Degassing lighters

The Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management has announced plans to ban the uncontrolled degassing of petrol by inland waterway vessels (i.e. barges) with effect from 1 January 2006. The proposed ban on uncontrolled degassing applies only to petrol, i.e. UN1203. But petrol is not the only substance which generates VOC emissions due to uncontrolled degassing. It was assumed in earlier studies that these emissions were considerable, in the range 1-10% of the total VOC emissions in the Netherlands. CE carried out a study commissioned by VNPI, VOTOB and the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management to determine the amount of current emissions and the costs of a ban on degassing for UN1203 only as well as for a number of other substances. The table shows that VOC emissions in the Netherlands resulting from the transport of UN1203 are about 0.7 ktons per year, and from all substances considered, about 1.8 ktons. This is at most 0.65% of the total VOC emissions in the Netherlands, i.e. considerably less than estimates made in earlier studies. The study of costs and feasibility suggests that the best way of putting a ban on the degassing of cargoes of UN1203 into practice is by means of dedicated vessels/compatible cargoes. This measure would also be cheap relative to other VOC-reduction measures. Installation of vapour-recovery units on loading locations proves to be many times more expensive. If vessel operators do not wish to adopt this approach for any reason, they can have vessels degassed at the existing installation of AVR in Rotterdam.


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