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Scrubbers: there’s no supply shortage

Thu 25 Oct 2018 by Edwin Lampert reporting from Singapore

Scrubbers: there’s no supply shortage
Stian Aakre (Wärtsilä Moss): "The 2020 deadline is firmer than ever from IMO and EU perspectives"

Contrary to popular belief, the industry does not face a scrubber supply shortage – the pressing challenge is a lack of time, delegates at Riviera’s Asian Sulphur Cap 2020 Conference in Singapore heard today. 

Opening day two of the conference, Wärtsilä Moss general manager Stian Aakre said there were no technical, operational or regulatory barriers to adoption. 

“There’s fewer problems with subsystems – the emissions monitoring is working. Clumsily framed IMO legislation around pH discharge has now been resolved. And IMO is working on a solution for uniformly addressing temporary non-compliance issues. Sludge handling issues linked with closed loop systems are being addressed. Port reception facilities are being developed and we’re getting there. Operational knowledge and experience is growing and the soundings from the IMO MEPC meeting is that the 2020 deadline is firmer than ever from IMO and EU perspectives.”

Referencing a DNV GL study, he said there are now more than 1,600 vessels with confirmed scrubber projects and he urged owners to plan ahead.

Ralf Jürgens (Primarine): “We survive if we co-operate honestly”

Echoing this sentiment, Primarine Chief Technology Officer Ralf Jürgens said the industry was living through “interesting, exciting, thrilling and challenging times – but capacity is not one of the challenges. Choose the right partners. Owners and suppliers. We survive if we co-operate honestly. Then we’ll have a win-win position.”

Kai Latun (Yara Marine Technologies): “Scrubbers lead to increased pipework repairs due to corrosion”

One important area for honest owner-supplier co-operation was around material selection and understanding of corrosion issues, said Yara Marine Technologies vice president of sales and marketing Kai Latun.

“Scrubbers work. But scrubbers lead to increased pipework repairs due to corrosion. Discharge water from a scrubber is as acidic as Coca Cola! It’s below pH3 which means it is devastating for black and blank steels.

“Owners must consider the hull and the discharge area. For the hull you need to cover an elliptical area around the discharge with a glass flake epoxy coating and mark it very clearly ‘no glass’ when you do it. 

“For scrubber material select the right corrosion resistant material. The seawater will reach 45 – 60°C. If a supplier offers a material that begins to corrode around 45°C don’t go with that supplier – it’s as simple as that.”

Ken McClelland (Pacific Green Marine Technologies): “The great majority have committed to open loop scrubbers”

Pacific Green Marine Technologies technical director Ken McClelland rounded out discussions by challenging another market misconception – that open loop scrubbers have a limited shelf life. 

“As we learned from a poll of the audience yesterday, the great majority have committed to open loop scrubbers. A key reason is open loop systems are a hedge against a changing environmental regulation scene. Another poll confirmed that a majority of the audience believes we have not seen the end of regulation in the area. An open-hybrid system covers all the bases. You’ve future proofed your vessels. You’re not limited on your charter routes. Another consideration is the ease of installation, simplicity of operation and cost.”

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