The leading naval architecture and engineering consultancy Foreship
expects that as IMO’s 0.50 sulphur cap in marine fuel comes into force in 2020,
one third of shipping will eventually opt for gas scrubbers.
As it is, Foreship argues, that there are just over 100 ships running
on LNG and it is quite likely that the number may be below 500 by 2020; but,
the 0.1% fuel sulphur content limit inside
emissions control areas has brought 1,500 scrubber installations, yard capacity
could only grow that number to 3,000-4,000 by 2020. Most ships will run on 0.5%
sulphur content HFO to meet the cap.
Foreship Head of Machinery Department,
Olli Somerkallio explains that, post 2020, 0.5% sulphur content fuel will be
blended from distillates and HFO of up to 2.5% sulphur content. Higher sulphur
HFO (HSHFO) can be used as a marine fuel where scrubbers are installed, but
could also be a substitute fuel in gas powerplants in former Soviet countries,
or a coal substitute. This will change the pricing dynamic of HSHFO: to compete
with coal, prices would have to be relatively low.
The implication is that HSHFO will return to favour as
a marine fuel after the dust settles. “This will have a significant impact on
the ROI of scrubbers in the future,” says Somerkallio.
Foreship has significant experience in offering
independent advice on adapting ships for new marine fuels and emissions
abatement. Its reference list includes 34 exhaust gas scrubber retrofit
projects to enable 13 cruise ships, 11ro-pax ferries, nine ro-ros and one
containership to burn HFO in ECAs. Based on this experience in the industry,
Foreship has advised its customers to select multi-stream or in-line scrubbers,
open loop, closed loop or hybrid systems.
“We have faced and overcome a broad
range of installation challenges, including the fact that scrubbers eat into
the revenue-earning space required for passengers or freight,” says
Somerkallio. “We are also very familiar with the equipment options in the
market and supplier references.” As well as needing new pumping, water
treatment and tank storage equipment, exhaust gas scrubbers demand considerable
new pipework on board. Installing inline means that existing silencers need to
be replaced with larger equipment, causing a space challengeforcasing.
“Gaining this experience provides a
wealth of independent experience that owners of cargo ships can draw on as the
2020 global sulphur cap approaches,” says Somerkallio. “The track record is
also long enough to understand that ships within the same project do not always
benefit from the same equipment selection.”