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GL Exchange Forum: Scrubber Technology

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 Hamburg/Germany – Pressure on the shipping industry to reduce the air emissions from vessels grows day by day. Regulations to more strictly limit the sulphur content in marine fuel are in place and set to tighten over the coming year. Exhaust gas scrubbers are one solution for vessels to meet such limits over the coming years and to discuss the use of this technology Germanischer Lloyd (GL) recently held an exchange forum at their Head Office in Hamburg
More than 50 representatives from the maritime industry, shipping companies, ship management agencies, shipyards, maritime journalists and stakeholders met to consider the emissions limits, hear presentations from GL and industry experts, and discuss the drivers, implementation and commercial implications of scrubber technology for the industry.

Mr Ralf Plump, Head of GL’s Department Environmental Research, set the background for the presentations at the forum, providing attendees with an examination of the international regulations in place and upcoming, the drivers pushing their introduction, and the advantages provided by scrubber technology. Mr Plump also looked at the estimated costs for retrofitting scrubber to existing vessels, in comparison with the installation of LNG (liquefied natural gas) fuel systems. Not only scrubber technology, but overall fuel efficiency in the maritime logistic chain was the key to lowering emissions, he noted, but shipping should also have its eye on the development of “zero emissions” solutions.
The class and regulatory requirements for the conversion of vessels to utilise scrubber technology were the focus of the Georg Martin, Head of GL’s System Technology Department, in his presentation. The safety considerations, class rules and monitoring requirements were laid out by Mr Martin, who noted that for the Class rules did not require Wet Scrubber Systems to have a scrubber bypass system, as long as the complete system is made of non-combustible material.

In his presentation “Special Features of the application of Wet Scrubber Technology”, Mr Torbjorn Henriksson, from Wärtsilä Industrial Operations, looked at the scrubbing process and Wärtsilla’s solutions both for scrubbers and for wash water processing. Mr Henriksson went on to examine Wärtislla’s first full-scale SOx (sulphur oxide) scrubber installation on the GL classed “Containerships VII”, which was completed in August 2011.
Dan Lingenberg, from Couple Systems, looked at the process, installations and logistical use of dry scrubber technology in his presentation: “Benefits of the application of Dry Scrubber Technology”. Mr Lingenberg showed how the systems had been integrated into several vessel types and the disposal options for the gypsum that remains as a waste product of the scrubbing process.
The results of having a dry scrubber system installed on a vessel in service were presented by Roerd Braren from Reederei Braren. In 2009 the MV Timbus was used in a pilot project testing a dry scrubber system from Couple Systems, since then repeated analyses have demonstrated a reduction in SOx of more than 99%. The system has been working reliably and efficiently since 2009, Mr Braren said, and had reduced SOx emissions from the 6389 dwt multi-purpose vessel to under 0.1%. As well as this particulate emissions had been reduced some 80% and the entire system could be operated by the Chief without any additional training, he noted.
In the last presentation of the forum the discussion turned to financing, when Jens Rohleder, of the KfW Mittelstandsbank, Frankfurt, examined the options for funding energy efficiency measures in shipping. The KfW is the Promotional Bank of the Federal Republic of Germany and there were several options for shipping owners and operators obtain investment capital for modernising vessels, Mr Rohleder explained. Small and medium enterprises could obtain loans at favourable rates for amounts of up to 2 million Euro for general environmental protection measures, he said.
About Germanischer Lloyd
Germanischer Lloyd (GL) is part of the GL Group. It offers classification services, plan approval, inspection and certification of materials and components as well as technical assessments for newbuilds and ships in service. GL is dedicated to providing high quality services, which ensure the safety of life and property at sea, and minimize impacts on the marine environment. As a classification service GL is particularly strong in the classification of container ships, multi-purpose vessels, tankers, bulk carriers, high-speed ferries, cruise ships, mega yachts and sports boats. GL currently surveys more than 7000 ships on a regular basis, and GL’s fleet in service now surpasses 100 million GT. GL’s experts serve as advisors to governments, the IMO, flag and port states. The Group is committed to a smarter, safer and greener future of shipping

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