Review study on the Recreational Craft Directive 2013/53/EU – Final report published

The report has been created in line with the review clause set out in Article 52 of the Directive 2013/53/EU which requires the European Commission (EC) to submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council by 18 January 2022. The final report/study has been carried out by Panteia, TNO and Emisia on behalf of the EU Commission in terms of the RCD Review 2022 process and has been published. The report can be downloaded in pdf format at the bottom of this article.

The Executive Summary as extracted from the report is as follows. The Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) 94/25/EC, harmonising the provisions related to recreational craft, was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in June 1994 and was applied from June 1996. Directive 2003/44/EC amended the Recreational Craft Directive in 2003 and introduced a set of exhaust and sound emission requirements as well as added the provisions for post-construction assessment.

Directive 2013/53/EU replaced the Directive 94/25/EC in 2013. The review clause set out in Article 52 of the Directive 2013/53/EU requires the European Commission (EC) to submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council to address the feasibility for further reducing exhaust emissions from marine propulsion engines, feasibility to introduce requirements for evaporative emissions and the evaluation of the impact of current structure of watercraft design categories on manufacturers and consumers as well as the evaluation of whether they require additional specifications or subdivisions. To collect information to draft the report required by Article 52 of Directive 2013/53/EU, a study was performed by a Consortium consisting of Panteia (NL, lead), TNO (NL) and Emisia (GR). As a part of the approach, an in-depth data analysis was performed and a detailed consultation strategy was applied, consisting of a Public Consultation and supplementing targeted consultations and interviews.

Due to the nature of the research questions concerning the Review clause, this study focuses on three areas: exhaust emissions, evaporative emission and watercraft design categories.

The contributions of emissions of recreational craft are generally very small when compared to the transport sector and when also compared to all other sectors together. For Carbon Dioxide, these are 0,4% and 0,1% respectively. For particulate matter, the figures are 0,5% and 0,1% and for Nitrogen Oxides 0,6% and 0,3%. Finally, for Hydrocarbons it is 4% and 0,3%. Only Carbon Monoxide makes a more significant contribution, with 11% and 2,4% respectively. Emissions of Nitrogen Oxides and Carbon Dioxide have the greatest economic impact in monetary terms.

The three areas of focus are discussed further below.
Exhaust emissions
The technologies that have been identified for reducing exhaust emissions are mature technologies that are already being applied in other markets (non-road mobile machinery, heavy-duty automotive but also marine applications). Both technologies that aim to reduce pollutant gases (air quality) and technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emission are in principle applicable also to recreational craft. However, the application of technologies that strongly reduce nitrogen oxides emissions may be accompanied with challenges to match the associated size increase with existing packaging constraints, as well as with the need to adapt the exhaust system so that temperature targets are met. They may also require the availability of ultra-low-sulphur diesel and, in the case of catalytic after treatment to reduce nitrogen oxide exhaust emissions, onboard storage of a urea-water mixture. Three scenarios for reducing exhaust emissions were investigated: the application with outboard and personal watercraft spark ignited engines of cleanest technology currently in use with these engines and further harmonisation with US legislation, in particular on Not-To-Exceed requirements and on emission limits for compression ignition engines below 37 kW (scenario 1); in addition to scenario 1 and for power levels above 75 kW the application of three-way catalytic after-treatment to outboard and personal watercraft spark ignited engines and of best available non-aftertreatment technology to compression ignition engines (scenario 2); and finally, in addition to scenario 1 and for all engines above 75 kW, the application of best available catalytic after-treatment technology for maximum reduction of pollutant emissions (scenario 3). Electrification and/or hybridization can also be applied to some classes of craft. Especially with electrification this would result in a further considerable reduction of emissions. Various ways can be identified to stimulate this. However, the biggest driver for electrification will be the expected further improvement in battery technology: lower cost, higher energy and power density.

Off all scenario’s investigated, scenario 2 gives the biggest difference between (discounted) monetised environmental benefits and costs, but the other scenarios score only 6 % lower. Scenario 1 has by far the highest benefit to cost ratio and the shortest payback period (9 years, compared to 16 years and 20 years for scenario 2 and 3 respectively). Furthermore, in scenario 1 there is the least uncertainty: there is no dependency on the wide availability of low-sulphur diesel fuel and there are no concerns regarding possible size constraints when applying to recreational craft. Scenario 3 scores best on monetized environmental benefits but it has the lowest benefit to cost ratio. Finally, the development effort and corresponding costs corresponding to scenario 2 and scenario 3 could make the production of these engines no longer economically viable for some smaller, non-OEM manufacturers.

The proposed scenarios for exhaust emission reduction apply to newly produced craft. To further reduce emissions of the recreational craft sector, it is recommended to investigate the possibilities of emission reduction of older engines, which have relatively high emissions compared to newer ones. It should be noted that it will take at least another 20 years before the last engines that were built in the period before Directive 2003/44/EC are phased out. Also, it is recommended to further study uncertainties regarding the wide availability of low-sulphur diesel fuel and urea-water mixture and to further detail the implications of technologies on volume limitations of crafts.

Evaporative emissions
Evaporative emissions are an important source of Non-methane volatile organic compound emissions, which are at comparable levels, but lower than, exhaust emissions. Permeation from fuel tanks, hoses and lines are responsible for about 80% of total evaporative emissions, whereas diurnal emissions contribute another 20%. Hot soak and running losses are rather insignificant, being responsible for about 1% of the total evaporative emissions.

The technologies for reducing evaporative emissions are already mature and are successfully implemented in the road transport sector, such as in cars, mopeds and motorcycles. The same technologies, with proper sizing and adjustments, are also applicable in the recreational craft sector. Carbon canisters, pressurized fuel tanks, lowpermeability (multi-layer) fuel tanks and fuel hoses are already used in the recreational craft sector in the US (EPA 40 CFR Part 1060), where emission limits apply for diurnal, fuel tank and fuel hoses emissions. Three scenarios for controlling evaporative emissions are examined in the present study: measures aimed at reducing diurnal emissions (scenario 1), fuel tank permeation (scenario 2), and fuel hoses permeation (scenario 3). A fourth scenario, combining all the above emissions controls, has also been assessed. In view of a possible harmonisation of emission limits with other jurisdictions, the respective emission limits already applied in the US have been considered for the above scenarios.

All scenarios deliver benefits. From the perspective of benefits versus costs, controlling permeation emissions from fuel hoses and lines will deliver the highest benefits within the shortest amount of time. In the longer range, scenario 4 scores best regarding the benefits versus costs. Setting a permeation emissions limit of 15 g/m²/day for fuel hoses and lines proves the most cost-beneficial option for reducing evaporative emissions from the recreational craft sector. This scenario has the shortest payback time (17 years) from all other policy options considered. All other options have a payback time of more than 20 years, making them less appealing compared to permeation control. An emissions limit of 1,5 g/m²/day for fuel tank permeation is the second most cost-beneficial option, with a payback time of 23 years. The payback time increases considerably for diurnal emissions control, for which an emissions limit of 1,5 g/lt/day has been considered.

Watercraft design categories
All stakeholders are satisfied with the current RCD design categories and did not criticise either the number or the range of them. Moreover, based on the experience of five years of implementation since the last amendment of the Directive, they confirmed that the main strength of the current set-up is that the market is running smooth with a high degree of familiarity and consensus. On the other hand, the main weakness of the design categories is the unequal and large gaps of wave heights and disproportionate range of physical forces induced by the wind forces between categories. Another weakness is the unequal distribution of the market share, since category C encompasses more than two thirds of the market.

Although no proposals were presented by the stakeholders, four scenarios for additional subdivisions or specifications were developed for assessment in the present study: subdivision of category D with increase of upper limit of significant wave height up to 1,5 m (scenario 1), subdivision of category C within its initial range (scenario 2), subdivision of category C and specification of new ranges in all categories in order to improve scientific soundness through reduction of the steps in Beaufort scale and through alignment of significant wave heights with the World Meteorological Organization sea states coding since these are the sea states broadcasted by the marine forecasts (scenario 3) and the existing categories remain with transposition of EN ISO 12217-1 category A upper limits (scenario 4).

An assessment of the first two scenarios resulted in incurring costs without any benefits. Scenario 3 presents an improved distribution of the design categories, rectifying the weakness of the unequal distribution to a certain extent, but incurs more than a billion in costs whereas no tangible benefits can be substantiated in terms of safety (reduced casualties) or advanced stability or advanced watercraft strength. Scenario 4 is the most beneficial from a cost perspective, since it implies that leaving the current status unchanged can be combined with the minor modification of transposing EN ISO 12217-1:2017 upper limit values for the A category and the addition of technical information concerning wind speed, gusts and maximum wave height in the form of explanatory notes. In that case, it incurs no cost and delivers the qualitative benefits of clarity of information for the end-user aiming at safer use of the watercraft, legal certainty for the manufacturers and full harmonisation with the international standard ISO 12217-1,2,3: 2015.

Download the 174 page report: RCD review study final report

Latest Tweets from the IIMS