In this article we will discuss about VLSFO effects while burning in the engine on ship.
Very Low Sulfur Fuel Oil (VLSFO) is a new type of marine fuel that was introduced in January 2020 to comply with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulation that limits the sulfur content of ship fuels to 0.5 percent. VLSFO is a blend of different refinery products that have low sulfur content, such as gas oil and vacuum gas oil. However, VLSFO has been found to have several drawbacks and risks for ships that use it.
Drawbacks of Using VLSFO
One of the main problems with VLSFO is its variability and inconsistency. Since there is no standard specification for VLSFO, different refiners and suppliers can produce different blends with different properties, such as density, viscosity, flash point, pour point, stability and compatibility. This means that VLSFO from different sources may not mix well together, and may cause sludge formation, filter clogging and engine damage if not handled properly.
Another problem with VLSFO is its poor combustion quality. Many VLSFO blends have high aromatic content and low cetane index, which means they burn less efficiently and produce more soot and carbon deposits in the engine cylinders and exhaust system. This can lead to increased fuel consumption, reduced engine performance, increased maintenance costs and higher emissions of particulate matter and black carbon.
A third problem with VLSFO is its potential environmental impact. Although VLSFO has lower sulfur content than heavy fuel oil (HFO), it may still contain other harmful substances such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), metals and cat fines (catalyst fines). These substances can cause corrosion, abrasion and wear in the fuel system and engine components. Moreover, if VLSFO spills into the sea or leaks from ships’ tanks or pipes, it can pose a serious threat to marine life and ecosystems.
Therefore, using VLSFO on ships requires careful management and monitoring of fuel quality and compatibility. Shipowners should follow best practices for fuel sampling, testing, storage, handling and treatment on board their vessels. They should also use appropriate additives to improve the stability, lubricity and combustion of VLSFO. Furthermore, they should consider alternative fuels such as marine gas oil (MGO), liquefied natural gas (LNG) or biofuels that have lower environmental impact than VLSFO.