Glycerol additive makes large ships greener

The bunker fuel used in cruise liners and freighters is some of the cheapest, crudest fuel available. It’s also among the dirtiest. Scientists from the Maine Maritime Academy and SeaChange Group LLC led by George N. Harakas, Ph.D announced at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society that they have developed what they call "Bunker Green" fuel. This fuel uses an ingredient commonly used in food and medicine to reduce sulfur and other emissions in ocean vessels.

Bunker Green is a simple fuel additive for bunker fuel. It’s glycerol, which is a colorless, odorless, the byproduct of soap manufacturing and biodiesel refining. It’s used in medicines, sweeteners, cosmetics and as a filler in low-fat foods. Because glycerol mixes with oil about as well as water does, a surfactant is used to reduce the surface tension of the liquid. Detergents are one example of a surfactant whose addition allows the glycerol to mix with the bunker fuel.

This simple addition has impressive results. According to the team’s report, the additive helps remove the sulfur and reduces soot emissions by 15 percent and nitrogen oxide by 26 percent.

Source: gizmag.comAdded: 10 September 2012