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New IMO guidelines adopted: Action is now required

SAACKE assists shipping companies and owners in the future-proof conversion of their ships

At the end of October 2016, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) agreed on new global regulations for sulfur emissions from 2020. What appears at first sight to a be a long way off becomes on closer examination a race against time. Because with conversion projects taking around 18 months, as well as the limited capacity of the few providers in the market, it quickly becomes clear that action is required! If companies wait too long, they run the risk of high fines.

The permissible figure for SOX content in fuel emissions is falling worldwide from the current 3.5 percent to 0.5 percent, according to the latest IMO resolution. At the same time, guidelines were passed for construction of new ships operating in the Emission Control Areas (ECAs) in the North Sea and the Baltic. From 1 January 2021, these will have to reduce their nitrogen oxide emissions (NOX) by 75 percent compared with the current figure. "For new-builds and existing ships there are in principle 3 possible ways to meet the new IMO guidelines: By means of exhaust gas scrubbing, by using marine gas oil or by converting to LNG," says Andreas von Minden, Sales Director Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems at SAACKE.

Exhaust gas scrubbing is the economical alternative
In the case of new-builds, LNG power or dual fuel are playing an ever-larger role. SAACKE also offers combus-tion solutions for these processes. However, the basic principle applies that gas-based propulsion systems are expensive, and the fuel is subject to significant price fluctuations. In addition, many ports around the world lack the necessary infrastructure to bunker fuel gas. As a result of the price difference from heavy fuel oil, the use of marine gas oil (MGO) leads to higher operating costs and conversion to dual fuel is a complex challenge. In many cases the SAACKE EGCS-HM scrubber is a more efficient as well as sustainable alternative for the maritime industry. This exhaust gas cleaning system guarantees the continued use of heavy fuel oil while reliably complying with the required emissions values and offering a cost-saving mode of operation.

Certified complete system with short amortization times
Up to 99 percent of the sulfur particles in the exhaust gas are filtered by using a water cascade. The EGCS scrubber is available in various capacities and as an open or hybrid water cycle. Its short amortization time makes it attractive for new-builds and retrofits alike. The scrubber system was officially certified by the classification society DNV-GL. For two years now the Carl Büttner GmbH & Co. KG shipping line has been operating a SAACKE scrubber on the tanker MT Levana (PDF). "With a current price difference of around 150 US dollars per ton between heavy fuel oil and MGO, the investment in a scrubber is amortized in a short time. Shipping companies can make a profit within two years," stresses Andreas von Minden.

Efficient project management by SAACKE
"Whether LNG, MGO or scrubber, whichever method ship owners and operators choose, we support them right from the start with our know-how and our years of experience," says Andreas von Minden. An initial estimate of the cost savings can be produced at the first meeting, thanks to the SAACKE EGCS configurator. The tool uses the input ship and operating data to calculate details concerning the system design, such as the dimensions and number of components or the size of the pump system. SAACKE also undertakes all further stages in close collaboration with the customer – from design through project management to commissioning, maintenance and training. "The entire project period usually amounts to 18 months. For that reason shipping companies should act now to secure a slot for conversion by 2020," says Andreas von Minden.

Special SAACKE service – your checklist for conversion according to IMO guidelines:

  1. Schedule enough time for scrubber project planning (approx. 18 months)
  2. Find an experienced partner for the conversion (note DNV-GL certification)
  3. Assign in-house personnel for the conversion
  4. Secure financing in good time
  5. Secure slot for conversion
  6. Train and qualify employees for scrubber operation