Dawn of a new fuel - innovative solution for emissions compliancy
A new fuel being developed by Oshima Shipbuilding aims to meet all air emission regulations while simplifying the fuel system and reducing investment costs significantly.
The ideal solution to the new environmental regulations for emissions to air is a fuel that is compliant with these regulations without requiring spacious, complex and expensive equipment to be installed on board. Oshima has taken steps to create such a solution and, together with industry partners, a new fuel type is being developed and tested that will help both shipowners and shipyards overcome many challenges they face.
With the production title Super Eco Fuel, this new fuel type is produced by mixing LCO (lightcycle oil, a secondary refinery product) with GTL (gas-to-liquid, aliquid fuel made from natural gas) and water. The result is a fuel that requires no installation of new equipment while meeting the most stringent NOX and SOX requirements.
Yard and shipowner benefits
- Simple system
- Low initial investment
- Small installation footprint
- Low maintenance need
- Easy to retrofit
An innovative fuel mix
LCO has a low sulphur content but poor ignition performance. On the other hand, GTL contains almost no sulphur or other impurities, features high ignition performance and a complete combustion process. When mixed in the right quantities the result is a fuel that meets the 2020 0.5% global sulphur cap. As a second step, adding water and adjusting the fuel mix results in a fuel that satisfies both the 0.1% ECA sulphur limit and is NOX Tier III-compliant. In addition, the specific fuel oil consumption is slightly lower. CO2 emissions and soot formation are reduced as well.
LCO and GTL can be stored separately in the normal fuel tanks. In addition, the fuel can be used in existing engines without modifications, making it relevant for retrofitting to existing ships. The fuel is mixed on board by a mixing unit.
Preliminary tests of the fuel characteristics, engine performance and reliability have yielded satisfactory results. Further tests are planned. The largest challenges are the supply and bunkering of the individual fuel components, which must be addressed before the fuel will be accepted and used widely. Similar to other fuels there are uncertainties with price fluctuations over time. The cost of the new fuel mix is expected to be higher than standard HFO at current rates but lower than for other LSFO options, making it an attractive potential fuel alternative with marginal additional investment costs.