The shipping industry is facing major changes as new regulations on sulphur emissions become effective worldwide on 1 January 2020. As an experienced provider of automation solutions, however, these changes also offer great opportunities for us. With Value Maritime, we have therefore gained a strong partner in the field of exhaust gas purification.
Ships do not have a particularly clean reputation regarding their propulsion. The majority still operates with heavy fuel oil and the name alone does not indicate good environmental compatibility. Worst of all, the fuel contains up to 3.5% sulphur. This high percentage of sulphur leads to high sulphur dioxide emissions, which cause enormous environmental pollution through acid rain and damage to human, animal and plant health. Worldwide, shipping is responsible for 13% of total sulphur dioxide emissions.
Increasing environmental problems have prompted the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to tighten the regulations for marine fuel. In the past, the sulphur content has been gradually reduced from 5% to 3.5%. Next year, however, an even bigger step will follow, which will bring significant changes tothe shipping industry. From 1 January 2020, ships worldwide will only be allowed to use fuel with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5%. Alternatively, the exhaust gases can be purified to achieve the same sulphur oxide concentrations as when using sulphur-reduced fuel.
It is certain that shipping companies must act quickly in order to comply with the new regulations. The use of low-sulphur marine diesel is expensive and questionable from an environmental point of view, due to the high release of CO2 during the production. On the other hand, the conversion to liquefied natural gas (LNG) turns out to be complicated. That is why the installation of an exhaust gas scrubber has turned out to be the simplest and most economically viable method for many ship owners. The functional principle of an exhaust gas scrubber can literally be understood as washing. After the exhaust gases have been injected, water is finely atomized and sprayed onto the exhaust gases. This not only filters out sulphur but also ultrafine particles.
Estimates say that by 2020 5% of the world merchant fleet will already be equipped with such systems. Numerous systemswill have been developed in our cooperation with Value Maritime by then. We combine our decades of experience in customer-specific ship automation with Value Maritime's innovative approach.
Value Maritime has reinvented the installation of such exhaust gas cleaning system with a patented technology. The complete system is completely pre-installed in a compact and transportable, approx. 6 meter high container according to the “Plug and Play" principle. It is placed on the ship's deck and connected to the exhaust pipe. This makes the installation process not only fast and cost-effective, but also possible everywhere. In most cases, not even a dry dock is necessary to retrofit the ship.
The NORIS automation system is also installed in the same way and is easily accessible on the “ground floor" of the scrubber container. The system is based on the proven automation platform NORISYS 4, which is already used in the drive controls and monitoring systems. We also install a data acquisition unit as an interface between the ship and the scrubber, as well as operating units with corresponding visualisation in the control room of the scrubber and in the engine room of the ship. A further advantage is the data logger in the control cabinet. Daily log files including GPS coordinates and time are stored, which are accessible locally or via remote access. This simplifies support and maintenance and prevents downtime.
All told, modern and innovative hybrid exhaust gas cleaning systems are built which also meet the 0.1% sulphur limits applicable in the SECA zones of some coastal regions in Europe and North America. NORIS and Value Maritime ensure the competitiveness of their customers through these numerous advantages.
The first ship named Lady Hester has already been equipped in this cooperation. Further systems have been ordered already. With this partnership, we can look forward with confidence to the forthcoming changes in the shipbuilding industry.