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“No fuel choice will avoid inevitable requirement for marine exhaust gas treatment”

The Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems Association (EGCSA) first international conference on marine emissions technology was staged in Singapore at the prestigious Marina Bay Sands conference centre on 6 November 2017. Attended

by around 120 members of the marine industry, the conference set out to inform delegates about the future shape of marine emissions controls, bunker supplier reactions to the IMO’s 2020 0.50% sulphur cap and the implications of current and future emissions technology solutions.

Don Gregory, Director of EGCSA and conference chair said, “the knowledge shared by the global range of experts presenting at the conference gave attendees insight that was second to none. The underlying message was clear: multiple fuel choices will be a headache for ship-owners, but no fuel choice will avoid the inevitable requirement to install exhaust gas treatment systems.”

A key theme of the conference was understanding the impact of combustion of hydro-carbons, whether derived from crude, synthesised or bio origin. Professor Zimmermann of the University of Rostock and Helmholtz Zentrum München shared findings from extremely complex human tissue studies conducted over many years translating them into straightforward layman’s language. Professor Zimmermann described the study team’s surprise at the totally unexpected assessment results for the combustion of “clean” distillate fuels.

In 2015, IMO MARPOL Annex VI regulation 14.1 entered into force requiring the use of fuels in Emission Control Areas (ECAs) with a sulphur content of less than 0.10%. Other authorities, including the European Commission and China, have adopted similar area specific requirements. Professor Zimmermann explained that his team’s unexpected results discovered that the fuel prescription approach to regulation has resulted in more toxic emissions for certain populations, such as in ports and regions bordering busy shipping lanes.

Mr Gregory commented, “EGCSA has always encouraged a goal-based and sustainable approach to the protection of human health and the environment. In fact, EGCSA was formed not merely to represent “scrubber companies” but to take a proactive approach to sustainably and effectively reducing harmful emissions from prime movers on ships. It is a shame that politics and dogma continue to hamper real progress in realising these ambitions.”
Andrew Weir Ship Management’s Senior Superintendent Mr Daniels Evans presented an extremely detailed review of the preparations required for ship owners to switch down to low sulphur fuels and distillates. As well as the physical process of bunker tank by bunker tank cleaning, it is essential to inform fuel and lubricants suppliers, or risk a shortage of correct fuels and lubes. His case study presented a stark reminder that 0.50% S fuel means fuel ordered must be below 0.50% S or owners risk immediate vessel detention.

In a recorded presentation from Naples, Professor Di Natale of the University of Naples undertook a review of alternative fuels. His conclusion was that there are certainly fuels which assist in reducing emissions, but, given the nature of the combustion process in a diffusion combustion diesel engine, no fuel achieves zero toxic emission. He went on to explain how the use of advanced scrubber technologies remain a necessity if shipping is to play its part in air protection and minimising the impact of emissions on human health.
The chairman of the day closed the conference with a reminder to delegates that we all share one atmosphere which we have to protect.

A further marine emissions technology conference is planned for 2018 and will be held in Europe.

The Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems Association (EGCSA) was established in 2008 to help create a sustainable operating environment within the marine and energy industry sectors for exhaust gas cleaning system technologies, providing clarity and a rational voice for those companies interested in reducing marine exhaust gas emissions. EGCSA offers impartial technical information, advice and opinion on the many current and future issues and challenges related to emissions reduction and marine exhaust gas cleaning systems. Member companies of the EGCSA are involved in the development, design and final installed configuration and design approval and acceptance of turnkey exhaust gas cleaning systems to meet the current and future emissions regulations of IMO and, where applicable, additional regulations introduced by regional and national authorities.
Source: The Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems Association (EGCSA)