Going Green Can Save The Green: Thordon Bearings


Thordon Bearings will present a paper at a major conference in Copenhagen next week, where the polymer bearings specialist will emphasise how the adoption of green technologies can slash ship operation costs.

As part of a session on cost-saving technologies, Craig Carter, Thordon Bearings’ Director of Marketing and Customer Service, will compare the advantages and disadvantages of both oil lubricated and water lubricated propeller shafts, explaining how a seawater lubricated system can represent significant cost savings for shipwoners throughout the life of the vessel.

With US Vessel General Permit regulations in force prohibiting the use of mineral oils in stern tubes for ships trading in US waters, and similar restrictions likely to be introduced in other regions, finding cost-effective, environmentally-safe shaft solutions is fast becoming a major financial  issue for shipowners.

Faced with the possibility of environmental fines due to oil leakage from worn or damaged shaft seals, together with increased OPEX due to the higher cost of environmentally acceptable lubricants (EAL), Carter’s paper Why Seawater is the most practical propeller shaft EAL – technical and commercial benefits for shipowners could deliver peace of mind to shipowners. A cost-effective alternative is available.

“A seawater lubricated propeller shaft bearing system is the only system that guarantees compliance and has zero impact on the aquatic environment,” said Carter. “No expensive environmentally acceptable lubricants are required, and there is no need for periodic aft seal replacement or aft liner maintenance. With the appropriate monitoring, shafts can remain in-situ for 18 years or more. There is no need for daily oil sampling, and there is no oily residue to be disposed of. This means that operating costs are substantially lower for open seawater systems compared to a sealed oil/EAL system, and day to day operation is far simpler.”

Over 2,000 ships have been fitted with Thordon’s seawater-lubricated shaft systems, so the technology and its reliability are well proven as newbuild and retrofit solutions.

The Green Ship Technology and Shipping 2030 Europe (GST2030) conference is organised by Informa and will be held at the Tivoli Centre in Copenhagen, Denmark, from 20th March to 23rd March. It is expected to attract over 450 marine professionals, who will be able to choose between three conference streams on each day.

Carter will present his paper on the 22nd March. He has been involved in the promotion of oil/grease free bearing systems for the marine, clean power generation and offshore industries since 1996, when he joined Canadian company Thordon Bearings.

Since then he has actively worked with shipowners, governments and special interest groups to provide cost-effective solutions to eliminate oil and grease discharges from ships ensuring no environmental impact on oceans, seas and rivers.

Sea News, March 14