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Wannes Sep 24, 2016 04:23 PM
Fuel exhausts from Diesel are leading to health problems in urban environments. Even if new sales of ICE is banned in favour of e.g. electric cars, we still will deal with Diesel-generated pollution for at least 20 years.

Back in 2001, reducing sulphur was considered as the key to lower emissions by UNEP, where benefits far outweigh the costs. I was wondering if this is still the case. (http://www.unep.org/[…]/publowsulfurpaper.pdf ).
In 2009, European Fuel Directive limited sulphur content to 10ppm to limit the health effects (mainly reducing NOx and particle matter). Germany and Sweden have gone further and their average sulphur content is approaching 0 ppm.

Sweden even has gone further than just reducing sulphur and has MK1 fuel on the market, which is better than EN590 fuel (see here for comparisons from 2012: http://slb.nu/slb/rapporter/pdf8/slb2012_008.pdf ) I was wondering whether there are plans to update the European Fuel directive towards such a more environmentally friendly fuel (and why not use MK1 as an example?)

While reducing environmental impact is important, I feel all good measures are embedded in a global economic model. As such, we also need to take into account economic profitability of European refineries and related jobs and tax revenues in a global context. I have the following questions: How high is the infrastructure investment cost to reduce sulphur? How much are the variable costs per liter? How much lower is the energy content after sulphur reduction (plus translation in monetary value)? (Same questions would apply to MK1)

As for the environmental benefits, are there numbers available on the effect of merely a sulphur reduction (and not combined with the other benefits of MK1)?

As I know lobbying will probably be strong on European level to achieve this, I would like to convince the Belgian government, who's looking to fix the current budget deficit, to adopt a tax on the sulphur content. I would like more ammunition for this. 1,5€ct per liter in Germany had already an impact it seems.
Replies (1)
EEA Sep 29, 2016 04:13 PM
Dear Wannes,

TERM 2015 highlights that emissions of three important air pollutants — sulphur oxides (SOX), nitrogen oxides (NOX) and particulate matter (PM) — from transport activities decreased in the period 2000 to 2013 in the EU. With the exception of international aviation, all modes of transport contributed to the decrease. The introduction of fuel quality standards limiting sulphur in fuels, together with the Euro vehicle emission standards for cars and HDVs and coupled with the gradual renewal of Europe's vehicle fleet, have played a key role in reducing emissions of these three pollutants from vehicles. Progress is not all positive, however; despite some reductions, international maritime transport — shipping — remains by far the largest emitter of SOX from transport in the EU.
 
See TERM2015 report here: http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/term-report-2015
 
And the most recent Fuel Quality report (2014 data) says that “The requirements of the FQD have evolved with the introduction of new fuel specifications and reporting requirements. The first FQD specifications for petrol and diesel sold for road transport in the EU came into force on 1 January 2000, the second on 1 January 2005 and the third on 1 January 2009, all of which limited the sulphur content of all automotive road fuels in the EU to 10 parts per million. Additional requirements are defined in the European Standard for the Fuel Quality Monitoring System (EN 14274).”
http://www.eea.europa.eu/[…]/eu-fuel-quality-monitoring-2014
 
Regarding “plans to update the European Fuel directive” we cannot really reply to that, as it doesn’t follow within our activities
 
Regarding “numbers available on the effect of merely a sulphur reduction” I am not sure if you mean from road transport only or in general. If you mean road transport the Fuel Quality Directive report together with TERM2015 and TERM2014 (i.e. pg 39 and 67) http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/term-report-2014 is summarising the situation in terms of emissions from transport (also TERM2012: “The contribution of transport to air quality” here: http://www.eea.europa.eu/[…]/transport-and-air-quality-term-2012) and of course the annual EEA report on Air Quality…being the most recent the 2015 version: http://www.eea.europa.eu/[…]/air-quality-in-europe-2015
 
Kind regards,
 
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