African states say no to cheap dirty diesel

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

WHEELS re­cently re­ported on the sorry state of low grade, im­pure diesel made es­pe­cially for African mar­kets be­cause they have no laws to pre­vent the sale of im­pure diesel and its at­ten­dant can­cer­caus­ing emis­sions.

In­stead, Africa al­lows the cheaper, 500 or more parts per mil­lion (ppm) dirty diesel to be made (re­fined is too strong a word) in es­pe­cially the Nether­lands , from where traders ex­port this filthy fuel to all African coun­tries will­ing to take it, in­clud­ing South Africa, where there is still a lot of de­mand for 500 ppm diesel for older en­gines.

Now five African coun­tries — Ghana, Ivory Coast, Togo, Nige­ria and Benin — an­nounced they would re­ject ship­ments of high sul­phur diesel fuel from Europe, ac­cord­ing to the United Na­tions En­vi­ron­ment Pro­gramme (Unep).

GreenCar re­ports th­ese coun­tries are in­tro­duc­ing stricter stan­dards re­quir­ing low-sul­phur fu­els, and de­mand­ing that they re­ceive the same qual­ity of fuel of­fered to Euro­pean na­tions.

Nige­ria, for one, is cut­ting the legally-ac­cept­able amount of sul­phur in fu­els from 3 000 parts per mil­lion to 50 parts per mil­lion.

The stricter stan­dards pro­posed by the five West African na­tions now tak­ing a stand against high-sul­phur diesel are meant to pre­vent this.

The U.S.-based Diesel Tech­nol­ogy Fo­rum ad­vo­cacy group ap­plauded the move, not­ing that the U.S. diesel industry still thrives un­der the strict stan­dards cur­rently in place here.

“The five African na­tions that recog­nise the op­por­tu­nity for bring­ing in cleaner tech­nol­ogy and the need for ul­tra-low sul­phur diesel fuel, will move for­ward,” said Allen Scha­ef­fer, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Diesel Tech­nol­ogy Fo­rum.

But ac­tu­ally im­ple­ment­ing the ban on high-sul­phur diesel fuel could prove dif­fi­cult.

“It’s not clear their pop­u­la­tions can af­ford the cleaner diesel, or that is there enough cleaner diesel [pro­duced in Europe] to meet that de­mand,” a source in the oil and gas industry with ex­pe­ri­ence in Africa said.

African na­tions may also lack the in­fra­struc­ture to en­force a ban, as many can­not lo­cally test fu­els for com­pli­ance.

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