Thursday, April 8, 2021

Plans in Hand to Produce Low Emission Marine Fuel from Waste Plastics

Company Says it Aims to Process 1 Million Tonnes a Year
Shipping News Feature

UK – WORLDWIDE – Whilst the world and his wife concentrates on beating the coronavirus pandemic there is another curse on humanity which kills even more persistently. With over 95% of the people living on planet Earth in areas where air quality is unsatisfactory 9,000 souls are expected to succumb to pollution every single day.

Unlike many diseases this is of course self-inflicted, in 2018 long-term exposure to outdoor and indoor air pollution contributed to 6.1 million premature deaths from stroke, heart attack, lung cancer, and chronic lung disease. That makes air pollution the fourth highest cause of death among all health risks, exceeded only by high blood pressure, diet, and smoking.

One of the first battles to be won in the war against environmental pollution is to use the cleanest possible sources of fuel, particularly in the maritime sector which has set out precise targets to ensure emissions are reduced. Now London headquartered Clean Planet Energy has released details of what it claims as two new ultra-clean fuels manufactured to replace fossil fuels in the Marine industry, for use in any ship or vessel.

The products, branded under the banner of ‘Clean Planet Oceans’, are claimed to provide CO2e reductions of over 75%, and significantly reduce harmful air-pollutants by up to 1,500x. Both fuels are produced using non-recyclable waste plastics as the feedstock, therefore removing waste which would otherwise go to incineration, landfill or into our oceans.

Following Clean Planet’s recent announcement of ultra-clean aviation fuel, Clean Planet Oceans includes an ultra-clean Marine Residual Fuel (also known as bunker fuel or fuel oil) meeting international ISO 8712 2017 standards, and also a premium Marine Distillate Fuel which matches the highest EN15940 Diesel specification.

In addition to the 75% CO2e reduction, a significant benefit of these new fuels is the notable decrease in NOx (Nitrogen Dioxide) and SOx (Sulphur Oxide) emissions. NOx and SOx are some of the most common air-pollutants from the burning of fossil fuels and are estimated to be globally responsible for those 9,000 daily deaths. Clean Planet says its fuels can reduce sulphur emissions by 1,500x when compared to the latest, stringent IMO regulations. Clean Planet Energy’s CTO, Dr. Andrew Odjo, commented:

“Air-pollutants such as sulphur are measured by ppm (parts per million). Under the IMO 2020 [International Maritime Organisation] regulations implemented last year, a ship with a scrubber installed on board is allowed to emit 35,000ppm of sulphur into the sea when burning fossil marine fuel oil, whilst a ship without a scrubber is allowed to emit 5,000ppm of sulphur into the air.

”In contrast, Clean Planet Energy’s Marine Residual Fuel has a sulphur content of just 35ppm, and Clean Planet Energy’s Marine Distillate has a sulphur content of just 3ppm. This means that ships using Clean Planet Ocean’s marine distillate fuel can reduce sulphur pollution by over 1500x compared to ships using fossil fuel without a scrubber, and by more than 10,000x compared to ships with a scrubber.

“There is currently no legitimate and scaled alternative compared to using carbon-based fuels in the Marine and Aviation sector. Whereas cars are moving to electric, the lifespan of large vessels means we’ll be stuck using fossil fuel engines for many years to come. By using non-recyclable waste plastics as a feedstock for fuels in these industries, we can reduce the daily CO2e emissions by 75%, keep fossil-oil in the ground, and win valuable time in the world’s battle to hit net-zero carbon emissions

The UK based renewable energy company says it will produce these ultra-clean circular fuels inside their ecoPlants. A Clean Planet ecoPlant® can accept and convert non-recyclable waste-plastics, that would otherwise be heading to incineration, landfill, or worse, into the oceans. According to data sourced by parties including the US EPA and the World Economic Forum, this year 203 million tonnes of plastic will become non-recyclable waste, meaning that the Clean Planet process not only reduces CO2e emissions and air pollutants, but also tackles the plastic crisis too.

Certainly the company has ambitious plans and many in the maritime industry and beyond will hope they can turn these into realities. Currently Clean Planet says it has two ecoPlants in construction phase, with another 4 in development and has a mission to build ecoPlants to process over 1 million tonnes of waste plastics per annum. A standard Clean Planet ecoPlant would look to process 20,000 metric tonnes of waste plastics every year.

The company has produced a short video illustrating its plans.

Photo: Courtesy of Clean Planet.