EPA Smartway Program
In 2004, EPA launched SmartWaySM — an innovative brand that represents environmentally cleaner, more fuel efficient transportation options.
In its simplest form, the SmartWay brand identifies products and services that reduce transportation-related emissions. However, the impact of the brand is much greater as the SmartWay brand signifies a partnership among government, business and consumers to protect the environment, reduce fuel consumption, and improve air quality for future generations.
All of EPA SmartWay transportation programs result in significant, measurable air quality and/or greenhouse gas improvements while maintaining or improving current levels of other emissions and/or pollutants.
EPA believes the quality of the environment is everyone’s responsibility; therefore, SmartWay is positioned as a personal choice that can make a difference for the environment.
EPA’s coordinated strategy to address emissions from ocean-going vessels includes EPA’s regulations for the largest marine diesel engines as well as the U.S. Government's international efforts to reduce air pollution from ocean-going vessels through the designation of an Emission Control Area and new international standards for marine diesel engines. When taken together, the elements of the coordinated strategy are expected to result in significant improvements in U.S. air quality and public health.
There are two types of diesel engines used on ocean-going vessels: main propulsion and auxiliary engines. The main propulsion engines on most ocean-going vessels are very large "Category 3" marine diesel engines (those with per-cylinder displacement at or above 30 liters). Auxiliary engines on ocean-going vessels typically range in size from small portable generators to locomotive-size engines with power of 4,000 kilowatts or more. Auxiliary engines on U.S.-flagged ocean-going vessels are subject to EPA’s marine diesel engine standards for engines with per-cylinder displacement up to 30 liters per cylinder.
On December 22nd, EPA announced final emission standards under the Clean Air Act for new marine diesel engines with per-cylinder displacement at or above 30 liters (called Category 3 marine diesel engines) installed on U.S.-flagged vessels. The final engine standards are equivalent to those adopted in the amendments to Annex VI to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (a treaty called "MARPOL"). The emission standards apply in two stages: near-term standards for newly-built engines will apply beginning in 2011, and long-term standards requiring an 80 percent reduction in nitrogen dioxides (NOx) will begin in 2016.
EPA is adopting changes to the diesel fuel program to allow for the production and sale of diesel fuel with up to 1,000 ppm sulfur for use in Category 3 marine vessels. The regulations generally forbid production and sale of fuels with more than 1,000 ppm sulfur for use in most U.S. waters, unless operators achieve equivalent emission reductions in other ways.
EPA is also adopting provisions to apply some emission and fuel standards to foreign-flagged and in-use vessels that are covered by MARPOL Annex VI.
Emission Control Area Designation
On July 17, 2009, the joint proposal from the United States and Canada to amend MARPOL Annex VI to designate specific areas of our coastal waters as an Emission Control Area (ECA), was accepted in principle at the International Maritime Organization (IMO). In addition, France has joined the ECA proposal on behalf of its island territories of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, which form an archipelago off the coast of Newfoundland. The proposal will circulate among member states for six months. In March 2010, member states who are parties to MARPOL Annex VI will vote to adopt an amendment designating the North American ECA.
Designation of this ECA will deliver substantial public health benefits to many people living in the U.S., Canada and French territories, as well as to marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
In practice, implementation of the ECA would mean that ships entering designated areas would need to use compliant fuel for the duration of their voyage that is within that area, including time in port as well as voyages whose routes pass through the area without calling on a port. The quality of fuel that complies with the ECA regulation will change over time. The North American ECA could go into force as early as 2012. From the effective date until 2015, fuel used by all vessels operating in designated areas cannot exceed 1.0 percent sulfur (10,000 ppm). Beginning in 2015, fuel used by all vessels operating in these areas cannot exceed 0.1 percent sulfur (1,000 ppm). Beginning in 2016, NOx after-treatment requirements become applicable.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) facilitates development of standards to control air exhaust emissions from the engines that power ships. The IMO is the United Nations agency concerned with maritime safety and security and the prevention of marine pollution from ships. The international air pollution standards are found in Annex VI to the International Convention on the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). Committees of the IMO meet periodically to consider and adopt revisions to the various annexes of MARPOL. This page describes both the currently applicable international air pollution standards as well as amendments that have been recently adopted but have not yet become enforceable.
Current Annex VI Tier 1 NOx Standards
Globally, the effective date for the current MARPOL Annex VI Tier 1 NOx limits was January 1, 2000. Annex VI entered into force for the United States on January 8, 2009. Vessel owners are now required to comply with these standards, although most voluntarily complied in the interim since 2000.
IMO MARPOL Annex VI Amendments
In October 2008, member states of the IMO adopted new international standards for marine diesel engines and their fuels (2008 Amendments to MARPOL Annex VI) that will apply globally, once the amended treaty is ratified by enough parties. The amendments establish additional, more stringent emission requirements for ships that operate in designated coastal areas where air quality problems are acute. These new global and geographic standards have the potential to significantly reduce air pollution from ships, and provide important benefits to our national air quality.
Under the new global standards, NOx emissions will be reduced, and the fuel sulfur cap will drop to 5,000 ppm in 2020 (pending a fuel availability review in 2018). Under the new geographic standards, ships operating in designated areas will be required to use engines that meet the most advanced technology-forcing standards for NOx emissions, and to use fuel with sulfur content at or below 1,000 ppm. To obtain the full benefits of the program, the United States has proposed designation of an Emission Control Area off its coasts.
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