Foreship Predicts One-third of Shipping will Opt for Exhaust Gas Scrubbers

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Shipowners analysing future marine fuel options, following the 2020 IMO 0.5 per cent sulphur cap, should also consider oil company expectations that up to 30 per cent of commercial shipping will gravitate back to high sulphur fuel oil by 2030, according to naval architecture and engineering consultancy Foreship.

With just over 100 ships running on LNG today, the number in service is likely to be significantly below 500 by 2020. At the same time, while the 0.1 per cent 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 per cent sulphur content heavy fuel oil (HFO) to meet the cap.

Foreship Head of Machinery Department, Olli Somerkallio said that post 2020, 0.5 per cent sulphur content fuel will be blended from distillates and HFO of up to 2.5 per cent 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 power plants 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,” said Somerkallio.

Foreship has advised the industry to select multi-stream or in-line scrubbers, open loop, closed loop or hybrid systems. The high opportunity cost of losing sailing time in the cruise market has seen work planned underway, as well as for ro-ro ship projects work carried outindock.

“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. We are also very familiar with the equipment options in the market and supplier references,” Somerkallio added.

Apart from 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.

“Gaining this experience provides a wealth of independent experience that owners of cargo ships can draw on as the 2020 global sulphur cap approaches. The track record is also long enough to understand that ships within the same project do not always benefit from the same equipment selection,” said Somerkallio.

Sea News, December 18