ship emissionsDagmar Nelissen and Jasper Faber from Dutch think-tank CE Delft released a report this week analyzing the impact of proposed EU legislation this past June to the monitoring, reporting and verifying (MRV) of CO2 emissions from the maritime sector.

They found that the current system of MRV of CO2 emissions from large ships (>5000 gt) “to have only a very limited effect on CO2 emissions.”

In their study, they analyze the costs and accuracy of the different methods of monitoring fuel on board ships finding that “the accuracy between the different methods varies significantly: from about 5% for bunker delivery notes to potentially less than 0.5% for fuel flow monitoring.”

The following are the four methods currently in use where the accuracy and the investment costs of these four monitoring methods increase in the above order.

  1. Bunker Delivery Notes and periodic stocktakes of fuel tanks.
  2. Bunker fuel tank monitoring on board.
  3. Flow meters for applicable combustion processes.
  4. Direct emissions measurements.

The authors note that inaccurate methods in recording fuel consumption data, which can provide a basis for taking action to improve efficiency, “are unlikely to result in efficiency improvements.”

Efficiency improvements will be gained via “accurate fuel monitoring, monitoring of several other parameters (such as e.g. draft, sea conditions, etc.) and the analysis of the data monitored,” according to the study.  In addition, the report points to the data being reported to charterers as being not specific enough.  The authors recommend that ship owners develop “ship specific speed-fuel consumption curves… for different conditions and updated on regular basis.”

Where to go from here?

Although continuous monitoring of fuel is more expensive, the authors note:

“If ship owners invested in more accurate fuel consumption monitoring methods they would indeed have to incur higher investment costs, but on the other hand, their operational MRV costs would decline.

We estimate that ship owners and operators could lower operational MRV costs by € 5 – € 9 million annually by using automated fuel monitoring or continuous emissions monitoring. In addition, investing in more accurate fuel consumption monitoring will also, due to synergies regarding the EU and IMO air pollution regulations, lead to cost savings for both ship owners and regulators.”

Besides cost savings, the report adds that a significant reduction in CO2 emissions could result from more accurate monitoring, reporting and verification, likely higher than the 2% expected by the European Commission.

The European Commission proposes that their regulation should enter into force in July 2015 and will lead to cost savings to the shipping sector of  â‚¬1.2 billion a year by 2030.

Read the full report here.

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