The market for marine fuel additives on the consumer side is a sizeable one, numbering in the billions of dollars. The vast majority of the discussions out there and copy written on this sector is composed for the consumer market - fuel additives for your boat, how to keep your boat running well, etc. This seems to leave the business-to-business side (B2B) feeling lonely. That's a critical mistake, since one can forsee that since boats and marine equipment help drive our economy, there should be massive incentive on the fuel treatment side to facilitate making things go smoothly.
Movement toward Marine LNG
So from the business side, what are the needs for marine fuel and the solutions available? One trend rearing its head in marine business is conversion of marine boats to the ability to use Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) as a fuel source. LNG is cheap and plentiful and great for the environment. There is a question about its energy content relative to marine diesel and fuel oil, raising the possiblity of increasing fuel costs because of increased fuel use. But from a green standpoint, the move towards LNG is a good thing. And you don't have to spring for fuel treatments to solve the same kind of problems that you may have with marine diesel.
Newer and Better Diesel Engine Platforms
2013 saw the introduction of the next generation of marine diesel engine platforms by companies like Caterpillar. Or, rather, the announcement of when they might be shipping (later this year). Engine manufacturers like Caterpillar continue to raise the bar for workboats by not only increasing power output of their engines, but also improving the flexibility of being able to integrate these new marine engines into existing marine engine systems, including flex-fuel engines that can run on marine fuel oil.
Marine Fuel Oil and Treatment Options Not Available In Other Areas
Marine heavy fuel oil use presents numerous issues and areas for improvement. Heavy fuel oil has the highest concentration of metallics among all the distillate and residual fuels, leading to the potential for problems like corrosion (contributed to by the marine fuel's sulfur content). But there's potential for solving these issues simply by adding an acid neutralizer to the marine fuel oil. This can be done very cost-effectively, especially when its paired with a combustion catalyst to reduce fuel consumption. Because marine fuel oil is an off-road fuel, it's not subject to the same kinds of regulations as on-road fuels. And this means you can use special combustion catalysts (organometallics) that you can't put in a car or truck.
So users of marine fuel can be confident that whatever their areas of improvement are, there are good answers available for them.
This post was published on August 12, 2014 and was updated on March 16, 2022.