Better Boating through Environmental Engines
"When it comes to pollution prevention, conventional motorboat engines haven't changed much in the last 50 years," said Robin Lacey, the Clean Boating Coordinator for the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM). "Luckily, government-industry partnerships have lead to new technologies that give boaters better options for reducing environmental impacts."
Conventional carbureted 2-stroke outboard motorboat engines are inefficient systems. During operation, both the intake and exhaust ports are open at the same time, allowing fuel to pass directly through the engine. As a result, as much as 20 to 30 percent of the fuel passes directly to the air or water, releasing toxic and carcinogenic materials, such as hydrocarbons, to the environment.
Newer technologies are now available that reduce this unintentional release of fuel, reducing environmental impacts and saving on fuel costs. Both 4-stroke engines and Direct Fuel Injection (DFI) 2-stroke engines address the issue of the intake and exhaust ports being open at the same time. Read The Scoop on Boat Engines, for additional information.
The Federal/Industry Response
In 1996, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency developed regulations with input and support from the marine engine industry that will result in a 75 percent reduction of hydrocarbon emissions by 2025 from spark-ignition gasoline marine engines (including outboard engines, PWC engines, and jet boat engines). A nine-year phase-in began in 1998, resulting in new, cleaner technologies being offered by industry. The 4-stroke and DFI 2-stroke engines available today already meet the emissions standards for 2006.
The State Approach
Recognizing that significant pollution reduction can be achieved by buying cleaner engines today, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) is adopting a statewide policy to purchase only clean engines when replacing old outboard motors. In addition, EEA has begun to coordinate with the state's Environmentally-Preferable Products Procurement Program (EPP). The goal is to add clean engines to the EPP list, which would make these engines available to state agencies and municipalities through a state contract from an approved list of vendors selling the engines at a competitive price. For more information about the EPP, see www.mass.gov/osd/enviro.
For More Information . . .
For more on clean boating programs, e-mail Robin Lacey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adapted in May 2003 from an article in the spring 2001 edition of Coastlines, the CZM newsletter. Author: Anne Donovan, CZM.