WASHINGTON (CN) - The largest marine diesel engines, those that displace 30 or more liters per-cylinder, also called Category 3 engines, are to operate with 80 percent fewer nitrogen oxide emissions by 2016, according to regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Category 3 engines, which provide power for ocean going vessels, use emission control technology comparable to that used by nonroad engines in the early 1990s, and use fuel that can have a sulfur content of 30,000 parts per million or more.
In 2009, emissions from Category 3 engines accounted for about 10 percent of mobile source emissions of nitrous oxides, about 24 percent of mobile source diesel particulates, and about 80 percent of mobile source emissions of sulfur oxides. The agency believes that without changes to the engines, Category 3 engine pollutants will become a proportionately larger source of mobile source emissions as controls on other mobile sources go into effect under the Clean Air Act.
Category 3 engine pollutants have a negative impact on public health especially in and around port areas and surrounding towns downwind of the ports. Long term exposure to diesel particulate matter can lead to cardiopulmonary disorders, and sulfate exposure has been linked to certain types of cancers.
To combat the noxious emissions, the EPA will phase out the use of fuel oil with sulfur content greater than 1000 parts per million in Category 3 engines. Engines using alternative control technologies to limit sulfur oxide emissions will be exempt from the fuel standard limitations.
The agency also is adopting new limits on noxious emissions that it believes will reduce annual emissions of NOX, SOX, and particulate matter by 1.2 million, 1.3 million, and 143,000 tons, respectively, by 2030. These reductions are estimated to annually prevent between 12,000 and 30,000 particulate matter-related premature deaths, between 210 and 920 ozone-related premature deaths, and 1.4 million work days lost.
The agency's estimated annual monetized health benefits of this coordinated strategy in 2030 would be between $110 and $270 billion, assuming a 3-percent discount rate. The annual cost of the overall program in 2030 would be significantly less, at approximately $3.1 billion.
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