The regulations for sulfur reduction in marine fuels are impacting the whole spectrum beginning from the production of the fuel in the refineries to the end use in Marine diesel engines. To start with, from 1/1/2010, the European Union regulations call for use of fuel with a maximum of 0.1% sulfur when the ships are at berth in European ports. Most refiners/suppliers do not produce/blend fuels to bring sulfur just under 0.1%. It is easier for them to supply ultra low sulfur DMA and MGO grade fuels which are anyway manufactured for automobile use. Ultra low sulfur fuels cause lubricity problems in marine engines. Viswa Lab tests over 50,000 marine fuel samples per year from all parts of the world. From a statistical analysis of the data collected, certain patterns emerge. This paper will focus on these patterns and suggest solutions, more from the users point of view. It is up to the refineries to alter the process, produce or blend to achieve the required characteristics. The problems are not limited to lubricity alone, they also encompass the viscosity of the fuels and minimum viscosity values to be maintained to ensure problem free running. The third issues is the Ignition and combustion properties of these fuels. It will be cetane number of distillate fuels and equivalent cetane number and CCAI in case of heavy fuels.
The physical properties and chemical composition of the fuel that affect the performance parameters of the marine engines will be highlighted in this paper and some solutions suggested.
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