With less than a year to go until the sulphur content of marine fuels is capped at 0.5%, Rivertrace has issued a technical white paper that focuses on scrubber technology options and washwater monitoring.
Entitled ‘To Scrub or not to scrub?’, the paper provides the industry with a guide to all options for compliance, with particular focus on scrubbers and IMO washwater monitoring guidelines.
The paper also explores the impact of sulphur emissions from ships, the chemistry of scrubbing sulphur from exhaust gases and the benefits associated with scrubber use.
As the global shipping industry prepares for the arrival of the global sulphur cap in January 2020, the choice between compliance options to meet fuel sulphur content restrictions are fast becoming a reality for shipowners.
Options available for shipowners and operators remain limited to three choices – use a fuel with a low sulphur content, use an engine that can run on an alternative, ultra-low sulphur fuel (ULSF) or use a scrubber and continue to burn high sulphur heavy fuel oil (HFO).
Possibly, the biggest barrier to scrubber acceptance that must be overcome is the issue that their technical development has, to a large extent, been completed outside of the IMO’s type approval process, as explained by Rivertrace, the UK-based washwater monitoring system manufacturer.
Rivertrace believes that the trust issue could be overcome by the provision of evidence for scrubber effectiveness.
In publishing the new white paper, Rivertrace has issued an advisory to shipowners that during the selection of scrubber technology, careful consideration of what washwater monitoring equipment is used by the scrubber manufacturer is of vital importance to ensure that potential regulatory requirements are met in the future.
“We have seen recent bans on scrubber operation in some ports because of the washwater discharge issue. However, there is acceptance that the continued use of scrubbers by ships may depend on being able to prove that washwater quality is constantly monitored and shown to meet appropriate standards,” Mike Coomber, Managing Director of Rivertrace, said.
“The fact that scrubber washwater remains to be the only discharge of its type not subject to the same standards as discharges from other shipboard systems means that it will almost inevitably lead the requirement of mandatory monitoring.”
“Therefore, ship owners must be well-informed of washwater monitoring equipment options and those used by scrubber manufacturers in order to ensure compliance with future standards,” Coomber added.
Looking to the future, Rivertrace Managing Director anticipates that the IMO’s washwater guidelines will become mandatory and the accurate monitoring of washwater will become essential. This could be introduced within 2020 or 2021.