Fleet owners should consider factors including vessel type, trading patterns and local conditions when choosing an exhaust scrubber for their vessels as a way of helping meet upcoming regulations, according to an American Bureau of Shipping report.
As the industry seeks solutions for increasingly stringent low sulfur fuel requirements, owners and operators should understand the impact of the regulations and properly assess available technologies, The Exhaust Gas Scrubber Systems Advisory says.
Fuel switching, which is frequently utilized in emission control areas today, is not likely to be a viable option in the future, the report says. Exhaust gas scrubber systems, use of higher-priced, low-sulfur fuels and alternative fuels are among the options available to address emission requirements, but challenges remain in identifying the most suitable technology.
Due to the myriad scrubber types available, which are aimed at different vessel types and uses, exhaust gas cleaning systems offer a viable alternative means of compliance that may have significant operational cost saving benefits, the report says.
The operating pattern of a ship will influence the process of determining which type of scrubber system should be considered for a particular application. If the ship has a minimum port stay or minimum transit time in emission control areas operating profile, or there are no restrictions on the discharge water by local or regional regulations, an open loop scrubber may be appropriate.
However, if the vessel has long port stays with an appreciable time spent transiting in emission control areas and with minimum time at sea, a hybrid or closed loop scrubber system could be considered. The global IMO fuel sulfur limits scheduled to be reduced to 0.5 percent sulfur in 2020 will influence this decision making process, the report says.
In September 2011, shipping giant Maersk Line announced plans to test an exhaust gas cleaning system that it says could cut sulfur emissions by more than 97 percent. The scrubbing system was developed by Belco and designed for installation on Maersk Line and Maersk Tankers vessels. Maersk invested $600,000 in the installation and operation of the scrubber. The system was tested on container ship Maersk Taurus in 2012.