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Speed limits on cargo ships could reduce their pollutants by more than half

Date:
October 24, 2012
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Putting a speed limit on cargo ships as they sail near ports and coastlines could cut their emission of air pollutants by up to 70 percent, reducing the impact of marine shipping on Earth's climate and human health, scientists have found.

Putting a speed limit on cargo ships as they sail near ports and coastlines could cut their emission of air pollutants by up to 70 percent, reducing the impact of marine shipping on Earth's climate and human health, scientists have found. Their evaluation of the impact of vessel speed reduction policies, such as those proposed by the California Air Resources board, appears in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology.

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David R. Cocker III and colleagues explain that marine shipping is the most efficient form of transporting goods, with more than 100,000 ships carrying 90 percent of the world's cargo. However, engines on these vessels burn low-grade oil that produce large amounts of air pollution. Because fuel consumption and smokestack emissions increase exponentially with speed, the authors explored how speed limits could reduce pollution.

They found that slowing container ships to about 14 miles per hour (mph) reduced emissions of carbon dioxide by about 60 percent and nitrogen oxides by 55 percent compared to emissions at traditional cruising speeds of 25-29 mph. Soot emissions fell by almost 70 percent. The authors suggest that imposing these speed limits on vessels near ports and coastlines could significantly reduce their pollution and protect the health of people living in those areas.

The authors acknowledge funding from the California Air Resources Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mohammad Yusuf Khan, Harshit Agrawal, Sindhuja Ranganathan, William A Welch, J. Wayne Miller, David Cocker. Greenhouse Gas and Criteria Emission Benefits through Reduction of Vessel Speed at Sea. Environmental Science & Technology, 2012; 120913133722005 DOI: 10.1021/es302371f

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Speed limits on cargo ships could reduce their pollutants by more than half." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121024124846.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2012, October 24). Speed limits on cargo ships could reduce their pollutants by more than half. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121024124846.htm
American Chemical Society. "Speed limits on cargo ships could reduce their pollutants by more than half." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121024124846.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

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