New legislation has been published in the United Kingdom regarding the quality and composition of marine and motor fuels.
The Merchant Shipping (Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships) and Motor Fuel (Composition and Content) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (SI 3076/2014) implements EU Directive 33/2012 which specifies the maximum sulfur content of marine fuel oils, and also specifies the methods to be used to measure the sulfur levels in both marine and motor fuels.
Marine fuel oil containing 0.10 % by mass sulfur can not be placed on the market after 31 December 2014. Vessels at berth in UK ports can not fill their tanks with fuel with a greater sulfur content. For ships outside a sulfur oxide emission control area, the maximum sulfur content allowable in marine fuel is 3.50 % by mass until 31 December 2019, when it reduces to 0.5 %.
The reference measurement method for determining the sulfur content of both marine and motor fuels is now either ISO method 8754 (2003) or BS EN 14596. These methods employ the X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) technique which is sufficiently sensitive to be able to accurately measure sulfur concentrations at these lower levels. ISO 8754 (2003) uses energy-dispersive XRF (EDXRF) and BS EN 14596 uses wavelength dispersive XRF (WDXRF).
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