium aims to raise awareness and to take stock of the preparations for the IMO 2020 rule, and to discuss the role of alternative fuels in the decarbonization of international shipping.
The Symposium will be live-streamed and remote participation is open to Member Governments, IGOs, NGOs and the general public.
Limiting SOx emissions from ships will have a very positive impact on human health: how does that work?
Simply put, limiting sulphur oxides emissions from ships reduces air pollution and results in a cleaner environment. Reducing SOx also reduces particulate matter, tiny harmful particles which form when fuel is burnt.
A study on the human health impacts of SOx emissions from ships, submitted to IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) in 2016 by Finland, estimated that by not reducing the SOx limit for ships from 2020, the air pollution from ships would contribute to more than 570,000 additional premature deaths worldwide between 2020-2025.
How can ship operators and owners plan ahead for the 0.50% sulphur 2020 limit?
To assist ship operators and owners to plan ahead for the 0.50% sulphur 2020 limit, installing Exhaust Gas cleaning system will be the best choice
Exhaust Gas Cleaning System- EGCS (often referred to as Scrubbers) are able to remove Sulphur oxides from ship engines and boiler exhaust gasses.
The SO2 reduction efficiency of our scrubbers corresponds to a reduction in fuel Sulphur content from 3.50% to 0.1% - exceeding the required level of compliance with the global cap of 0.5%.