Science of the Total Environment
Ships, which are the backbone of world trade, are also major emission generators. IMO has prepared a regulation that came into force on January 1, 2020, in particular to reduce ship-related sulphur oxides. Accordingly, the sulphur content of the marine fuels cannot exceed 0.5% by mass. Although these fuels have a significant effect in reducing the sulphur oxides, the holistic environmental effects of the fuels must be examined within a life cycle perspective. In this study, LCA of four different marine fuels were realized and the environmental impacts of the fuels in production, distribution, and operation processes were investigated. The main purpose of this study is to increase precision by focusing on a small number of fuels, while increasing accuracy by obtaining a large number of LCA results. It is concluded that despite the success of low sulphur fuels during operation, the overall environmental effects are higher than other fuels. According to the LCA results, there are no significant differences between the fuels and HFO still remains an important and preferable fuel for the environment. Consequently, in life cycle perspective, it was concluded that the expected results of IMO 2020 Sulphur Cap are not at a desirable level. Thus, alternative fuels would be more beneficial in terms of total environmental issues and IMO should focus more on developing new regulations and policies on alternative fuels.