DME also shows large potential as a clean, alternative marine fuel. The United States and Canada have agreed to make the marine environment a priority. This includes the ecosystems above and below the waterline along all coastal regions. Unlike diesel or marine fuels, DME cannot poison aquatic life.
- Ocean going vessels emit significant pollution. These emissions not only affect populations living near ports and coastlines, but also those living hundreds of miles inland.
- Marine diesel engines generate significant emissions of NOx, fine particulate matter (PM2.5), ozone (O3) and sulfur oxides (SOx) that fail to meet the EPA Air Quality Standards. Emissions from marine propulsion cause harm to both animal and human populations near these ecologically fragile zones.
- CO2 emissions are higher per power output since older engines are inefficient and use very long chain hydrocarbons (bunker fuel). The International Maritime Organization (IMO) estimates that carbon dioxide emissions from shipping were equal to 3.3% of the global human-made emissions in 2007 and expects these emissions to rise by as much as 72 percent by 2020 if no action is taken.